Well, this is it, May 14, 2010. It's officially my last day of being 41 years old. I always thought I'd feel strange about moving into my "40's", but you know, I can say with confidence that the last few years of my life have really been the best of all. No, I am not at my ideal weight and I don't look fabulous in a bikini (especially now...did you know my belly button is currently crooked because of my surgery??!), I don't have a sizeable nest egg for retirement, and I still drive an 11 year old mini-van I've fondly named the "Pimp-mo-van", but I have learned a lot about myself in recent years.
First, I've discovered how strong I can be when faced with adverse life circumstances (and trust me, it's been more than just this transplant that we've had to deal with in the last few years). I've come to believe that I really am a good teacher, despite the negative self talk inside my head telling me that I'm just a really good "faker" (Is it just me, or does every teacher feel that way at some point in their career?). Despite all we've been through the last few years as a family, I've come to accept that I've done the very best that I can as a parent to teach the boys right from wrong, to work hard in school, to take them to church faithfully, and to support and love them unconditionally. I have also learned to accept that as the kids got older, I did not ultimately make their life choices for them...they did...and they must accept responsibility for those choices, not me. In addition, with many thanks to my mom, I have learned that I am capable of "tough love" and setting boundaries that I can stick to. I also have discovered most recently that I am capable of doing things that scare me to the core. Prior to donating my liver to Cayden, I have never been more afraid in my life. Fear of the unknown, fear of dying, fear of unbearable pain. I faced that fear, did something amazing for a stepson whom I love so much, and came out on the other side filled with a wonderful sense of purpose and peace.
Yeah, this almost 42 year old body is bouncing back slowly to say the least. Every day I have to give myself a Lovanox shot. It's a blood thinner. There's nothing worse than giving yourself a shot. I would say about every third day I have a yucky reaction to the shot, the last being a softball size bruise on my leg. Yes, they told me in the hospital that I can give the injection to myself in the stomach...no thanks, I'll stick with alternating legs. I'm supposed to get up, walk, move around, but of course, everytime I do, all the fluid makes a beeline for my ankles and feet. it's hideous. I'm told by the doctors to be "patient" it will exit my body soon. Tell that to my feet and ankles! And then there's my acid reflux. Yes, I was diagnosed with acid reflux quite a few years ago, but with meds, it was never a problem. I can't seem to take a nap or go to sleep at night (even with my head raised) without waking up to a nasty taste in my mouth, a burning stomach, and a ridiculously yellow tongue. Oh please, how long will all of this take to rectify itself? My brother-in-law Paul put things into a little better perspective for me this evening. He said, you were operating with 40% of your liver, and it's still growing back. Your liver is trying to do the work that 100% of your liver was doing before. Ahhh, is that it? Well, if that's the case, I can't wait for 4 weeks from now when I finally have 100% of my liver back!! :)
So tonight I say, farewell 41st year of my life. You were an interesting year, one which I will never forget. I wonder what amazing things the 42nd year has in store for me???