So I am horrible friend! I totally, and completely, forgot to tell you guys how cool Jamie is lately. (well like always) I will try and keep it short BUT, she sent a story into the Reader's Digest contest "Share Your Story" and it literally almost instantly became an editors pick. Not only that, its been hangin' on the SECOND PAGE OF THE MOST POPULAR STORIES! That's out of A TON of them! The prize for the contest is having your story published in the Reader's Digest, how cool is that!? There are even cash prizes for the top entries, but who cares, it's the readers digest! Besides that, she also got published in a newspaper article about this contest and her submission. YAY! GO JAMIE! So go vote now! And everyday after that until November 15th, its EASY! Below are the links so you too can check out more of her, and this contests awesome-ness!
- News article!! - The article written about her Reader's Digest contest submission!
- Readers Digest Facebook App - Where you can Vote for her story everyday. Find the story below If you would like to read it! Don't forget to vote!
- http://youtu.be/J8dbN8_TkAk - Jamie's YouTube Video Associated with her amazing lung transplant and story.
"28 Breaths a Minute"
I was born in 1979 with the lung disease Cystic Fibrosis(CF). I was not expected to live past the age of eight. In 2007 CF had destroyed my lungs and I was dying. I was on 6+ liters of Oxygen and my lungs were functioning at 11%. I was denied by almost every transplant center for a double lung transplant because I cultured Cepacia. I didn't give up. We flew 2000 miles to Pittsburgh PA. where I was evaluated by the only center willing. After 5 days of testing my lungs could not continue breathing. My husband chose to put me on a ventilator while the doctors/surgeons decided whether to put me on the transplant list. I was put on the transplant list on 12/07/07. Just three days later on I received the gift of life from my donor. I will celebrate my 4 year transplant anniversary December 2011. I believe the hardest things in life are worth fighting for.
http://youtu.be/J8dbN8_TkAk - Jamie's YouTube Video Associated with her amazing lung transplant and story.
First off, people are amazing. No matter how many times you or I may think otherwise, there are A LOT of amazing people in the world, and a lot of them in your own backyard. You just can't ever, NEVER EVER, let the people who are rude, ruin the fact that amazing people are out there, everywhere, most just living humbly while being wonderfully awesome.
With that said, I need to fire off a massive (in terms of words) list of awesome people that I must thank particularly today, which I must start with my donor, the person whose life had to end too soon and had a very bittersweet ending, since theirs ended at the very beginning of mine. Their healthy lungs fueled my brand new life. There are no words to express that thankfulness to a person who basically passed away only to give you the chance to survive in the world with people, the ones you love, and the ones who love you back.
People, it may have really only been one's life that changed, but many people are the reason that my life is the way it is. The reason I have this gift and second chance.
Next I must talk about my donors family, the idea that they had all the power in the world and in all their heartbreak to say yes or no to organ donation, YES OR NO!! They had the power to pretty much decide if I lived or died because I didn't have much left. This makes them 1 in a million on the list of people that I am more than extremely grateful for, I very possibly may not have been alive without them and their selfless decision. It is very possible, almost completely, seriously, honestly, am 100% certainly, possible that if I were to encounter these people I would either pass out, or be completely SPEECHLESS. Or most likely both. It is just too much sometimes knowing they are out there, grieving the loss of their loved one, while I am living some of the best times of my entire life. Lastly I must thank my family, friends, and my larger than normal group of people who form the greatest support group I could have ever imagined to have in my life, without them, this second chance at life wouldn't be anywhere near the same.
I know now and forever that I am and will continue to be speechless. Speechless to be alive. Speechless at my quality of life. Speechless at medical techonology, doctors and surgeons. Speechless at peoples generosity and support. Speechless <3.
Switching gears for a moment. As I sit here on my computer. Having just done a short bike ride yesterday, awaiting the weekend which I have been preparing for since I decided to go on this grand adventure for my 1 year lungiversary. I began thinking about 1 year ago. I year ago yesterday I was sitting in my bed on my bi-pap wondering if I was even ever going to be re-listed. Listed so that I would have a chance at new lungs, or even the hope of getting new lungs in the future. 1 Year ago, I knew that my lung function was less than 17% as it had been dropping and had not been tested for over 3 months. One year ago I was strapped to oxygen at 5 liters just to get barely 90% Oxygen saturation out of my Cystic Fibrosis infected lungs, strapped to my bi-pap if I needed rest, strapped to my IV which held life sustaining antibiotics that were no longer working, sucking on nebulizers with antibiotics and other things to ease my tired lungs and hopefully help the multiple daily coughing fits, strapped in my vest attempting to shake out the nasty bacteria filled mucus that plagued my poor dying lungs, strapped to my feeding tube trying to keep my weight up so that I wouldn't wither away before I got the call if i was blessed or lucky enough to even be re-listed. I was in that life, the life I had been living since my parents found out their 8 month old daughter had one of the rarest childhood diseases know to America at the time, knowing that I would not live into my teens or even that, not knowing what to expect in anyway except that I was their first child, and this diagnosis was our reality.
