Monday, June 18, 2012

The worst good news...

Well, it's official, the Duke Lung Transplant Program is sending me home.  The team decided that I am now too well for transplant.  I actually found out several days ago but have been trying to process what this means to me.  I've never been so full of conflicting emotions in my life.  When they said it was time for me to relocate, every fiber of my being was putting on the brakes.  I didn't want to go.  But now that I'm here and I've put in all the work with rehab, classes, and oh the tests, I just want to get it over with.

But therein lies the problem. I have done everything needful and was at the "listing stage" so things needed to go one way or the other.  The doctors felt like doing a transplant at this time may be doing me a disservice by possibly shortening my life.  If I can get more life out of these old lungs, then the transplant will extend my life longer since there are no guarantees with transplant that everything will go well.  So they have cancelled all my upcoming appointments, taken away my transplant coordinator, and scheduled me for a recheck in December.  I'm to contact them if problems arise before that time.

Knowing how hard this has all been makes it difficult in some ways to think about coming back to face it all again.  Even though now I would know what to expect, I now know too much.  It's hard to explain how I feel.  I will just have to take the secure thought, "you've done it once, you can do it again even if its hard."  Oh, but I don't want to.

So back home I go--but wait!  Even that can't be simple.  Fort Collins is currently experiencing the worst wildfire in Colorado state history.  My lovely town is awash in smoke.  I definitely don't want to go home and have those conditions undo everything I've done to get better.  With all the smoke in the air, I won't know if the altitude or the smoke is to blame for an increased need of O2.  So the plan now is to drive home, drop stuff off, and head to Idaho to spend some time with my parents in cleaner air.

And then there is the whole "I already said goodbye" thing to face.  Parties, fundraisers, and well wishers all giving me a grand send off.  I feel more than a little sheepish showing back up with nothing changed.  Oh can you see how my mind is in such a scramble of emotions??!!

Well I could go on and on and I probably will in posts not yet written.  But for now I need to remember to "trust in the Lord and lean not upon my own understanding."  That is the hardest part of this--I just want to know how things will turn out and when and why did it start out this way.  That is the worst part of my good news.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Just a day at the beach...

Saturday for our anniversary/Father's Day we decided to take a day trip to the coast to see the ocean.  Wilmington is a little over 2 hours from here and sports the nearest beach.  I also have a cousin, who before this move, was the only person I knew in North Carolina and she just happens to live in Wilmington too.  It was a treat to visit and get reacquainted and to meet her youngest son for the first time.  Unfortunately her husband was out of the country with a group of college students from UNC-Wilmington.

Brian, Becky, and I headed down to Wrightsville Beach.
Proof that Rheid was there too!
We walked the beautiful sandy beach for about an hour and of course had to get our feet wet in the waves. It is just so peaceful to hear the rhythm of the tide as it comes in and out.  A few large kites were flying overhead their colors bright against the blue sky. The sand felt like sugar it was so fine. Just a perfect sunny afternoon to stroll the beach.

Talking and walking at the edge of the surf.
We also did a driving tour of Wilmington to get an overview of the city:  the historic downtown area, the USS North Carolina, the river front, and the ocean front.  It is a beautiful city that needs further exploring.  What a nice, relaxing day--just what we needed.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An amazing gift...

After a long afternoon of working out, I returned to the apartment and found a package for me in the mail.  As I couldn't remember ordering anything lately, I wondered what on earth it could be.  Then I looked at the return address and saw the name of a lovely lady from my church (ward) back home.  Still wondering what it could possibly be, I opened the box to find the cutest, most amazing gift ever--a handmade quilt with blocks decorated by the primary children in my ward.

Me with a picture of the kids they sent along with the quilt.
As I pulled it out, tears sprang to my eyes and I was overcome with a feeling of love, not just for these little children but for their leaders, my friends, who took the time to put the project together so beautifully.  I wish the picture did the quilting justice but it is absolutely fabulous (Marilyn, I think you rock).  Each block is something about Colorado such as: mountains, sunshine, flowers, the Colorado flag, rivers, camping, fishing, something that could be a watermelon and even an Igwanidon (sic), Colorado's state dinosaur--how cute is that??!!

It is on my bed and I am feeling the love--just had to share it.  :)

Square made by the cutest of the bunch, my Maggie!

A longer shot to see the quilt better.

(Editorial note: Plus this gift came on my 27th wedding anniversary--Happy Anniversary Rheid.  I love you!)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Into the woods...

I've been trying to walk on the weekends to keep up my momentum.  So Sunday after a wonderful early dinner shared at a church member's house, Rheid and I decided a trip to the forest was in order.  The Duke Forest is only about two miles from our apartment.  We have driven around its edges but have never gone into its depths.

Sign at the beginning of the trailhead

The Duke Forest comprises over 7,000 acres of land in three counties and has been managed for research and teaching purposes since 1931 and according to Duke this forest is unrivaled at any other university.  All you have to do is walk a few hundred feet in and you feel like you're in a primitive area.  I took a picture of Rheid farther in and you can tell how much light has been filtered out by the trees.  They are thick.

Rheid is ready to photograph any critters we may happen upon.

After being on a smooth, oval track for walking at the CFL, this forest stroll felt like I was on a four-wheeling adventure.  We tried to be a little stealth to hopefully see some wildlife but with all the twigs and leaves making noise as wild as it got was acrobatic squirrels jumping from tree to tree; even though I wouldn't be surprised to see a Yeddie around the next bend.  We probably walked about 1/2 mile in before I decided it was time to probably head for the car.

We stopped to photograph this amazing fungi growing on a fallen log.

When I got to the Escape, I noticed something on my shin--a tick! Crimey. How did that get there?  So it was straight home for the tweezers for that little vermin.  It took about 3-4 minutes and one hand cramp before Rheid was able to outlast the vice grip that tick had on my leg.  Can you say creepy??  I had the heebie-geebies for the rest of the evening.

The forest was absolutely beautiful but I can't say as much for the hitchhiker I brought home with me.  Next time I'll leave the wildlife there in its own habitat--like the good rule follower that I am.