Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re going to take the holiday weekend off, so this is our official Thanksgiving post.

Here’s what we were thankful for last year:

Things we are thankful for in 2014:

From Logan and Derek

1. The everyday people that sign up to be organ donors and especially to the young man who saved so many lives, including Derek’s.

2. Each and every one of you that kept us both in your thoughts and supported us through Livernalia Parts 1 & 2. We could not have done it without all of you.

3. The surgeons, doctors, nurses, and staff at Lahey Hospital who saved Derek’s life and kept me safe. They are all heroes and we are both in awe of their tireless efforts to heal and comfort the sick.

4. The scientists that are working to find a way to solve the problem of organ shortage through cutting edge technology.

From Logan

5. My mom arriving early and seeing me through my dark, morphine addled days. I needed her to be my rock, and she filled that role with aplomb.

6. My sister Kathleen taking over for our mom, washing my hair in the kitchen sink when I was too weak to shower, and helping me laugh–when all I wanted to do was cry–by forcing me to watch a marathon of Parks and Recreation.

7. My brother St*rskee nursing me back to health with amazing food; driving me back and forth to the hospital to see Derek; sitting in a waiting room for hours and never complaining, not once; and hugging me gently when I was about to collapse.

8. My dad being a constant source of encouraging messages and for taking care of mom when she arrived home after her vigil with me.

9. My sister Deborah being our personal trainer during her visit, successfully getting us past the stage of neighborhood walks and back to scrambling up hills and rocks, and for decorating the super pretty birthday cupcakes.

From Derek

10. Logan for risking her life to save my life, then recovering and taking care of me during recovery. A true gift that’s hard to repay.

11. My family for giving up their work, getting me peanut butter crackers on Easter, helping me reorganize my hospital room, listening to my crazy ideas, and sitting in silence through the good and the bad.

13. And again, the young man who passed away and selflessly provided me the gift of life.  I will be eternally grateful.

We sure have a lot to be thankful for this year. Hugs and kisses to all, and pass on our love and thankfulness.

Root Beer Review #26 – Trader Joe’s Vintage Root Beer

Trader Joe’s Root Beer?  Sure, I’ll give it a try.

Trader Joes

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Weekend Recap – November 21-23

It was a bizarre weekend, weather wise, here in the Northeast and promises to get a bit weirder with temps forecasted to be in the upper 60s for Monday. Saturday I spent most of the day working on the Team Liver Lovers sweaters for the big hike in two weeks. I made good progress and I am hoping to have them all done over the holiday weekend. Derek did some homework, then we both went for a neighborhood walk and did a couple laps up the big hill. The Logan M. Shannon, patent pending, “better late than never” training routine is finally happening.

My main concern for this hike is going out too hard. I always joke that I am a big old diesel engine when it comes to hiking. When I start the hike I sputter and cough, I feel lightheaded, my legs feel like they’ve been injected with a lead slurry and my lungs burn. In those first moments of any hike, I stop a lot. I consider turning back, I lament my fitness level, I feel pitiful. Derek is patient and gives me time.

On Sunday it was in the 50s and many of the ski resorts have spent the last few cold weeks blowing snow to build up a good base. Some are even open for skiing, but we call that the “white strip of death.” No good for skiing, but great conditions for hiking. We made our way to Sunapee which we knew was not open for skiing. There was one other car in the parking lot, and a guy doing maintenance on some snow guns. There was a brief moment when we considered hiking up the legitimate trail around the back side of the mountain, but the truth is, we need the practice going up a ski hill; hiking trails use different muscles.

There were mounds of snow around the chair lift, but we walked up a main trail that was still mud and grass. I went out way too fast, got winded immediately and overheated. Derek went ahead a bit and I did my typical sputter, start, stop, keeping my head down, trying to get my engine to warm up. I met up with Derek a little ways up the hill and he coaxed me along, saying: “Let’s just get to that big pole up ahead, then we can stop….OK now let’s just get to that third pole.” He is patient and kind with me on every hike, but I was especially grateful for his patience on Sunday. I was starting to think there was no way I was going to make it up Aspen. I turned the music up in my headphones and looked at my feet, willing them forward, slow and steady.