Lung transplant was the only reality worth having hope in for end stage Cystic Fibrosis, because no one wants to talk about the real unavoidable truth that accompanies end stage CF.
Exactly 1 year ago today I was re-listed. Finally, after almost all hope had dwindled to nothing, after the unavoidable questions started rolling through my brain. Thats when my dad got that call, the one we had been waiting for, and when he told us what had just happened we were just carrying on as normal, just knowing we needed to chill, pack go-bags like the other times I'd been listed, knowing we had to have our phones with us at all times because at any minute we could get that phone call. All the other times it had been months on the list and nothing had happened, hope wasn't as it used to be when waiting to be listed, but we had a certain excitement that only could be explained by the relief we felt as if we knew I might not die waiting for new lungs after all.
I might make it. The hope gained from being listed is immediate.
The part that is insane is what happened next. Around 10:00PM on September 15th 2010, only hours after the call alerting us of my re-listing, my dad received another a phone call, from the University of Washington, saying that they had lungs, they had new lungs for ME. Yeah, it was a bit hard to process, when only moments before we had gotten the call of the re-listing, who would have thought? NOT US! We both hopped in the car in a heartbeat, knowing we would feel better if we were already down there, my mom staying to pack last minute items in case she ended up down there for three or four weeks at a time, and attempting to call our close friends and family as well as she could, while other friends carried out the phone tree we had prepared months before. We arrived late as my dad was driving slow, slow driving and an already 2 hour drive equaled A LONG TIME IN A CAR WHILE PRACTICALLY DYING INSIDE. We were both in extreme shock and barely exchanged a word the entire way, this can't really be happening… that is all I could think.
It just a dry run. Its a dry run, I know it. Everyone had a dry run and I hadn't had mine so this had to be it! There is no possible way I am getting lungs tonight, that is just insane.
Or so I thought… Upon arriving at the hospital, after 1:00 in the morning. I was placed in an ICU room, the ones post lung transplant patients were taken to after their surgery. I changed into hospital attire and they told me to get comfortable and sleep if I wanted to, which felt like the farthest thing from possible to try and achieve at that moment. Eventually I passed out around 3AM probably from stress or sleep deprivation, who knows. As I woke up only hours later, it all seemed so weird, friends started arriving and family stayed close, all not knowing if this was going to be their last goodbye or a shared group effort in good thoughts so I would know that all these people would be there when I came out of recovery, and they would all be exactly the same. Either or we sat around, now September 16th 2010, trying to ease the feeling of anxiousness mixed with worry and a tiny bit of heart failure shaken in. They kept pushing back the time they were supposed to come get me saying, 1:00pm is the time, then 2:30pm etc, which made us even more on the edge. As nervous as we were, as soon as we finally calmed down a bit and began to set up a game, they came.
HOLY SHIT! And we're rollin'
Rolling away was, well.. I have no idea, it was like a moment of blackout, because there were only 2 thoughts in my head at that point. Here I go, I am either going to wake up with new lungs, and a second chance that not very many people in the world have been given, or I am going to die on the operating table.. Right then at that exact moment, rolling away from my mom after close to 10 failed attempts at getting an IV in my wrist artery for arterial gasses and other things, also proven good for taking your mind off of what was actually happening, I came up with a conclusion to fix every feeling I had had since the time of the call. This was it, I had a good run, I did everything I could in every aspect of life and I was content, If I came out alive, it was a bonus, but I wasn't afraid to know I might not wake up. I was only afraid of the people I would be forced to leave behind, all of them, the ones I loved.
1 Year Ago TODAY I Woke up with new lungs.
And here I am. Who am I to thank? MY DONOR OF COURSE! As well as doctors, nurses, & family.
I won't even begin to bore you with the facts, in other words, what I've been able to do since the day I walked out of that hospital less than a year ago, but, breathing 100% of the oxygen that I was meant to breath just had to take a detour. Lets just say RoadTrips, VisitingFriends, Snowboard, TrainMyDog, Hiking, Biking, Driving, SpendingTimeWithFamily, TravelbyPlane, Running, & among other MiscellaneousAdeventures I LIVED IT UP!
