Keep Breathing, Keep Dreaming

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So… March 6th was my one year lungiversary.  One full year of borrowed breaths from my donor. It feels awkward to think or talk about. I mean the anniversary of my resurrection is the anniversary of my donor’s passing.

I know that’s kind of a sombering thought. But, honestly I’m not being a downer about it. I am elated to still be here. I am so grateful and so happy.

I’ve met several people post transplant that seem so negative and grumpy about their situation. Maybe they thought their transplant would leave them feeling like an over caffeinated teenager, who just stole a kiss from the cutest girl at the roller rank. I don’t know…

Personally, I never feel this way.

The grumpy about my health part that is.

Maybe I’m the weird one.

Okay… I’m totally the weird one, but not because of this.

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All the same I just can’t help but reflect on who gifted me with this past year. Its not that it tampers down my happiness one bit. It just kinda reins in any over the top, “WOO! everything is awesome!” cheerleading vibe.

One of my friends asked if I’d celebrated. And to be honest I really didnt even think to. I spent the day at the hospital. Having my one year check up and bronc with a biopsy.

I may have also delivered some candy and snacks to all the special folks who’ve helped keep me tick’n over the last year. As way of saying thank you.

Yeah, yeah… It’s there jobs. They get paychecks for putting up with the likes of me when I’m there… Whatever.

I’d still give ’em all huuuuge bonuses if I could.

Anyway… moving on.

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Following my short nap and roto-rottering, I got a phone call…

There were sighs of rejection.

Apparently this wasn’t unexpected by the docs. Not that they were banking on it happening either. But, I’m young.

Though the distinguished grey in my gloriously handsome beard seems to say otherwise… er… sorry getting off track.

I’m young… with a healthy immune system that doesn’t want to go down without a fight. Unfortunately that fight, for a transplant patient, includes attacking the new organ

The docs say they’re not worried. That this is just part of the journey. Adjustments get made to how we deal with meds and such… Aaaaaaand we roll with it.

They had me get steroid infusions. (Which amp you way the heck up.) Changed a few other things.

I’m still here.

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Did I think long and hard about rejection? Of course… Then I got back to living as best I can.

Please… Never let what you are going through, define you. Use what you are going though, to shape yourself. You are who you choose to be.

Yes it can be difficult to stay happy, bubbly and up beat all the time when you are faced with a disease like pulmonary fibrosis. Everyone is going to have bad days.

But their long term effect on our attitude… How we treat others… what we choose to do with our thoughts and our time. These are totally up to us.

We can choose to be grumpy and sit around grumbling about test, pokes and prods, infusions, surgeries, rejection and pills. We can treat nurses and doctors as if they’re servants not doing a good enough job.

Or…

We can choose to live a thankful life.

We can appreciate when a worn out nurse at the end of his/her 12 hour shift asks us if we need anything before they head home. We can thank the physical therapist who wont let us quit.

I choose to be grateful for every breath and thankful for every helping hand.

I choose to be grateful and weird. To be an odd ball who travels in a bus to see as much of Gods creation as I can. To hopefully help as many others as possible before he calls me home.

I’m sure this sounds cliché, but I believe it all the same. Not in a Wheaties box kinda way. (Are Wheaties still a thing?) But in all earnestness.

Our situation sets limits on us physically. But not emotionally or spiritually.

Fight… not just for every breath. Not just to survive.

Fight to be and to stay, the best version of you possible.

Alter your dreams if you must but never stop dreaming. Hang onto those desires you have for your future. Keep breathing, keep moving, keep dreaming. Live until your final breath and don’t give up a moment sooner.

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4 thoughts on “Keep Breathing, Keep Dreaming

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  1. Thankful for you and your weirdness. March on through that bout of rejection with that good attitude. I’ll see you soon! Thankful for your donor as well.

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  2. Hello my friend, we missed you preliminary rehab. I enjoyed reading this and it’s so true, one way or another you always hit on the things that are so true and so helpful. Thank you Nick for a really great guy and I’m so blessed to have you in my life. Hope to see you soon my friend.

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  3. Hi, Nicholas,
    I, too, had pulmonary fibrosis. I got a double lung transplant March 4, 2017. I enjoyed seeing a news story on you and your bus at the hospital with the transplant crew this evening on channel 13. I loved seeing all the people who have also helped me so much. They are wonderful, fantastic helps. I am doing quite well all things considered.
    I appreciate your inspiring attitude. I tell folks that I have bonus breaths, bonus blessings, and bonus time. I praise God every day I awake and am surprised that,hey, I guess I have another day. Maybe I will see you at the annual
    transplant reunion banquet in a couple of weeks. God bless you, Greg

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    1. Hi Greg, I’m glad that you are doing well and have been blessed to know our awesome transplant team. I really like the idea of “bonus time.” Sadly, I wont be at the reunion. I totally spaced it after the invite arrived and forgot about it until it was already past the RSVP date.

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