Monday, December 16, 2013

Farewell Friend

1 week ago, I got upsetting news that my friend in this wacky lung journey died.  I've mentioned Pete in previous blogs, he reached out to me in June after coming across my blog.  I eagerly emailed him back, I had to connect with this person.  We set up a time to talk on the phone and discussed our unique situations with each other finding out that we eerily had a lot in common. Pete was also in the medical field, he was a physical therapist, he was young (32 at age of death), he heard many times that "You look good"-there can't be something wrong with you, and he was going to be listed for lung transplant in the imminent future, he had a supportive spouse/family/friends, he had young children, he had strong determination, etc
He had taken his 2 kids to Disney earlier this year and that was my future plan when we initially talked. He later gave me tips on how to take on the beast called Walt Disney World.

A connection was there, it was good to talk to someone who understood my struggles.
We continued to communicate via email and I talked with him one more time when he relocated to St Louis from Cincinnati and was actively listed at Barnes Jewish.

Pete had a way with words and he gave me hope. Here was a guy younger than I (was a former running star), stayed in good shape, and BAM starting feeling short of breath while running that progressively worsened. When Pete and I talked his lung function was 18%!!!!!!!!!!
18%!!!!! I'm at 28%, if this guy could still stay somewhat active and work then by golly then I could to.  Pete was my inspiration. I felt he would get new lungs and feel great again, complete a 5K with his new lungs, fists in the air--I literally envisioned this and told him so. He would be my mentor.
So when I read his blog that he passed away, I was shocked.  I had emailed him the Monday before his death and he quickly responded that he wasn't feeling well.  He ended up in the hospital the following Friday short of breath with the decision to be intubated to help his body rest.  Pete had been intubated before and did not have any ill effects, the blog entry his wife posted said they were already weaning him off the vent, I knew Pete would be ok. I emailed Pete the Monday after his death on Sat to check and see how he was doing (this was sent before I knew he died), I then checked his blog for any updates and then saw the post that Pete had passed.

This really shook me up and I cried Monday night, Tuesday, and I still tear up thinking about it.  This was not suppose to happen! I grieve for Pete's wife and his 2 young kids, and I grieve for the life that Pete should have had. Its not fair! It was a reality check for me, I thought about a bad cold or infection that could take me down. Granted, Petes lung function was worse than mine, but what if?
I can't stay in the 'what ifs' too long, its a dark place. I will continue to trust my docs and my instinct and take it day by day.  God is in control.
 I'm thankful God put Pete in my path and we were able to connect. Pete died waiting for new lungs, please consider being an organ donor. You can visit for more info.

Farewell Friend, you will be missed. You struggle no longer.
I was excited when Pete posted this pic wearing my shirt on his blog, I emailed and asked if I could use on my blog and he responded, 'Of course, that's why I wore it when I knew I was going to have this photo op'.
If you would like to read more about Pete's journey:

 MOSHERPeter Mosher took his final breath, December 7th, 2013 32 years of age. He left behind his beloved wife and partner of 15 years, Eileen (nee McGrath) and two beautiful children Adah and Eamon. He was cherished by his parents Kevin and Peggy, his brother Jeremy and sister Katie (Andrew Wright) and grandparents Mary and Roger Pierson. He will be so missed by the numerous members of his Pierson, Mosher, and McGrath-Seiffert families. Pete was a remarkable human who left this world a much better place and touched the lives of so many across this country and world in such a short time. His impression was left on the St. Xavier, Saint Louis University, St. Clare, Mount St. Joseph, and College Hill communities; his students and colleagues admired and respected him. He excelled in all he did and the world will not be the same without him. The most important remembrance of Pete, though, is to register as a Organ Donor! Visitation will be at St. Clare Church, 1443 Cedar Avenue, College Hill (45224) on Friday, December 13th from 4:00pm until 8:00pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Clare Church on Saturday, December 14th at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Program in Physical Therapy at Saint Louis University (please designate "Peter Mosher Memorial" - 221 N. Grand Blvd, Room 319, St. Louis, MO 63103), or to the College of Mount St. Joseph (please designate "Physical Therapy Book Scholarship" - 5701 Delhi Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45233)

Sunday, December 8, 2013

The year in review...

Dec 2012-Dec 2013
Its been quite a year! I've been feeling a bit nostalgic as it was this time last year I was in Madison, WI for a week of testing to determine if I had what it takes to become a transplant candidate. It started with ~20 vials of blood and ended with a heart cath. There were all kinds of other tests in the middle (see previous blogs) including psych testing. It was mentally, physically, and emotionally draining.  And it feels like it was so long ago yet it was only a year.  Maybe I feel this way because this past year has had so much crammed in it.

I spent 7 anxiety filled months "active" on the transplant list; feeling trapped, tied down, never knowing when the phone rang if it was THE CALL. My lung function crept up a bit in July to 28% and I really wanted to take my son to Disney and take a break from the anxiety. And after lots of discussion with my docs I became a Level 7 which keeps me on the list but on hold.

Maybe the anxiety stemmed from it wasn't my time to get new lungs, God had other plans for me. I know I have a deeper understanding of transplants and organ donation and how we need so many more people to enroll as an organ donor. I know it is my job to help spread the word and raise awareness. I have accepted this but I sometimes wonder why God has thrown so much on our plate.  But I can't dwell on the whys, I must try to trudge forward.

The year has been full of many positives as well.  I created an awesome tshirt which is copyrighted and nearly 500 people in the US are wearing and over 100 in Canada!! That is awesome!! I have phenomenal friends and family that came together and put together fundraiser events. I created a facebook page (yes I fought it as long as I could) and have spread the word thru this media and have met some awesome people and reconnected with some awesome ole pals from high school and other past life experiences.
I also created this blog to help share my story and help me share some of my feelings.  This blog has been viewed by many including those in different countries.  The greatest accomplishment for me this past year was interacting with others affected by this horrible lung disease or transplant. Bryan and Kirstie in Canada, Pete from Ohio, and Bill right here in Michigan---it has been a pleasure talking with you and helping each other in this journey.

I'm not sure when the trigger will be pulled but I will continue to fight. I am tired, I am weary, but I am alive.
THANK YOU TO ALL WHO HAVE SUPPORTED ME OVER THIS PAST YEAR!!!! It is true, you find out who will stand with you in the fire and who stays back. I could not do this without all the love and support  from friends and family. Even those that are praying for me who don't even know me, please know I am so thankful.
My husband has stayed strong and has not left my side, he has seen my tears, my bitchiness, my anguish, my pain, my fatigue, my pride, my stubbornness (I call it determination), my hope and has never left. Even when I wouldn't blame him if he did, he truly knows the meaning of "In sickness and in health." His love does not waiver and for that I am eternally grateful.

Here are some pics for the year in review: