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


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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Appointment and Bronch.

Hello!  I know many of you are waiting to hear results from my bronchoscopy.  I don't have any yet, maybe I will know something tomorrow, but hopefully by Friday for sure.

My appointments on Monday went well.  My Pulmonary Function Tests were back up to an FEV1 of 100%, so that is a good sign.  The doctor did hear some gunk in my right lung, so we will have to see if that is an infection, please pray it is not.

Yesterday's bronch was much better than the last one.  Though I feel tired and sore today, I have no excess swelling anywhere, thank you God!  I woke up easily this time and was out of the hospital by 10:00 a.m., I arrived at 5:30 a.m.

We stayed in a hotel that was two blocks from the hospital, so Hannah and Scott stayed at the hotel on Monday while I went to my appointments and I walked over at 5:30 on Tuesday, Hannah and Scott didn't arrive until after 8:00.  All in all, it worked out great!

I will let you know as soon as I receive results!  Thank you all for your prayers and care!  Love, Nancy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

West Virginia Feis

Hannah's First Feis (Irish Dance Competition) went very well. I was super nervous, but she took everything in stride. In her first dance, her group was the first to dance and she was in the first pair to dance. Needless to say, she didn't have any idea what she was doing, so though she danced well, she left the stage too early and didn't bow to the judge, so, she didn't medal in that dance.

She learned quickly, however, and went on to get a 2nd in the Light Jig, a 1st in the Single Jig, and a 2nd in the Slip Jig. She was so excited and pleased, and we were so proud of her. She should be able to move up to the Novice level in these three dances for the next competition, hooray!

Fun times, curling the hair the night before.

On our way to the feis
Just arrived, maybe a little nervous?
Hannah remembered to smile the whole time!
Hannah performing the Light Jig (2nd place)
Waiting to Dance
Before the Slip Jig (2nd place)
Look at those Medals, Good job Hannah!

Here is some video footage of Hannah doing the Single Jig (1st place)
video

Thursday, March 25, 2010

To Pittsburgh Tomorrow

Tomorrow afternoon we will be heading to Pittsburgh until Tuesday.  Please say some prayers that Hannah's first Irish Dance competition on Saturday will go well.  On Monday I will be seeing Dr. Pilewski and on Tuesday I have a bronchoscopy.  This bronch. will let us know if the rejection has stopped.  Please, please say extra prayers that this bronch will come back showing no rejection or infection.

I will let you all know how things went when we return home on Wednesday.

Until then, God bless you all and have a wonderful weekend!  Nancy

Great Workout!

Hi!  As most of you know, as a transplant patient, I have to exercise every day.  I have tried many different forms of exercise from walking to DVDs, but I recently discovered something new that I'd like to share with you.  I don't know if you're like me, but I get bored doing the same workout every day, so I have been looking for something that will give me a good workout, but will also provide variation.

We have a Wii, so I started by using our Wii Fit, but was very disappointed with it.  Though I enjoyed the exercises, they did not provide a good workout.  I was at Walmart a couple of weeks ago and noticed that the Biggest Loser had a Wii fitness game.  I was nervous, but decided to buy it.

It is really good.  They have lots of different excercises to mix things up, you choose how long you want to participate and it plans an exercise schedule for you, you can choose your fitness level, and it gives you the option to customize your own workouts.  I have been using it for two weeks now and I am very satisfied.  I come away from each session sore, but feeling good.  If you are looking for a new way to exercise that provides feedback and reinforcement, I would highly recommend you check this out.

If you have any other great exercise routines or suggestions that you can recommend, I would love to hear about them!

Happy Exercising!  Nancy

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Best is Yet to Come

In my Bible study this week we were talking about the fear of death. I think it is so unfortunate that so many of us fear death. I know that I did at first, but the sicker I got and the closer I moved to death, my fear turned to anticipation. My belief in God assured me that I was going to a better place and I had nothing to fear.

My Aunt Jo Beth sent me this story and I had to share it, because it touches on the message I shared in Bible Study this week: Do not fear, the best is yet to come!