HERES TO YEAR NUMBER 2!
I NEED TO FINISH RAISING ALL THE MONEY NEEDED TO RIDE IN THE TRK-TRI-ISLAND IN 5 DAYS!!
Come on! Help me out!!! Send this to your friends, family, everyone you know because every $1 helps fight for clean air and lung disease and will help me be able to ride in the Trek-Tri-Island bike ride on my Lungiversary (my 1 year lung transplant anniversary)
Don't take it from me! Read about the various foundations and associations My team and I will as well as your donations will be supporting for this ride.
As most of you know I, and my teammates, must raise $750 each to go on my 1 year lung transplant anniversary bike ride. It's a 3 day ride in the San Juan Islands conquering a different Island each day. Oddly enough all of the proceeds and donations go straight to the American Lung Association to batter lung disease and fight for cleaner air for all. The team will be sporting American Transplant foundation jerseys to show some support for my donor and their family as well as support organ transplantation and donation. I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS! If we do not come up with the $750 each it will either have to be paid by us or we will not be able to ride. (I really do not have that kind of money You can click here to see my fundraising page)
There was an article in the Ferndale Record Jounral written about the ride and my Cystic Fibrosis/Lung Transplant life. I must raise enough money to do this ride!! Thank you for reading and considering donations, every $1 will help!
A little more background informations to annoy you into donating to this awesome cause!
So I have been very excited to be working towards going on this bike ride that just so happens to be on my lungiversary, exactly 1 year since my life was changed, saved, prolonged, whatever you want to call it, I WAS GIVEN THE GIFT OF LIFE, because of doctors, nurses, my support crew, and of course my one and only donor who was selfless enough to share their organs, so that others could live in the event of a tragedy, as well as their family for acknowledging those wishes. That is who made it happen, and because of them, I have had one of the best years of my life. Not only because I am ALIVE, but because I am healthy and I am living it up!
Please consider donating to my team as we need $750 each to participate in this. Oddly enough all the money goes to the American Lung Association. It was pretty random that I looked for an event to participate in on my year mark of having my new lungs, finding a bike ride to wear my new team transplant jersey, AND having the money go to the American Lung Association. So there you have it! I need $750 times 3 so HELP ME OUT!! This is going to ROCK!
So I have been very excited to be working towards going on this bike ride that just so happens to be on my lungiversary, exactly 1 year since my life was changed, saved, prolonged, whatever you want to call it, I WAS GIVEN THE GIFT OF LIFE, because of doctors, nurses, my support crew, and of course my one and only donor who was selfless enough to share their organs, so that others could live in the event of a tragedy, as well as their family for acknowledging those wishes. That is who made it happen, and because of them, I have had one of the best years of my life. Not only because I am ALIVE, but because I am healthy and I am living it!
Please consider donating to my team as we need $750 each to participate in this. Oddly enough all the money goes to the American Lung Association. It was pretty random that I looked for an event to participate in on my year mark of having my new lungs, finding a bike ride to wear my new team transplant jersey, AND having the money go to the AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION. So there you have it! I need $750 times 3 HELP ME OUT!! This is going to ROCK!
I cannot believe its been almost a year already Time flies, and doesn't at the same time. I mean, I know how long its been in reality, but it seems like I've been privileged with these lungs for a lot longer than I've had them, and to think that for like 3 months I wasn't even home yet, and even longer I was recovering, it's just INSANE!! Considering the time I've had to do things and what I have accomplished, again INSANE.
I am over half way through the first year with my amazing new gift. Of all the things I thought it would be and of all my hopes for this year, dreams and expectations. Everything I am grateful for has been doubled and tripled through this experience, and the time I've been able to spend with my new lungs has been an incomprehensible addition to my already extremely awesome life. My new lungs, which have somehow changed basically every aspect in my life, especially my abilities, the things I have accomplished since, and my future goals overall. It is just a matter of time before I hope to move on to bigger and better things as I continue my new life with these lungs.
It's still quite difficult to comprehend that doctors are even able to transplant lungs. What boggles my mind is my ability to participate in many things I had not been previously able such as travel, (by plane, ferry and long car trip) without the worry about much of anything related to my health, or anything else really. It's still impossible for me to even imagine the things that I have done since my transplant such as running, biking, hiking, snowboarding, as well as the traveling among many other things. Most things I had not been able to do for years before. Some things i was never able to do. One thing that is a huge blessing and change is the ability to make plans, whether it be a week, month, or year in advance. Most people wouldn't think anything of that, they plan things all the time and expect to make it, but when you are chronically ill, you really have to wait for the day before and even then you might not be able to do what you had planned.
