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


Monday, January 31, 2011

A Pittsburgh Update

Hello!  I have to tell you, I think your powerful prayers did the trick again.  I had a good trip to Pittsburgh.  My pulmonary function tests had improved from my last two visits and the bronchoscopy went well without the need to place a stent in my right lung.  According to the doctor my lungs were clearer than they ever have been before which is great news.  I am still waiting to hear if the cultures grew anything, but I am very hopeful that I will get a clean bill of health, praise the Lord!

Thank you all so much for your continued support and prayers!  Nancy

Urgent Prayers Needed!

Okay, prayer warriors, I have three urgent prayer requests.

The first is for Whitney, whom I told you about a couple of weeks ago.  She is still on a ventilator and if she does not come off it by Thursday, she will no longer be considered for a lung transplant.  I spoke with her husband last night, and though they are staying positive, this has been a real struggle.  Whitney has 4 and 7 year old sons who she has not seen in weeks.  It is taking a toll on all of them.  Please pray that she can find the strength to get weaned off the ventilator so she can have a chance at new lungs.

The second is for my dear friend Cammi.  She has been dealing with a lot of scary struggles in the last few months.  She is currently in the hospital and they are not sure if her lungs are rejecting or not.  Her pulmonary functions have dropped over 20% in the last two months.  She needs our prayers for a complete healing.

Finally, I recently learned that one of my dear nurse friends from Pittsburgh, Pat's, son has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.  They are in the initial stages of dealing with it and are unsure what the future will hold.  Please pray that God brings them to the right doctors who can help him.  I would also ask that you pray for a full and miraculous healing of his tumor.

God bless you all!  Nancy

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

An Uninterrupted Life

Oh to have the life of a kitten.  Nothing to worry about, food always provided, love when you choose it, solitude when you don't.  Who wouldn't love to have such an uninterrupted and lazy life?

If you own cats, you know the look they give you when they are all cozied down taking a nap and you interrupt them with your caress.  Shortly after this picture was taken, I couldn't help but give Zoey a lovey.  Her expression upon awakening was one of being totally put out.  Like I had ruined her day.

Where am I going with this?  I am wondering if any of you have been interrupted by God lately?  I have had a lot of time to ponder on my pre-transplant life.  It all started with a major interruption.  My rapid health decline sent my comfortable life into a tailspin.  The job I had felt called to do was suddenly not possible to continue.  The pain and stress of illness was consuming.  God was asking me to travel down a bumpy road, one that I did NOT want to steer onto.

I had two choices at this time, I could submit to God's will for my life, or I could fight Him.  I don't think I need to tell you this, but fighting God is a losing battle.

When I chose to yield to God's will, miracles began to happen in my life.  God equipped me with the emotional tools I would need to maneuver down this rocky road.  He gave me the strength and courage to handle the challenge; and through this difficulty I received the greatest gift of all, His strength, comfort, encouragement, and love.

If you are facing a Godly interruption, try to remember that when He places an abnormal calling on your life (for me it has been medical suffering), it is because He has abnormal results He wants to produce through you.  I can only imagine the way God has used my story in the lives of others, but I look forward to the day when He will show me the incredibly abnormal things he did thanks to my abnormal calling.

May God bless you with the resources you need to travel down the detours he has set on your path.  Trust Him and yield to His call.

We head to Pittsburgh tomorrow for appointments and a Bronch.  Please pray that all goes well.  Thank you all so much!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Date Night

Hello friends!  I have to share with you the wonderful night Hannah and I had.  Scott is out of town for business, so it was just us girls.  A few months ago I purchased a book by Dannah Gresh called "8 Great Dates for You and Your Daughter".  I have been wanting to get started and with Scott away it seemed like the perfect time.

I chose date #2: "Real Physical Beauty" with the challenge activity being a facial or manicure.  The key verse for this date was Song of Songs 6:8-9  "Sixty queens there may be and eighty concubines, and virgins beyond number; but my dove, my perfect one is unique."  The goal of the evening was to help Hannah see that real physical beauty is the set of unique qualities that only she has.

The suggested setting for this date was a full service spa, but since I couldn't afford such a luxury, I created a spa at home.  I spent the day sprucing up my bedroom and bathroom, giving it a spa feel with low lighting, candles, and sweet smells.  I also got out our best fluffy guest towels to make it really special.

We started our date by cooking dinner together, making something new that we would both like:  Apple Cinnamon Crepes.

When dinner was finished, I headed upstairs to run a tub full of warm bubbly water and to set up our mood lighting.  Everything looked and smelled wonderful, it definitely had spa appeal!