There was a young woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given three months to live.. So as she was getting her things "in order," she contacted her Pastor and had him come to her house to discuss certain aspects of her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order and the Pastor was preparing to leave when the young woman suddenly remembered something very important to her...

"There's one more thing," she said excitedly.

"What's that?" came the Pastor's reply.

"This is very important," the young woman continued.. "I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand."

The Pastor stood looking at the young woman, not knowing quite what to say.

That surprises you, doesn't it?" the young woman asked..

"Well, to be honest, I'm puzzled by the request," said the Pastor.

The young woman explained. "My grandmother once told me this story, and from that time on I have always tried to pass along its message to those I love and those who are in need of encouragement. In all my years of attending socials and dinners, I always remember that when the dishes of the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, 'Keep your fork.' It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming....like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. Something wonderful, and with substance!'

So, I just want people to see me there in that casket with a fork in my hand and I want them to wonder "What's with the fork?" Then I want you to tell them: "Keep your fork, the best is yet to come."

The Pastor's eyes welled up with tears of joy as he hugged the young woman good-bye. He knew this would be one of the last times he would see her before her death. But he also knew that the young woman had a better grasp of heaven than he did. She had a better grasp of what heaven would be like than many people twice her age, with twice as much experience and knowledge. She KNEW that something better was coming.

At the funeral people were walking by the young woman's casket and they saw the cloak she was wearing and the fork placed in her right hand. Over and over, the Pastor heard the question, "What's with the fork?" And over and over he smiled..

During his message, the Pastor told the people of the conversation he had with the young woman shortly before she died. He also told them about the fork and about what it symbolized to her. He told the people how he could not stop thinking about the fork and told them that they probably would not be able to stop thinking about it either.

He was right. So the next time you reach down for your fork let it remind you, ever so gently, that the best is yet to come.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Hannah and LydiaGail, Leslie, and Me

Olean Area Irish Dancers





At the Buffalo Parade
video

The Ending: Olean Area Irish Dancers


video


Miss Brown's Fancy

video

The Dance Off

> video

Hannah danced in 6 shows yesterday, I am not sure how she was able to walk this morning. What a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Buffalo Parades

Saturday, The Valley Parade





Sunday, The Downtown Buffalo Parade








Hannah's Olean friends, Amber, Becca, and Mary
Wish you all could have been there!


Happy St. Patrick's Day tomorrow! We'll be travelling all over the area to different performances. Look for pictures in the near future!

Monday, March 15, 2010

St. Patrick's Day Fun?


We spent the weekend in Buffalo celebrating St. Patrick's Day with Hannah's dance school, Rince Na Tiarna. Hannah danced in 2 parades, the Valley Parade on Saturday and the Buffalo Parade on Sunday. The picture above was in the Buffalo News and you can see how wet and miserable Saturday's parade was. The girls were frozen. I ended up taking my Rince Na Tiarna sweatshirt off and putting it on Hannah over her costume.

Scott and I marched with the parent's group in Saturday's parade, but it really took a lot out of me. It was a long parade and when we got to the end we had to hike back to the car. I never thought I would warm up again.

We spent the night in Buffalo and our hotel was only two blocks from the start of Sunday's parade, so we had a leisurely morning. Saturday night we bought every hand and body warmer known to man so that we would be warmer on Sunday.

Sunday's parade was incredible! Hannah's school had two floats and at least 50 dancers. Scott walked with the girls, he was chosen to be security, and I drove the car to the end to meet them. Both Hannah and Scott really enjoyed this parade and since there was no rain, stayed warm and dry.

After the parade one of the families who owns a restaurant by the end point hosted a party for the girls and their families with cookies and cocoa. That was a nice way to end things.

We were all exhausted when we got home last night and Hannah didn't feel well enough to go to school today, but it certainly was an experience we will never forget.

