You've Been Given the Gift of Life, Give it Back!

Welcome friends and family!

Thank you for visiting my blog. It documents my amazing journey from pre to post double lung transplant. I am a 37 year old mother and wife with Cystic Fibrosis who has been more greatly blessed than I could ever imagine possible!

It has been a bumpy ride, but God has given me strength, love, friendship, and, FINALLY, health. My prayers have been answered, my miracle was granted, and I want to share the joy of my new life with you.

If you are a first time visitor, please take a moment to watch The Miracle of Transplantation video below. To me, pictures speak a thousand words.

My entries begin in April of 2008 and my double lung transplant was December 10. Scroll down to my blog archive and you can read from the beginning or jump around. If you are looking for a specific topic, you can use the search engine.

Please feel free to contact me with questions or feedback, I would love to hear from you!

I hope I can help you to experience the love God has for each and every one of us!

May God Bless You with Miracles in Your Life! Nancy


..............................................................................................................

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pittsburgh Tomorrow

Hello friends!

Just a quick update. We will be heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow through Friday. I will see Dr Pilewski and have a bronchoscopy, so hopefully we will get continued good news.

I am really looking forward to the trip. We will be visiting our friends Scott & Christina and their children tomorrow night and then Thursday I will get to see Cammi!!!!

I need a break, even if it is to go to doctor's appointments. It seems like I have been crazy busy and we have Hannah's Birthday coming up. We are having 17 girls over on Sunday for a Halloween Birthday party. I am excited, yet stressed with preparations! Hannah will be 10 on Monday. I can't believe it!

I was exposed to the H1N1 virus last weekend, one of Hannah's friends came down with it while she was spending the night at our house, but my doctor's were quick to respond and I have been taking Tamiflu ever since. We have passed the 7 day incubation period and none of us have gotten sick, thank you God!!! I couldn't believe we were exposed so early. Hannah's friend is doing much better and returned to school yesterday.

I hope you all have a wonderful week. I will check in after our trip to Pittsburgh.

My love to you all! Nancy

Saturday, October 24, 2009

I DID IT!!!

I am sure you have noticed my absence this week. I had been working on a presentation for my mother-in-law's church ladies group. It took up much of my time and I was so nervous about it. The presentation was last night. This was the first time I have spoken in front of a group in 3 years, so you can imagine my anxiety. I prayed that God would take over and just use me as a vessel to relay his message to these ladies.

Although I was quite nervous as I began, a peace came over me and the rest of the presentation just flowed. My speaking skills are rusty, but I think I got the message across. It was another accomplishment in my post-transplant experience and I know the next time I have to tell my story it will be that much easier.

Thank you to those of you who prayed for me, it worked. Thank you also to the ladies who attended the dinner for your hospitality and interest in what I had to share.

I slept until 10:45 this morning, so you know how much it took out of me, but it was a wonderful evening for me!

My love to you all! Nancy

Would you like to help a transplant patient in need?

For the next 60 days, the UPMC Heart, Lung, and Esophageal Surgery Institute offers you the chance to help. The Gene and Marlene Epstein Humanitarian Fund has issued a 1:1 matching challenge - up to $50,000 - in memory of Gene's brother, a cardiothoracic transplant recipient. The Epstein Challenge, when met, will provide transitional support for post-transplant patients who are struggling to cover the costs of their medications. Each dollar you donate will be matched 100%.

If you are willing, Please send a check made payable to CT Patient Assistance Fund to me at P.O. Box 5 Westons Mills, NY before December 15. I will send all of the checks in together to the Medical and Health Sciences Foundation at UPMC. What a wonderful Christmas gift to give to someone in need!

Thank you for considering this request!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

We're Ready for Halloween, Are You?

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Haunted Castle Cake

As most of you know, I have gotten very interested in cooking lately and am having a blast trying all sorts of new recipes. Hannah's Birthday party is coming up next weekend and she had picked a cake out of a magazine that she wanted. We bought the magazine and I pondered over how on earth I was going to make this cake. The directions said it wasn't difficult to make, though the picture made it look impossible!

I decided I better do a dry run just to make sure I could do it, so this past Saturday, I spent the ENTIRE day in the kitchen. What I learned from this experience is: If it looks impossible, it probably is. Needless to say, we have decided to make a litter box cake instead. Disgusting, but much easier!

I thought I would share my attempt at the haunted castle cake. (This recipe will not be making it onto my cooking blog, I don't want anyone else to feel the frustration I felt on Saturday!)


Wonderful News Report

Hello! I wanted to share with you a recent news report about my friend Jamie. She had her transplant on December 10, 2007 (exactly one year before mine) and is the person who kept me motivated during the days right after my own transplant. Having seen Jamie and how well she was doing post-transplant kept my hope alive that I too would be healthy and happy in my new life. What a true miracle organ donation is!

http://www.localnews8.com/global/video/popup/pop_playerLaunch.asp?vt1=v&clipFormat=flv&clipId1=4233766&at1=News&h1=Double%20Lung%20Transplant%20Recipient%20Looks%20to%20Future&flvUri=&thirdpartymrssurl=

My love to you all! Nancy

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pumpkinville

Last year in Pumpkinville...


