After a very busy week in Cleveland we have arrived home victorious. Here’s a silly video that provides some highlights, and/or you can read a recap of our events below (click on photos to make them big):
One last post before we head off to the games. The opening ceremonies are on Saturday night from 7:30p-9:30 EDT. There’s a rumor that there will be a live stream that you can access from the TGA website. So if you’re not doing anything else on Saturday, you could watch that?
There’s still time to sign up to be an organ donor and/or make a donation to our team if you’re into that sort of thing.
Wish us luck! We hope to make you all proud.
In an effort to get you pumped up for the Summer Olympics this year, Derek and I are heading to Cleveland to participate in the Transplant Games of America in less than 2 weeks! The games:
“…started as a way to get the word out about the important need for organ and tissue donation and that is our goal today. Over the years it has grown into an event that brought transplant and donor families together. As a Donor Family you may not meet the person that has your loved ones organ, but you get a chance to see how your donation has changed someone else life. As a transplant recipient you get to show the world that having a transplant is a second chance at life.” [source]
Derek and I are proud to be representing Team New England at the games, and are happy to use the occasion as an opportunity to give thanks to, as well as honor, the young man and his family who chose to give Derek the gift of life two years ago.
We plan to take loads of photos and will give you a full update on the games when we return.
While winning a medal isn’t the primary goal of the Transplant Games, we are both highly competitive people and we sure hope we’ll make y’all proud.
Listed below are the events Derek & I have signed up for. Derek has been running regularly to train for his events, including competing in the Big Lake Half Marathon and the Canterbury 5k.
I have been swimming at the Y for a few months now and have only swallowed 1/10th of the pool in my quest to remaster my flip turn. I really hope I remember how to do a block start since I haven’t done one since, oh I don’t know, probably 1990? I’m hoping muscle memory kicks in for that particular skill, and the 2 running sprints I signed up for.
We will also be on a bocce team together and that should be interesting since we haven’t played an official game of bocce…ever.
Track & Field – 800m, 1500m, 4×100 Relay, & Discus
Swimming – 50m Freestyle, 50m Breaststroke, 100m Freestyle
(Here’s the funny thing about lap pools. The Busbey Natatorium–where this event is being held–has a long course pool, which means one lap is 50 meters. But…we’re going to be swimming the short course a.k.a. the width of the pool which is 25 yards because American pools are weird. 25 yards = 22.86 meters. So does that means my times will be faster because I will be swimming 45.72 meters instead of 50 or 91.44 meters instead of 100? Maybe? Faster than what? I’m really searching for an advantage here.)
Track & Field – 100m & 200m
This is an outrageously long post, and I’m sorry about that, but I had a lot to share and this blog is as much for me as it is for all of you. So snuggle up with a warm beverage and I’ll tell you the tale of my hernia repair.
Long time readers of the blog may remember that I mentioned back in April, after my 1 year checkup and CT scan, that the surgeons discovered a wild incisional hernia had appeared. This was revealed to me thusly:
“Ok, here’s the CT scan, everything looks good…” *scrolls through my body scan* “Oh hey! Look at that! You’ve got a little hernia!”
“What? No. No I don’t.”
“Yes you do, it’s right there.”
“But I don’t want a hernia.”
“Well you’ve got one. I’ll fix it. We’ll put a little patch in there, I’ll fix you right up. It’s small. Which is good and bad. Easy to fix, but not so good if you manage to push your intestines out of that little hole.”
It was all laughs and yucks like most of our appointments with the band of merry medical professionals that saved Derek’s life. But it was slowly sinking in for me that a hernia meant another surgery. One year out from the liver transplant and I had mostly forgotten the pain of major abdominal surgery, but the memory of not liking the pain was still pretty fresh. This would be different. A little incision to put the patch in, no intubating, a day surgery. I’d leave with an ice pack and binder which is kind of like a dumpy looking corset with velcro. No. Big. Deal.
Derek and I went to Lahey yesterday for his check-up. All of his numbers look good, his bilirubin is at 4.2 (3 months ago it was 4.9), but again, all of his other numbers are a-ok so no worries there. Now that he is a little more than a year out from his 2nd transplant they’re starting to step-down his immunosupressants. This is a slow process and so they’re dropping his dose of Prograf from 4 pills, twice daily to 3 pills twice daily. He’ll go in and get blood work in a month to make sure his levels of immunosupression are still good. This is good news because immunosupressants are processed through the kidneys, and long term use of these drugs has been known to have a negative effect on the kidneys. So less is more!
The appointment went so well, Derek doesn’t have to go back for 6 months! Huzzah!
I also met with the chair of transplantation about my hernia surgery. I told her about an odd tender spot near the top of my scar (the hernia is down by the belly button.) She put me on the exam table and felt around a bit and then consulted the CT scan from April. She said there’s a chance I have another hernia up there, but it also might just be a thin spot in the fascia. The plan is to mark the hernia and that spot and then when I’m zonked out she can feel the spot more easily (muscles fully relaxed) and determine if it is indeed a hole that has formed up there. In which case I will get two small incisions along my scar. No hole? Just one incision and we’ll hope that the thin spot doesn’t turn into a hernia. She reminded me that I will be out of commission for a while; a week or so of recovery and no lifting for about 6 weeks. I am going to try very hard to be a good patient and not do anything stupid.
I’m planning on having the surgery in October, so Derek will be able to give everyone the report while I’m under the knife. Stay tuned for that!
We also went to the 6th floor to see our nurses and our PA. Hugs and smiles all around. We still marvel at how amazing the men and women who work on the transplant floor are. It’s so fun to see them while we’re healthy and happy and they seem genuinely thrilled to see how amazing Derek looks.