The camera is in Scott's car, so I will share our pictures in a later post.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More about the Weekend


Finally I have a chance to tell you about the rest of our weekend. As you all know, Hannah is an Irish Dancer. This year she has been attending classes here in Olean and in Buffalo preparing her to be able to compete. Her first competition is coming up in 2 weeks in Pittsburgh and she is working hard to prepare.

For Christmas we bought Hannah tickets to see Riverdance. Sunday was the big day. We travelled to Buffalo Sunday morning for dance class, then headed to Shea's Performing Arts Center downtown for the matinee.

What an incredible experience. Hannah was so excited and amazed to see these professionals doing the thing she loves. Several times she would whisper excitedly, "Mom, that's the step we do in the opening...Mom, that's the beginning of the Treble jig...etc." Watching her just lit up my heart. She skipped all the way to the car after the show and played happily in the backseat on the way home.

When we got home that night I lay in bed and cried tears of joy. I prayed, "This is what I would have missed, Lord. I wouldn't have seen her face light up when those dancers took to the stage, I wouldn't have felt her joy and enthusiasm, I wouldn't have heard her pleasure all the way home in the car. I wouldn't have been here to encourage her, to support her, to push her on toward her dreams. Thank you for each new opportunity you give me to LIVE!"

May God bless each of you! Nancy

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Wonderful Weekend

Saturday morning, 9:00 a.m. Holiday Valley Ski Resort:

I never thought I would do this again. As we rode up the chair I praised my mighty Father and told Him to just please enjoy this with me! My miracle just keeps growing. Every new thing I try, every old thing I am able to re-accomplish, I praise His mighty name!

This is the miracle of organ donation!
Hello! I am so sorry I have been away so long. After the traumas of the last two weeks, I needed a break. The prednisone has been making me crazy and to try to sit and do anything has been difficult. As of tomorrow I will be back on a normal prednisone dosage, so hopefully my body will get back to normal and I won't feel so stressed.

I am feeling so much better! I hadn't shared with all of you that I have been skiing this winter.
Having grown up in Jackson Hole, skiing was a pure passion of mine all growing up.
The last time I skied was two years before my transplant and I honestly never thought I would ski again. And yet, I have been on the slopes 8 times this season!

Every day brings new blessings. Yes, there are bumps, but that is life. My life has so completely changed. I value everything I am able to do so much and just treasure the moments. I realize I would not have been here doing these things, I would have missed out on so many wonderful moments with my family. I have so much to be thankful for!



I will share more about our weekend when I can access the pictures on Scott's cell phone, but for now just know I am doing well. Your prayers continue to strengthen me and I can get over any hill (or mountain), large or small, knowing you and God are on my side!

All my love! Nancy

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sledding

After the last few days of posts, I felt like we all needed a fun post. 2 weekends ago we had a family sledding party in the woods behind our houses. We had the BEST time, I am sure you will be able to tell from the pictures. It was so incredible for me to be able to do this again. I think, perhaps the best part, however, was that Lydia and Simon, my niece and nephew, wanted to ride down with me more than with anyone else. If you don't think that set my heart on fire, then let me tell you, I felt so treasured and wanted, it was just incredible!!!

Lydia and I starting down, I am already screaming!
Mr. Brave, Jeff going face first.

Hannah built a special snow friend to ride down with.

How cute is Simon?

Aw, the love birds on the sled, look at my sweet sister-in-law and her hubby!

What a heck of a wreck!

Here's my cutie!

The adults needed a chat break.

Lydia and Mommy, with their dog Finnegan right behind.

Simon and Daddy


The long hike up.


Simon and Mommy

The crew, minus the Dads, I think they were taking a beverage break.

Leslie and Finnegan, this did not end well!

My turn with Simon.

Hannah built herself a snow horse to ride.
Back on the hill right behind our house...

Hannah's ready to go. Check out this action sequence.







Scott thought he'd try the jump on his board.

Here goes Lydia!

Check out that air!



I crashed before I ever got to the jump (and I wasn't the least bit disappointed!)

What a GREAT day!

My love to you all! Nancy

The Miracle of Transplantation

Pause the music player before watching.