Monday, June 18, 2012

Waiting: Day 12

I was in a parking lot this evening chatting with a friend when I heard something that made me want to throw up and sit down on the pavement and was only the sound of someone remotely unlocking their car, but I swear it sounded like a pager going off. The looks on my face and my friend's were a strange combination of horror and surprise. Surprise for her, and horror for me.

I was listed for heart transplant 12 days ago and I have spent as much time as possible during those 12 days in active denial. It hasn't been an easy task, since so many have wanted to offer congratulations and support and when I've been unable to escape all of the optimism, I've done my best to play along and celebrate with them (sort of).

I don't want to have a heart transplant.

Like, really, really, really don't want to have a heart transplant.

Part of being listed for transplant is sitting with a counselor to discuss and initial each of an 8 page document outlining all of the risks and side effects that come with the procedure, recovery, and medications. It's very detailed and leaves no questioning that even the best case will come with some life long challenges. I don't want to be that tough...and so I deny. But tonight's small test run has caused me to glance at my reality knowing that I'm going to have to make eye contact, then face it, sometime soon.

I haven't packed my overnight bag yet (a conscious act of defiance), but I'm sure going to be bummed if that pager goes off and I have to check in to the hospital without a tin of Victoria Secret lip balm, my own toothbrush, and my favorite yoga pants. So I'll make myself a promise to do something transplant-y before the end of the week...maybe purchase an extra deodorant for that overnight bag?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big Day

This is my awesome 1980's style pager. I feel some pressure to be articulate or profound...but I have no idea how I feel about this. I don't know how I'm supposed to feel about this. I don't know if I'm ready to have a heart transplant, you know emotionally speaking, because the doctors are obviously convinced that physically it's time for me to be ready. Is a person ever really ready for something like this?

The people who love me are super enthusiastic about the news...but the people who love me best, know that this is pretty weird for me. The page could come as soon as tomorrow or as far away as four years. I just hope when it does come, I've reached some clarity to build confidence upon.

Friday, June 1, 2012


The clinic calls it the "Blue Checklist" and it has kept me very busy this week.

I was admitted to Coronary ICU on Tuesday, which was a bummer, but check out the view from my bed:

After close observation, and an insane amount of lab work, and a brutal test of my patience, we finally answered the question that has been hanging over me since the end of February, "Were my lungs healthy enough to qualify me for a heart transplant?" And the answer is yes!

The previous 90 days had moved at such a slow pace, but things went into warp speed Wednesday morning when a large team from the transplant clinic entered my room to meet me and get my paperwork started. I was discharged from the hospital Wednesday evening and sent home to get some rest and prep for the remainder of the week.

The Blue Checklist is how they keep all of the lab work and evaluations and exams organized and keep me on schedule in the right place at the right time. By the time every item is checked off, I will have a completely clean bill of health (except for the garbage heart). The team at the IMC Heart Transplant clinic have done everything possible to get my case ready for presentation to the transplant committee this coming Tuesday. Wild, right?

Clearly, what I think I know about waiting is about to be challenged, so hopefully I have learned a few things as I have moved to this point. Thank you to so many who have offered encouragement and faith and support to me, and to my family these past few months.