This year in Pumpkinville...




















What a HUGE difference a year makes. We had a wonderful visit to Pumpkinville this past Sunday. It was much easier without a wheelchair and I enjoyed walking through the shops and exploring the corn maze with Scott and Hannah, though it was MUDDY! I can't sing God's praises loud enough for the new life he has given me!

My love to you all! Nancy

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Christmas in October



This is the scene we have woken up to the last two mornings, beautiful, but WAY TOO EARLY!!!


I have been extremely busy this week. I will be speaking for a lady's group next Friday and I have been trying to prepare. The transplant video is part of that presentation. It has been almost three years since I have been in front of a group of people and spoken, so I am quite nervous. Please say some prayers that I will find the peace and appropriate words to share my story.


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Love you! Nancy

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Thank you!

I wanted to thank those of you who have taken the time to vote for me at wellsphere. I received an e-mail today from the director of the site, Geoffrey W. Rutledge MD, PhD, and some of your comments were highlighted:

The People's HealthBlogger Awards Competition is off to a great start, with many dozens of participants receiving votes and many encouraging, uplifting, and insightful comments from their readers. It is both remarkable and heart-warming to read what the voters say about you! Here is a tiny selection from the comments left by voters for participants in the competition:

Re: Nancy, http://nancymatthews.blogspot.com/

- Nancy has been an inspiration to me and so many others. Her honesty and dedicaton to her blog is amazing. Go Nancy

- Nancy should win for having the most inspiring health blogger! … She is truly a miracle and so are the words, thoughts and feelings she shares in her blog.


My blog is currently in 5th place. Please, if you would, click on the vote for me link to the right and take a moment to vote for my blog. I would REALLY appreciate it!

Thank you all so much! Nancy

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Rivers

Have any of you seen the new drama on CBS? I wish I could say, "Oh you HAVE to watch it!" but unfortunately, that is not how I feel. We watched the first episode last Sunday and then gave it a chance again this Sunday and I am SO disappointed!

The drama takes place at Three Rivers Regional Hospital (fictional) in Pittsburgh and revolves around transplants. Sounds great, right? I couldn't wait to watch it. Unfortunately, the acting was atrocious, the hospital was more like science fiction than reality, and the patients were WAY TOO HEALTHY!!!!

This past Sunday a young girl had a lung transplant. One of the last scenes was the mother of the donor coming to visit her at the hospital right after her transplant. That just does not happen, I have yet to even hear from my donor's family and may never.

I could go on and on about the discrepancies between reality and this show, but I won't. I just wanted to make you aware that the transplant process is not accurately portrayed in this program. I think anyone who has undergone a transplant would agree with me and I am sure if my doctors or transplant coordinators took the time to watch they were either laughing hysterically or furious.

I am glad that transplant and organ donation is getting some prime time coverage, I just wish it was in a less cheesy and more realistic way.

On a side note, I got to actually speak to Cammi on the phone today. It was great to talk to her. She was released from the hospital yesterday. The next few months will be tough, making the adjustment to home living, dealing with the emotions caused by the medication, and learning to live again. Please continue to keep her in your prayers!



Love you! Nancy

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beautiful Fall Colors

This weekend was absolutely beautiful! The fall colors here are almost at peak and our drive to Buffalo yesterday for Hannah's dance class was spectacular. I wanted to share the views from around our house.








What a wondrous world God has given us! Love you! Nancy

Friday, October 9, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Wonderful Birthday!

A big THANK YOU to everyone who wrote in, called, and sent Birthday wishes my way. I had a fabulous day! My mother-in-law treated my-sister-in-law Leslie and I to lunch as a dual Birthday celebration. We even got sung to and brought out ice cream with candles in it.


I received lots of wonderful and thoughtful gifts. I will share more about that in a later post.


My family took me out to the Chef's Bistro for dinner which was delicious and relaxing. No cooking for me on my Birthday!






All in all, it was a wonderful celebration of life. My family is so aware and appreciative of the fact that this Birthday may not have ever come. We are all so grateful for the blessings we have been given and the opportunity to continue to celebrate our lives together.
All my love! Nancy



Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some Special Happy Birthday Wishes!

Hannah gave me a big surprise when she played Happy Birthday to me on her flute!

video

My niece and nephew sang to me at their house, aren't they cute?

video

I survived to 35!

What an incredible day today is. There have been many times in my life that I never dreamed I would make it to 35, let alone be HEALTHY at 35. What a true blessing! Happy Birthday to ME!

In this first year post-transplant, I can't help but continually reflect on what things were like just a year ago. Last October I celebrated with great joy, knowing that it might be the last Birthday I would get to celebrate. Yet, we should all celebrate our birthdays that way. We have been given a precious gift, life, and we should be rejoicing in that gift!

