Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Defining Myself

I think I said at one point I was going to try and get better at posting. I think I will try that again, maybe I need a more specific plan. Such as plan a post every Tuesday or Wednesday. I can collect ideas through out the week. Goodness knows I think about ALOT of things, especially when I am alone, at home, cooking and or doing other things around the house.

At this particular moment I am realizing my laziness has caused me some discomfort. What discomfort you ask? I choose to cut up my Serrano chili without wearing gloves - oops. Today I have two doctor appointments so I am trying to get dinner in the crock pot, tonight's menu, Chicken Tortilla soup. I have combine two recipes, one from Pinterest and one from Ree Drummond. We shall see how this tastes.

Yesterday, as is every Monday, was transplant support group. I don't go every week, other things going on, like my MCAD class that was every Monday for two months. Sometimes I am just tired by 4 pm, so I don't go. But when I do go I feel good when I leave. I realize that support groups aren't for everyone. I started going, very infrequently, when I was on the vent. I was invited by my transplant buddy, George, so I went. The longer I was on the vent, and then when I had to leave my room only on the portable vent I went a whole lot less often. One gentlemen that I have gotten to know over the last year plus, told me the other day I had a very emotionless face when I was on the vent, or rather the same expression, possibly fear. He also told me he really thought I wasn't going to make it, and he is happy he was proven wrong! Each meeting has many similar people but then others who are past transplant recipients who come back for their check ups and others who are on the waiting list. I can't tell you how many people I have meet over these many months, but a lot.

I also learned something about myself. As I struggle with the realization that the Graphic Designer I once was no longer exists. Not that I don't do it, in fact I do, but I also have stretched my artistic talents further than just digital art and frankly I love getting dirty creating with paint, pencils, and inks. There is nothing like it. But being the CE graphic designer, in some way defined me, it was something I put my stamp on and it felt good, even though stressful at times.

I have had, since transplant, a hard time defining myself, when I was on the vent I had many conversations with my brother about this life I was living at the time, patient, CFer, unknown future. Since my transplant I have had a hard time defining what this new life means, and often times wondering why I received this gift, why I was given this chance when so many others will not be so lucky. And if I am not the graphic designer for CE, who am I, what am I?

What I am is a survivor, I have been given a chance to redefine, or rather finally define who I am and why I am here. The one thing I get great satisfaction out of is meeting other lung transplant recipients or those waiting. I realize that each one of us has a different situation, from the underlying health condition to the place we live in this country. But the one things that is the same is that it is a struggle to understand that someone will die to save our lives, and what will life be like with new organs. Will the pains, and difficulties with transplant ever subside. Those are the things that bring us all to the same point.

I have meet another CFer, who is walking the same path I did a year and a half ago. I can't do much for her physically but I can give her the encouragement she needs to make it through this. I think support is the greatest thing anyone needs when dealing with this kind of situation. She is in great hands medically. CFer's are already resilient people, they know how to fight with all they have. But that positivity is imperative.

So, back to what I realized. There is nothing I know more about then what I have gone through these last many months and my knowledge, however difficult some of my memories are can help me help others. When it comes to life I think that is what it is about, our relationships with other people. It is our responsibility to help others when we have the knowledge to share. I love being able to share, and in some cases ease people's hearts. I spend 45 minutes talking to a woman I had never met about her husband 5 day old double lung transplant, by the time we were done she visibly was more comfortable. I didn't tell her things would be perfect but did say, bumps were normal and time would improve things. I remember having more questions than answer after transplant, and I know what these people are wondering.

What I realized is that I am an expert, of sorts, in something I never looked to be an expert in. Sometimes we look so hard we don't see what's right in front of us. I am still not exactly sure how to define this, but I will figure out how to fully share this knowledge I have. It makes all I have gone through worth something, suffering is difficult when going through it but if there is something to come of that suffering for someone else, it is worth every difficult moment.

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