Treat Yourself!

Indulgence, celebrate, extravagance, pleasure, delight, satisfaction.

I love treating myself & boy, can I rationalize getting a food or drink treat. I LOVE getting a coke ( which is now off limits for the kidney diet restriction. Off limits, but yes, I’ve had one.). I LOVE a Starbuck’s iced caramel macchiato decaf, with extra caramel. I enjoy baking breads, brownies, etc.

A while back I was talking to my sister about giving my kids treats and how I’ve gotten into regularly giving them or myself treats. If it’s a regular habit, it’s not a treat. A treat implies that it’s unusual or the minority of time.

So my nerd, analytical mind is thinking …” How many days a week? Once a month? Once a week? How often? What’s healthy for the kids or for myself? Do I restrict the size to a tall, or a grande? I haven’t settled on an answer, just that it’s the minority of the time, a minority of our diets. For me, it won’t reflect in labs or mistreat my new healthy organs someone sacrificed for me & God graciously gave me.

Moms… Any input on giving cookies, chips, candy, worthless juice or soda or junk to your kids is helpful to discuss. How many “exceptions” do you make for birthday parties, holidays ( Valentine’s Day, Easter coming up)? What about if you are a guest at someone’s house? What if you want chocolate cake, but don’t want your kiddo to have it? To sneak or not to sneak?

Wake Up, Muscles!

It has been a long road in recovery the last 5 1/2 months, especially in the area of physical therapy. After lying in bed in the hospital for 7 weeks waiting for the transplants and 9 weeks post transplant, let’s put it this way: my muscles went into a long winter’s hibernation. Asleep. Dead sleep.

When I wast first “waking up” in mid or late July, I had no idea I would be so handicapped. My legs wouldn’t move, my hands wouldn’t raise up to rub my face or hair, I couldn’t even talk.

So began Physical Therapy, PT and the infamous Amelia. Wiggling my toes, ankle pumps, quad & glute pumps, sitting up, standing up, walking to the door of my ICU room & floor. I’ve never experienced such fear & pain in my life. Even getting moved from the bed to a recliner was fearful & painful. “If I fall on the floor…” was all that I could think. Amelia demanded a lot & wouldn’t take no for an answer if I wasn’t in excruciating pain. She was tough, but I learned that the only way through this was doing the exercises. Hard work, feeling uncomfortable & out of my comfort zone.

If you aren’t exercising, you need to start. My physicians told me repeatedly told me the only way that I was eligible to be the first triple transplant in Georgia, was my strong will, my exercise background of running marathons (18 between 2001-2007), and the fact that I was compliant to what they expected. My past fitness really helped and helps me now to recover.

Ok, so you probably won’t have three transplants in your future. You may be in a car accident, develop disease, get older, etc. if you smoke or heavily drink, you’ve increased your health risks for many diseases. Do you really want to settle for a low quality of life?

Stop the excuses: it’s too hot, it’s too cold, I don’t have time, I don’t like to exercise, I can’t afford a gym membership, blah, blah, blah. Find some music & walk. Park far away in a parking lot instead of circling like a vulture wasting time for someone to get out of the closer parking space. Go upstairs & downstairs in your house 10 times. Use soup cans to do bicep curls or straight arm raises. Move your body out of the couch and do something! If not for yourself, think of your family without you prematurely. I do a lot of painful exercises for my husband, Jack, & Chloe.

If you choose not to exercise, don’t be surprised that as you age or something happens in your health that decreases your quality of life.

Thank You and Reflections on 2012

New Years Day is always a time for reflection, and we have a lot to reflect on from the 2012. Going back to the beginning of 2012, we had much uncertainty, waiting for transplant calls and trying to hold things together.

Looking back at 2012, I don’t think of it as a good year or a bad year. It was an adventure, filled with dramatic highs and lows, and a lot of sitting and waiting. Seeing Stephanie pushed to the brink of death, only to be rescued by organ transplants at the last minute, then the slow and painful recovery.

We have much for which to be thankful. We thank God for sustaining us and delivering Stephanie from her failing organs, and for keeping our family together despite all the turmoil. His providential hand has been very visible through the past few years, and especially evident this year.

We are very grateful for the love shown to us by so many people, many of whom we didn’t know. So many of you generously and sacrificially gave to Stephanie’s transplant fund. It vastly exceeded our expectations, and every month when we get the bill for Stephanie’s medicines, we are very thankful for your help.

We are very thankful for Customer Effective, Joel’s employer. They stood behind us and supported us through it all with Joel’s unpredictable schedule, and we could not have made it without them.

Some lessons we have learned in 2012:

  • We are not in control. We think we are, and we make plans, but we aren’t in charge. Nothing last year went as we had planned, but in hindsight, we are thankful that it didn’t   I had to learn to trust others for things like caring for my children, buying groceries, making meals, things that we think we control.
  • Kids are resilient. They had some very difficult times with their mom being in the hospital, and still do even now during the slow recovery when she can’t do some things that they want her to. We try to teach them that it is OK to feel angry or sad sometimes, and how to deal with those feelings in constructive ways, and we point to the milestones of the past year to show how God has worked and is good. It forced us to be more open with them about life and death, and we could not shelter them from the reality that their mommy could have died. Parents, don’t try to protect your children from all bad news. This wold is a scary place and dying is a part of living, something that we all must know how to face.
  • Men, you should practice doing some of the things that your wife does—wash laundry, do dishes, cook meals, give the kids baths, comb your daughter’s hair. Some day you might have to do these things.
  • Never say “now that I have gone through X I’m never going to worry about the small stuff anymore.” It’s not true. You would think that living through a triple transplant would make you immune to worrying about stupid everyday stuff or petty arguments. It doesn’t.