“No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.”
I don't know what I can do other than thank god and my donor everyday and live my life to the full so that others can be inspired by it. More importantly, so that others will realize the life changing effects that the decision of organ donation has. The incomprehensible change it will have on entire groups of people, including, but not limited to, friends, families, random passerby's, not to mention the recipient who's life is forever changed with a higher quality of life and a permanent thankfulness that can never be taken away.
So today, before my lungiversary, my 1 year anniversary with this so gracious gift which I have been so blessed with, I just wanted to reflect on the awesomeness of this life I have been given and my thankfulness for my donor, their family, my doctors, nurses, family and friends for getting me to where I am today, keeping me alive, supporting me and giving me this opportunity and chance at a whole new life, something many people would dream of, even better than winning "the car" on the price is right!!
I would thank my donor from the bottom of my heart, but for my donor my heart has no bottom.
Wanted to post this as a tribute to my donor and their loved ones, thanks for not only saving my life but for also being a hero, my hero. Also to all the "hero's" out there, whether they think they are or not, thank you all for making the world a better place!
Heroes are in movies, on television, and among us every day. Heroes come in many forms, but what is a hero? A hero is someone who makes a difference, someone who changes something or helps someone. A hero could be someone who saves people, who is heroic in how they live everyday, or those that were once heroic and still are. Heroes make the world a better place, they discover, help, change, and define the best things our world has to offer.
Heroes are seen differently from person to person. A hero could be someone who lives in your neighborhood, someone that cares for you, a doctor, a cook, or even an athlete. Heroes come in many different forms and depending on the your view. Maybe that old man across the street that just loves living life may not even know it but every morning when someone sees him, and his actions, it brightens their day and reminds them to live their life to its fullest. This man is a hero. Maybe a doctor is a certified scientist who does disease research and someone admires her love for medicine and the ability she has to help people. She is a hero. It could be the kid that delivers newspapers to all the people in the community getting to know each individual, even bringing the paper right up to the door for the older citizens. He is a hero. Contrary to the beliefs of some people, heroes are not only ones with super powers like seen in movies, heroes are much more than that. A hero is someone that makes a difference in someone or something, such as the man who lives life to the fullest every day, making others learn from him. This is real life heroism.
Merriam- Webster’s Online Dictionary states that the definition of hero is, “a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability.” This definition focuses on heroes from the past, heroes from ancient Greek history that had super powers or incredible strength, heroes known for their ability to fight against other heroes or even Gods. Other ancient Greek heroes were known for their quests. Heroes in the past were much different than heroes today.
Heroes today are depicted as characters like Batman, or Superman. Who are heroic because they can defy the odds of a regular human being, consisting of strength, greatness, and super human powers that are never even seen. There are also those real life heroes we hear about on the news everyday, such as the firefighters, police officers, and doctors that save people everyday. But children often look to the make believe heroes as their answers to strength and ability. When in all reality, those heroes that are shown in movies and on television actually have no qualities of a hero.
Wikipedia Encyclopedia Online talks about modern day heroes by saying, “…the hero is often simply an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances, who, despite the odds being stacked against him or her, typically prevails in the end.” Heroes today are just regular everyday people, working, and living and trying to keep up with their bills. Heroes are people that help others even when they don’t have to money or time to spare. There are those heroes that will go to great lengths to make sure they help someone even if they too are in need of help.
The definition of heroism in the Merriam- Webster’s Online Dictionary says, "Heroic conduct especially as exhibited in fulfilling a high purpose or attaining a noble end.” Saying heroism is being able to carry yourself as a person of worth and ability to help even if they are not the richest or the best.
Heroes are everywhere, at restaurants, doctor’s offices, schools, and workplaces. Viewing heroes is also very dependent on how you see a hero yourself. If you greatly respect someone for what they do they are probably making an impact on how you think or live, this person is a hero. Heroes make the world a better place, because they teach us and lead us to living better lives and being heroes ourselves.
Can you think of someone that is your hero?
Think about it! You could be an everyday hero, you could be SOMEONES HERO! (It really doesn't take as much as you'd think - read below)
Here are a few small acts of kindness from Oprah's website. Also smalls heroic acts as I see it. You can read the rest by clicking here.