We made it to a junction in the ski trails and found where the Sunapee snow magicians had been doing the majority of their snowmaking. It seemed like the perfect chance to try out the Kahtoola Microspikes we bought for the hike and we were immediately impressed. Gone was that nervous feeling that you might slip and gone were those little mini slips that make your muscles tense up. They are so great, we couldn’t stop talking about how helpful they were. Plus, my big diesel engine had warmed up and I was moving at a decent pace and breathing steadily. Things were looking up!

When ski mountains make snow in the early season they build it up in big mounds so it won’t melt too fast, eventually moving it around and building up a base. As we made our way up the ski trail we saw larger and larger mounds of snow. Derek, feeling a new found confidence with the magical spikes, hiked up an especially steep mound. I stuck to the grassy/muddy/patchy snow area. We took a right and hiked up a trail that was free of snow and made it to the lodge at the top of the mountain. As the sun came out we sat by ourselves on a picnic table and munched on our sandwiches–almond (me)/peanut butter (Derek) on one slice, chocolate peanut butter on the other and strawberry jam in between.  Back in late July we took a ride up the chairlift and then hiked down Sunapee and it was hard for both of us. As we made our way down the front of the mountain yesterday, we were both in much better shape, all smiles and moving at a good clip.

I’ve been joking about my lack of an exercise regimen leading up to this hike, but Derek and I have hiked more in the past few months than I’ve ever hiked in the past. I am not in perfect shape, not by a long shot. This hike will be a challenge, but as long as I can drown out the sound of my own sputtering, I should be able to warm up and finish strong. My ultimate goal is to not cross the finish line dead last. (Hopefully my sis will cooperate and let me finish ahead of her if it’s looking bleak.) For Derek, I think the goal is just being there, hiking up that mountain, meeting Chris Klug. Finally in the happy place he dreamt of while he was lying in that hospital bed all those months ago.

Week of November 17th – Best of Liver Lovers Unite

Happy Friday! A bit of housekeeping before we get to the ha-ha’s.

If you’re considering donating to the Chris Klug Foundation via our Summit for Life adventure, you still have time! 14 days in fact. Feel free to donate directly to Derek’s page as he is currently in 5th place for SFL fundraisers and we might as well keep that going!

Derek’s Donation Page

If you have already donated, we are incredibly thankful. If you haven’t donated, please don’t feel obligated to donate, we both know this is a rough time of year for cash flow. We will be counting on all of you to cheer us on from the warmth of your own homes.

Have a great weekend.

 

1. Jumping Dogs

Number 11 is my favorite.

2. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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3. My simultaneous dream/nightmare

I love how he pronounces squirrel.

4. Journalism!

5. This song is just so darn catchy!

Spreading the Word

On Monday, Derek and I received an email from the New England Organ Bank with a last minute request. Would Derek be able to visit a driver’s ed class in Nashua, share his story and talk to the kids about organ donation? He agreed and I agreed to go along as moral support. Last night we watched a video with the 15 and 16 year olds that provided a very informative introduction to what it means to be an organ donor. Derek watched the video beforehand, but I did not. As a result I managed to get pretty choked up watching it. The video ended and Derek stood up to tell his story, and then stopped talking. Turns out the first time you tell your story to a group of teenagers is harder than it seems! That’s why we’re a team. I told them that this was the first time for both of us telling our story to a group and that it was a little emotional for both of us. I took a deep breath and began telling the tale.

As the story progressed, Derek recovered and we took turns filling in the details of our experience. When we finished, we told the students they could ask us ANY questions they could come up with. Here are a few:

  1. Do you guys have any restrictions for what you can eat?
  2. Did you drive Derek to the hospital?
  3. Does Derek have a different outlook on life?
  4. Before the surgery, was there anything that Derek wished he had done?
  5. If I decide to be an organ donor can I change my mind later?
  6. Can you buy an organ?
  7. How old are you?
  8. How did you know you were sick?
  9. Are there certain blood types that need organs more than others?
  10. Do you have to have the same blood type as the donor?

It was a great experience and the driver’s ed instructor seemed genuinely grateful that we told our story; he said it was truly eye opening. Sometimes Derek and I forget that not everyone knows about organ donation, or how amazing it is to be an organ donor. We both hope we get many more chances to speak to people about our experience and how grateful we are for organ donors.