Monday, October 10, 2016

2 years

Wow!! It's been 2 years since my transplant! And it's been a bit over 6 months since my last blog; that wasn't deliberate but my first year update blog took a lot out of me. I still can't go back to that blog post-- it's too hard to relive.  And what I'm about to discuss is also intensely personal and difficult to put out there.
When a transplant patient makes it to their anniversary date it is a big accomplishment especially for lungs (highest failure rate of any organ).  It's natural to think back to the day you received the call, the surgery, and for me all the setbacks I had. I remember the day as if it just happened, even as I'm sitting here in Madison awaiting to go to my appointments the weather is exactly the same as it was 2 years ago.  Eerily the same... the sun is shining, the air is crisp yet warm, a slight breeze.  Isn't it amazing how some things trigger our memory? Last year the weather was also exactly the same, I know the Mighty One continues to watch over me and perhaps the weather is a way to remind me He is always present through the good and bad.  Perhaps it also is a sign from my guardian angel who happened to lose his life on this day to save mine.
My guardian angel is a 12 year old boy whose parents graciously allowed him to live in others.  And I am one of those blessed others. I never expected to hear from my donors family, it's just not something that happens in most cases.  The videos I share on my page or what TV shows is not the norm.  I received my letter on my 1 year lungaversary and when I saw a picture of my guardian angel and learned he was only 12, I was stunned.  When I was on the list awaiting my call I prayed for healthy lungs, a child's lungs were never in my thought process. I knew it happened but never thought that it would happen with me.
My guardian angel is named Josh and his father was gracious enough to send me a letter about Josh and who Josh was a person. Josh was an active 12 year old boy who was a Boy Scout, loved to be outdoors, was inventive, and loved his dogs. (Josh had a dog named Snoopy and so do we)

I've been asked if some of my habits have changed since transplant (there has been research regarding recipients taking on new mannerisms/liking new foods that prior to transplant they didn't, and developing new talents from donated organs due to unique cells/DNA that come with transplanted organs). As a recipient you are not told anything about your donor-- and believe me I tried to question/break all the transplant team down. However I knew that my donor was male; I don't know how I just did.  I've also noticed after transplant I like cheese much more, I'm the weirdo that would peel cheese off of pizza and now I don't. I'm not inventive like Josh however I was a Girl Scout.

As I awoke this morning I thought of Josh and his family and how they gave the ultimate gift of life. Today has a different meaning for them; hug your children a little tighter, be a bit kinder to one another, and live life for there are no guarantees in this roller coaster of life.

RIP Josh -my guardian angel; I will make you proud.



  1. this is a huge anniversary for you. God bless you!

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  3. Hi Joyce -- congratulations on your recovery! Would you be willing to allow an academic publisher to include the photo of you walking just after your surgery in a textbook for PTs? You can reach me at