1. Say "Good morning" to a person standing next to you in the elevator.
2. Pay the toll for the driver behind you.
3. Take a minute to direct someone who is lost, even though you're rushing.
4. Write a letter to a child who could use some extra attention. Kids love getting mail.
5. Offer to pick up groceries for an elderly neighbor, especially in extreme weather.
6. Give a homeless person your doggie bag.
7. Say "I love you" to someone you love.
8. Put a coin in an expired meter.
9. Help a mother carry her baby stroller up the subway stairs, or hold a door open for her.
10. Each time you get a new item of clothing, give away something old.
11. Take someone's shift as the car-pool parent.
12. Bring your assistant coffee.
13. Out of the blue, send flowers to a friend.
14. Say "please" and "thank you"—and really mean it.
15. When you're on a crowded train or bus, offer your seat to an elderly, disabled or pregnant person.
It's still National Donate Life Month!! Register to be an organ donor today!!
I found a really awesome blog from Amy Tippins, Founder and President, RockScar Love Designs, talking about her love for her donor. Click this link to read the blog.
I also have a lot of the same feelings. Though I am still unsure how to go about writing my gratitude and expressing my love for my donor in words to their family. I am extremely worried about causing sadness and stirring up emotion in a bad way, I would love to contact them but I do have this fear preventing me from that. I also do hope for my donors approval of my life and what I live for, but all in all I do thank my donor EVERY day for the chance to be alive a little bit longer, the chance to spend time with my doggies, my family, and friends just that much more. I feel like I can almost make everyday into a lifetime having this extra chance here on earth. So thank you donor. I am forever grateful.
I have ALWAYS wanted to be a runner. I have always wanted to just slap on a pair of running shoes, lace em' up, and go for a run. Not just once, but whenever I wanted to.
When I was constantly sick with Cystic Fibrosis exacerbations, I tried to run but really running was few and far between. I did 3 5k's in a period of like 4 or 5 years, ran one, did one with oxygen, as well as ran/walked another. Every time I made it to the finish line I would be totally wiped out. And always wondering how the other people with normal lungs felt. Because of course most of them did not look even remotely tired comparing to how I felt. I know each person felt completely different after those 5k's, all racers feel different after any race of any kind for that matter, depending on how fit they were and how much training they have, as well as many other factors. I was just very curious.
I had actually completed the couch to 5k a few years (5-6 years maybe) prior to my transplant but the other times I just had done random slow run/walks and then just went out and tried so hard to push myself on raceday to make it to the finish. Usually shortly after the race I would end up sick or just super tired from overdoing it, and sleep a lot for a few days. I would also let my heart rate get to sometimes above 180.
Since I have been working through the couch to 5k program again in the past few months. I've been doubling most workouts, like instead of 20 I do 45 and instead of 30 I'll do 60. Then I started to realize I don't even get very tired durning those and was not tired afterwards. So I finally made it to week 5, which has a 20 minute run at the end, of course I was worried for this all week, but I surprised myself, I did it and felt good! I was just amazed!
So the next day I ran I tried to go further (totally bagging the couch to 5k plan), instead of 20 minutes I ran for 35 minutes straight! So the next time I stepped it up even more. I started covering the clock on the treadmill so that I just ran without any knowledge of time. It made it a TON easier for me! So this time I ran for an entire hour. I was in complete awe! I felt so good and I couldn't help but think that this is how the other runners must feel.
It was like a turning point in my new life, with my new lungs. I just did something I've always dreamed of doing. Like now it was all real. So during my run I decided to peek at the clock and it showed 45 min and I was still feeling really strong, at that moment I realized I could do everything I've ever wanted to do, of course I knew I would be pushing myself to do more now, but by then there were tears falling down my face. It's actually just really hard to describe the feelings I had towards my new found ability, and the whole time, there was only one thing on my mind… my donor, mostly their family, but I had their lungs, inside of me, and now they are gone, and they are the only reason I am here and able to do all these things, and continue being me, is because of the CHOICE THEY MADE. To be a hero and donate their life.
I also constantly think about the doctors, nurses, and surgeons who got me here today. As well as my family and friends. Because not too long ago I was dying, on full time oxygen on the couch. While just about a month ago I ran 4 miles.
There is an amazing God out there, and absolutely no way I can deny it.
My Dad showed me a cool blog today. This is the story of a lady who is now a living donor as she gave up a kidney for a young girl. Read her story at this link! There is also a link on the left to the story of the girl on the receiving side. Awesome lady!!