Friday, August 17, 2018

Health update

A break from the New York posts (trying to catch up on that!) to share a quick update.

On Wednesday I had a lung check-up (and all that goes with the lungs/transplant obviously). I could not have asked for a better day. When I had my bloods done it was almost painless, I was basically the only person at radiology so had my x-ray taken immediately. I bumped into all my favourite Drs/ medical people and they were all full of compliments about how fit and healthy I look. The transplant surgeon (one of the Drs I bumped into) even showed me off to one of his colleagues.

My lung function was up there with my best performance by these lungies. My kidney function was fine (not perfect, but not bad). Other bloods were fine. There was literally nothing that was an issue. X-ray looked completely normal. Lungs sound perfect. To say I’m happy doesn’t even begin to describe how elated and blessed I feel. I have been so lucky, and am so grateful. 

A year ago this time I was terribly sick with a cold/ low lung function combo. I needed a wheelchair at the hospital, because I couln’t walk at all due to shortness of breath, and my portable O2 on 5 litres wasn’t enough to sustain that amount of exercise for a short distance. It was horrible. I kept on thinking that if the dry run for lungs wasn’t a dry run I wouldn’t have been in that situation. While I was admitted someone else received their lungs, and I remember wishing that it was me, even though being that sick is not a good way to start off a transplant. I was feeling desperate and anxious. 

Fast forward a year... I have provisionally qualified for the 2019 World Transplant Games in squash, I have just spent 2 weeks in New York walking up flights of stairs from the subways to the streets, walking up to 25,000 steps on a few days, breathing easily in crazy humidity, having the energy of an energizer bunny (or so it feels), going on crazy rides at Coney Island and screaming my lungs out. I’ve done snorkelling in Mauritius, we’ve hiked at Storms River, doing up to 100 flights of stairs the one day. My body is feeling alive again, for the first time jn a few years.

With all this also comes a little bit of fear... how long will this last? Surely it can’t last “forever”? Will these lungs reject as well? Luckily I take an amazing tablet for anxiety, so I don’t dwell on this for too long, but I’m definitely feeling so good that it scares me!! The past 9 months have been nothing but a miracle, and I think of this new donor every day. There is a special place in heaven for organ donors.... of that I’m sure.

Monday, August 13, 2018

9/11 memorial, MoMA

It's 4:52am and I've been awake since midnight, after sleeping for 2 hours! Yesterday we totally overslept and only woke up at noon! Hello Jetlag! Before my day starts (participating in a Organ Donation Hospital Drive in Potchefstroom today), I thought I'd quickly do another blog post, in my attempt to catch up with the NY trip!

The 9/11 memorial and museum is absolutely amazing. Apart from the museum being brilliantly set out, and the memorial pools and new buildings being awesome, it is just so striking. Having been on the other side of the world when it happened, you cannot imagine the devastation and extremely long term impact this has had on the city. Apart from the lives that were lost on the actual day, it has affected the health of so many others who were nearby since then, it crippled an important part of the city for many years, which only seems to be recovering now, 17 years later. This is definitely a "must-see" if you're ever in New York City. This was followed by the most yummy lunch at a really cool old-school dinner!

On the Thursday we did the Museum of Modern Art, and had supper with a very old friend from school, James, who also happened to be in New York at the same time! I had scallops (as a starter) for the first time in my life... yum!!

I'm very very far from being an art expert. I can appreciate beautiful art though I think. MoMA was thoroughly enjoyable, and seeing some "famous" pieces in real life was super cool.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

First few days in Manhattan

On Monday we started the week off with a Hop on Hop Off Buss tour. We did the Downtown part of the tour, had lunch at Hard Rock Cafe, and realised I had lost our tickets. They couldn't reprint our tickets so we never did the uptown portion :-( We decided to do the Empire State Building instead. It was pretty great! Love the architecture of the building. Afterwards we got some Starbucks and took a look at Central Park!

Tuesday morning we had our first NY bagels for breakfast! Had mine with smoked salmon and cream cheese.... absolutely yummy and they are NOT shy with the salmon or cream cheese! Afterwards we headed for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Some breathtaking views from and to the statue! The previous day on the bus, the tour guide told us how to get free tickets for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah... seeing as we're South African he thought we might want to go! Well we tried our luck and it worked! We got super lucky, there must have been some sort of cancellation, and we got tickets! It was super exciting to be part of the studio audience and see how these things are filmed. It was also very surreal to see Trevor as such a celebrity, when we still remember seeing his shows in Joburg not so long ago when he was still only a local star! Tuesday the 31st also marked 9 months with the new new lungs... what a privilege to be able to celebrate here!