Before we got in the tub to soak, we cleansed our faces and applied masks to each other.  The idea was to let the masks harden while we were relaxing in the tub.

We got a kick out of our green faces!

While in the tub, I gave Hannah a foot rub with some mint foot scrub.  She loved it!  It was a nice quiet time to talk, laugh, and just be together.

When our faces were hard, we decided to get out.  Hannah had fun making faces.

I finished the night by rubbing her feet with mint foot lotion and we each gave each other a pedicure.

The whole date lasted about two hours and didn't involve TV or a movie.  It was a wonderful bonding time where we could discuss each of our uniqueness that makes us beautiful.

Before bed I asked Hannah to rate our date on a scale of 1 - 10, she gave it an 11!  I would have to agree, it was a wonderful and fun evening!  I can't wait for our next date!

Parents, make sure you are planning activities from time to time that avoid distractions and give you and your child a chance to really concentrate on each other.  It will be SO worth it!

God bless you all!  Nancy

If you are interested in ordering Dannah's book, here is the amazon link:

Saturday, January 15, 2011

9 Year Old Shooting Victim's Organs Help Save Child

Christina-Taylor Green, the 9-year-old girl killed in Saturday's shootings in Tucson, donated her organs.

She was one of six people killed in the shooting that targeted U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords outside a Safeway store northwest of Tucson. Giffords remains in critical condition.

More than 1,700 people packed St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, tucked into the foothills of the Santa Catalina Mountains, for Christina-Taylor's funeral Thursday afternoon. The congregation included Mark Kelly, the husband of Giffords; senators John McCain and Jon Kyl, and baseball greats like Ryne Sandberg and Pat Gillick. Her father, John, is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Most Rev. Gerald Kicanas, Bishop of Tucson told the crowd that Christina-Taylor's organs were donated.

And a friend helping the Green family said they received a call yesterday from the organ donation network, telling them that Christina-Taylor's donation had already saved the life of a child on the East Coast.

The little girl loved ballet, gymnastics and baseball, the only girl on her team.

Christina-Taylor was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and liked to think of herself as something good that came into the world that awful day.

Mourners entered her funeral beneath a billowing tribute: the National 9/11 flag, a 45-pound patchwork of tattered fabric rescued from the collapse of the Twin Towers. The 20-by-30-foot banner soared over the sidewalk between the outstretched ladders of two fire engines, and was hand-carried by a New York firefighter to Tucson to honor Christina-Taylor and her ideals.

Read more:

God bless this dear angel's parents for thinking of others in their time of loss.  What a noble choice to donate her organs.  Please pray for them to find a sense of peace in their mourning, knowing their little girl is with God now!

Friday, January 14, 2011

I Need Some Prayer Warriors

Dear friends, I come to you once again with a prayers request.  I just learned today that one of my dear new pre-transplant friends, Whitney, went into respiratory failure last weekend and is now in ICU on a ventilator.  Whitney is in the process of being listed for transplant, but lacks one final test.  This final test cannot be done while she is on a ventilator.

As I write, Whitney is in surgery having her Gall Bladder removed.  The doctors think that removing it may help with the respiratory issues she is currently facing.

Whitney is the mother of two young boys and she needs our prayers.  Please keep her in your heart and ask God to bring her healing so she can be listed for transplant.  Thank you all so much!  Nancy

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A truthful confession

As many of you know, who have followed my blog, it has become more that a transplant journey, it is a life journey with many lessons learned along the way.  I try to truthfully share lessons that I've learned to help others on their own life journey.  I have to share with you a recent situation that I think any of you who are parents can relate to.

Friday afternoon Hannah had two friends over to spend the night.  When they got home from school they were an emotional mess.  It turned out they had been called to the counseling office because another girl had accused them of being a "posse" and being mean to her.  This other girl has a history of drama and the girls adamantly denied having done the things she said.  The more I heard, the angrier I became.  I know this group of kids (two boys were also a part of the "posse") and they are good children, not the types that ever bully others.  Most of them have never been in trouble before.  Well, my mommy instinct kicked in and I was in defensive mode.  To the phone I went and called the school then some of the other parents.  All the while I was fuming at this little girl who was known for making up things to get attention.

To make a long story short, Scott and I did meet with the school officials on Monday and had the situation resolved.  The children were not held responsible, but the school explained that they have to look into any complaints of harassment or clique behavior (which makes prefect sense!).

So, what does this story have to do with anything?  Well, I have had several days to ponder on what happened and to realize that my reaction was terribly wrong and modeled the incorrect way to handle the situation for the girls.  What do I mean?  Of course I was right to contact the school and get more info.  That isn't the behavior I mean.  What I mean is the anger I felt.  Was this little girl looking to hurt these children, or was she crying out for attention?  Is the solution to shun her, stay away from her, and treat her like an enemy; or should the children reach out to her, trying to ease her obviously low sense of self-esteem.  What would Jesus do in this exact same situation?