For those of you who weren't following my journey at this time last year, here is a visual reminder...

God blessed me on my Birthday last year and allowed me to have the appetite to eat a full meal and enjoy it. At that time I was nauseated most of the time and had little to no appetite. I was forcing food down to survive and, of course, feeding myself through a feeding tube at night.

Food tastes so good to me now that I actually have to monitor my eating. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to enjoy food again.

I also was blessed with a little energy that day. Most family parties we attended last year would end with me in someone's guest room sleeping. I was so tired all of the time and rarely enjoyed family gatherings because it took so much out of me.

I have been given the opportunity to truly appreciate life again. I would encourage you to do the same. You don't have to go through the things that I did to find a new perspective and rejoice in the good that life has to offer you.

Please celebrate with me today, this is a victory for us all, your prayers were instrumental in making this possible and I will be forever grateful!

My love to you all! Nancy

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wellsphere.com Contest

Hello!

A few weeks ago I was invited to be a featured blogger on a health related website called Wellsphere. I was quite honored that they would want to include my blog on their site.

They are having a competition.

People's Health Blogger Awards Competition is LIVE!

We’re excited to announce that Wellsphere’s 2nd Annual People’s Health Blogger Awards competition is now underway! You can be chosen by your readers to be the world’s #1 Health Blogger!! With this competition, we’re letting your readers vote for their favorite health bloggers to tell the world who they think are the best health bloggers online. There will be awards for the overall winners, the Bloggers Choice winner, and for the winners of the Top 100 People’s Health Blogger Award. This is your chance to be recognized by the people that matter most – your readers!

If you believe I should win this contest, please take a moment to vote for me. I would really appreciate it!




Monday, October 5, 2009

What a lovely sight!


This is the first picture of Cammi that has been posted since her transplant. Doesn't she look amazing! It brings me such joy to see her with her two beautiful children knowing the amazing things she will be able to do with them in a few months time.


Things continue to go well. Cammi has been walking up and down stairs, is down to 1 liter of oxygen, got rid of her feeding tube, and will hopefully be ready to lose the trach. soon too. Keep up your wonderfully powerful prayers!


Love you! Nancy

A Great Birthday Party!

I can't even begin to tell you what a wonderful evening I had Saturday. It was a true celebration of not only my Birthday, but the wonderful friendships that have gotten me through the last few years. It was my way to honor and thank my friends. Unfortunately, not all of my friends could be there, but I sure was thinking of all of you!


This is the second cake I made in honor of my sister-in-law Leslie whose Birthday was Sunday. She loves chocolate and this cake was a real hit!


We laughed and ate...


and laughed some more..



Party favors (inspired by Cammi who always makes the best looking party favors!)






Hannah and Scott went on a dinner date so that us girls could have the house to ourselves.

Though my actual Birthday isn't until Wednesday, this was a great way to start the celebrating a little early. As far as I'm concerned, the fact that I am here today, ready to turn 35, and am HEALTHY, is SO worth celebrating!!!!!



My love to you all! Nancy

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Birthday Party

Hello!

I am busy preparing for my Birthday party. Yes, I decided to have one, but it isn't going to be the HUGE party I originally dreamed up, Scott convinced me that would be too much work for me and wouldn't allow me enough time to visit with everyone, so I am just having a few girlfriends over for a slumber-not party. I can't wait to pamper my friends with some yummy food, great conversation, and a relaxing movie. I can't wait!

I just finished ONE of the cakes, I thought I'd let you see it. I was very pleased with how it turned out. This one is a carrot cake (check my cooking blog in the next few days for a recipe if you're interested).


I'll most more pictures after the party. My love to you all! Nancy

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Our prayers were answered!

You already know how I feel about the power of prayer and I want to thank you all so much for keeping my dear friend Cammi in your prayers. She had her diaphragm study Tuesday morning and here are the results from her husband, Lance:


Cammi had her diaphragm study done this morning. They did a nerve conduction study on her right and left phrenic nerves. The phrenic nerve is the nerve responsible for producing contractions of the diaphragm. The study showed that both of Cammi's phrenic nerves are functioning properly!

This was definitely a welcome surprise, because there was some concern that one or both of them may have been damaged during the surgery.

So what does this mean? Well, we still need to talk with Dr. Pilewski to get a final take on the results, but it seems to mean that Cammi's diaphragm should be able to continue to strengthen to give her the breathing support that she needs.


Cammi has also been moved to a room on the transplant floor, out of ICU, hooray! She is doing well there, is walking, and is only using 2 liters of oxygen (down from 5 pre-transplant). Now we need to pray that she will get strong enough to go home.

You all are amazing, and our God is so generous and loving! We have gone to God believing that He can heal and humbly asking if He would be willing. With thankful hearts we accept His answer of YES and praise the glory of His name!

All my love! Nancy

The Miracle of Transplantation

Pause the music player before watching.