Anger causes us to be irrational and not view all sides of a situation.  The little girl in question is facing some pretty serious medical concerns. I am sure she is scared and feels out of control.  Perhaps she is looking for ways to take control of something, whether in a positive or negative way.  She is crying out for attention and rather than condemning her, I need to reinforce loving her and praying for her.

Trust me, that is exactly the message I intend to share with these girls.  They need to know that anger is never productive and I need to apologize for reacting the way I did.

If you are a parent of a girl or girls who are in the tween or teen years, I would like to refer you to two great resources that  I have found.  The first is for parents with girls between the ages of 8 and 12.  It is "Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl" by Dannah Gresh.  I loved her suggestions and she really hit the nail on the head of many of the issues tween girls are dealing with.

The second book was loaned to me by the counselor at Hannah's school.  It is called "Girl Wars: 12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying", by Cheryl Dellasega and Charisse Nixon.  As parents we have to take an active role in modeling positive behavior for our children and letting them know when we mess up.  Don't just blow things off as girls will be girls.

Thank you for letting me share this lesson, I hope it will help some of you who are struggling with the same issues. God bless you all! Nancy


Monday, January 10, 2011

It is time to put away Christmas, or is it?

Does anyone else get the post-Christmas blues?  Taking down Christmas is a miserable job that is not only depressing, but also very time consuming.  Why is it that the three days of decorating before Christmas fly by, yet the three days of un-decorating drag on like a dentist appointment?

I guess what we have to remember is that Christmas is alive in us all year long.  We don't need a tree to remind us of the beautiful gift our God gave us through His son, Jesus.  May you continue to bless the people you see with a Christmas smile and greeting (Hello will suffice).  Celebrate Jesus all year long by living the way He modeled for us, becoming servants for each other, praying for others, and being a good family member or friend.

May God bless you all with a continuing spirit of Christmas that brightens your smile and lightens your step!  Nancy

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Happy New Year!

Well, as you can tell by my lack of posts, we had a very busy and WONDERFUL Christmas!  There is nothing quite like having time to spend with those you love the most!  We had a wonderful visit with my parents that included snow tubing, a sleigh ride, and two special celebrations, one for my father's 66th Birthday and the other for my parents' 38th Wedding Anniversary.  Unfortunately, as usual, most of the pictures are on Scott's phone, so I'll post them when I can, but here are some pics from Christmas Eve at my sister-in-law's house.

The children opened their family gifts.  The adults chose to adopt a family instead of giving gifts to each other.

A new Willowtree for our growing collection.

Daddy couldn't wait to rip right into this gift!

Hannah and I received an awesome Mother/Daughter Devotional.

 We had a great evening hanging out together and then attended a Christmas Service at the Baptist Church where our Aunt Lindsay is a member of the Bell Choir.

Perhaps the highlight of the last two weeks, however, came on New Year's Day.  Scott, Hannah, and I traveled to Pittsburgh for an Irish Dance Competition.  This was Hannah's first time competing as a Novice and we were all nervous about how she would do.

She did amazingly well.  She received a 2nd in the Reel, 3rd in the Jig, and 4th in the Horn Pipe and we had one score left to be posted, the Treble Jig.  Finally, the scores were placed on the board:

Results for Novice Girls U12 Treble Jig

395Hannah Matthews - Rince Na Tiarna1100.00
257Coyle Pennsylvania275.00
111Rhythm of Ireland, Virginia365.00
169Tir na Nog School of Irish Dancing, PA458.00
537Burke Ohio458.00
278Bell Pittsburgh550.00
285Murphy Irish Arts Center Ohio550.00
557Heavey Massachusetts550.00
499O'Hare Akron645.00
467Bell Pittsburgh742.00
572Bell Pittsburgh742.00
357Hurley School of Irish Dance - MD839.00
151Rince Na Tiarna937.50
322Aoibhneas an Rince, Virginia937.50
317Boyle School of Irish Dancing1036.00
553Burke Ohio1134.50
592Murphy Irish Arts Center Ohio1134.50

Hannah was the first to see the score and she turned around, looked at me and burst into tears.
I can't begin to describe to you the feeling in my heart.  This was the first time I had seen her truly react to a Feis Score.  She worked so hard and NEVER expected to get a 1st.  I was SO PROUD!!!

What a great way to start the New Year!  God bless you all!  Nancy

The Miracle of Transplantation

Pause the music player before watching.