Saturday, December 26, 2015

2015 New Years Resolutions.... the AUDIT

Writing down a New Years resolution on this blog means you have to do your best to keep it, seeing as everyone read it! I did a post about my New Years resolutions here, they were:
  • Travel, more specifically go to California to visit Anna and Casey (depends on health, finances...) 
  • For lung function to remain stable (in 2013 it dropped 32%, in 2014 it dropped 15%, so that's a good trend I guess). Currently at 48% 
  • Enjoying time with old and new friends. We've made a few new friends in 2014 which was probably the highlight of the year. Friends cheer me up, motivate and inspire me, and I love them. 
  • I need to stay motivated for gym, even though I can't do half of what I used to, I still need to GO and stay as fit as possible. It's hard to go to gym when it's such a reminder of the crappy lung function! I feel 100% during all other daily activities but gym brings me right back down to earth and gives me pre-transplant feelings of breathlessness. 
  • Quality time with Chris and rest of family, loving that Chrislie and Pierre have been in Joburg for a year now
So here's how I did....

WE WENT TO CALIFORNIA!!!! It was undoubtedly the highlight of the year and was AMAZING. I would love to go back to the States, and since we have a 10 year visa now we HAVE to! There is a lot more in the San Fran area I would love to see and also need to see New York one day. Hopefully the Rand recovers sometime in the future :-( 

After dropping 32% in 2013 and 15% in 2014 it only dropped 5% in 2015 (was 43% last time I had it checked). Granted it dropped to 38% in May when I had a flu or something, but went back up to 46%. It also dropped to 36% in October when I had the Pseudomonas, but went back up to 44% again. So that's a good trend I guess.

The only new friend from 2014 that I kept in contact with was Elzemike (my crazy work partner in crime). She is crazy and insane and amazing. Lost touch with the people we met at the cell group we went to before it dissolved :-(

Spent some great moments with old friends too, they never fail me, as I realised especially when I spent the 2 weeks in hosp in Oct. You realise who your true friends are, and I knew who mine were before my transplant, but they were all STILL here... LOVE ALL MY FRIENDS and they keep me going

I DID go to gym, but not enough. I've just lacked motivation and time.... BUT I did do both the CF and Organ Donor Zoo Walks. We were also very active in the US, and I did a Vitality Fitness Assessment last week in order to get to Gold status again. I also played squash once.... which I never did in 2014... but I realise that ONCE is lame. All in all I wouldn't say that I'm more unfit than last year this time so I did OK I guess.

Quality time with Chris and my family.... we went away to Moonriver Bush Bungalows and to Dullstroom in Aug which was very nice. Because all of them stay in Joburg now we see them pretty often anyway, and it's always great. Esp when you're in hosp and they bring you stuff!!! Love my family.

In conclusion.... for the most part 2015 was pretty great. Had a few hiccups but I survived them so they didn't matter in the end I think. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger or so they say. Some quotes that I could relate to in 2015...

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas from a very very HOT SA!

SO Merry Christmas! Hope your day was good!! My 8th xmas with the new lungs but feeling pretty un-Christmassy, It was very low-key this year, just us and my mom and dad. I think the fact that work has been unprecedentedly crazy for me is not helping. Deadlines and year-end do not get moved just because it's Christmas :-(  So been working overtime everyday. Yesterday I "only" worked from 5:40am to 13:30, and then got to drive to 5 different shops to get the groceries done for xmas eve and looking everywhere for strawberries. Apparently the whole of JHB was eating strawberries today dammit. A recipe change was called for....

My parents ate here last night, it was very chilled. Had a braai, potato bake and salads, Chris made choc brownies for dessert. Got some AWESOME presents, really some of the best ever. Esp the Le Creuset stuff! Missed Chrislie and Pierre a lot! Used my great-grandmother Ouma Susie's crockery all the way from Jansenville in te Karoo, Very special! Afterwards I did some gardening, propagated a few succulents and we watched Lethal Weapon which is a Christmas movie according to Chris.

This morning we slept late so missed church... then went to parents' house and ate yummy gammon and chicken and salads. And of course myfavourite retro dish, a mustard ring!! . Our fridge is so full now we won't need to make food for days. The day was also quite cooler which was an added benefit.

Also... these mushroom popped up for xmas, growing at a rapid pace!!! See how much they grew in 1 DAY!!!!

Thinking of my donor fam again tonight... their 8th xmas without her :-( Sure it doesn't get easier for them:-( Hope they know how much I think of them xxxxxx

Tomorrow Im attacking the xmas sales at Sandton!!! EEEKKKKKK excited!

P.S It was also my lungaversary on the 22nd!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams Are Made Of..... Johannesburg

For a very long time now I've been wanting to do a Jozi post.... and seeing the below article made me decide to finally do it.

Get Yourself to Johannesbug - The new cool capital of the Southern Hemisphere

My first real experience with Joburg was not a positive one... The altitude made it almost impossible to breathe, the Dr was grumpy, and the only scenery I saw was the drive from the airport to Milpark Hosp. I was not impressed. However I had no other options.... if I wanted a shot at lungs I would have to face all these things again. I couldn't wait for my lungs in Joburg, as I struggled too much with the altitude. I guess I was also never there for long enough to let my body adjust. But breathing felt 10 times harder and I had no friends there, so in the end sea-air and friends won, and I waited in PE for the call, knowing it makes getting The Call for lungs way more stressful, and I might not be able to get there in time if they had lungs for me.

Needless to say, The Call came, I got there in time, got lungs and became friends with the Dr and other staff. The first time I really got to see JHB was on the way home from the hosp after transplant. It was a lot prettier than I expected and I loved it immediately. The afternoon thundershowers of January were fascinating and dramatic. I was told there was a massive one on the night of my surgery as well.

The other amazing thing for me was how many trees there were. It is actually the biggest man-made forest in the world! The Jacaranda's also make for spectacular sights in late October. In PE the trees always looked the same, regardless of the season, but in Jozi every season is clearly visible.... You have the new leaves in Aug, the Jacaranda's in Oct, green trees for the rest of summer, the most stunning shades of orange in March/April, and most trees lose their leaves for winter.

Some interesting JHB facts:

  • JHB is the largest city in the world not situated near a river, lake or coastline.
  • The city was established in 1886 after gold was found.
  • It's the biggest city in South Africa (the greater Johannesburg metropolitan area has a population of over 10 million people)
  • It has an elevation of 1,753 metres (5,751 ft)
  • Sister Cities of Joburg include London and New York.

One of my New Years resolutions will definitely be to explore some new places, esp the CBD areas that have been given a new lease on life. There are many restaurants and coffee shops that I love, but thought I would list my 3 favourite  things to do in the outdoors.

  • Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens
I have made many memories here over the years, the most recent being my 30th birthday. This place makes you feel like you're completely outside the city 

  • Northcliff Hill 

I've always lived pretty close to this landmark, and it's the best spot to eat ice-cream. And it has the BEST views of suburban Joburg.

  • Emmarentia Dam

Also close to where I live, this is where people row, run, do picnics, attend concerts, walk their dogs... Just a general feel-good location!

I got this book from my granddad when he was still alive...

It was published in 1986, so the info is all a bit biased in terms of what we know today, but still very interesting. My granddad was himself quite a developer of JHB, being involved with the founding of the old RAU (Afrikaans university, now called the University of Johannesburg), various companies and the Randpark golfclub. I don't know all the detail and maybe that's an idea for a future post...

I bought myself the below book in the last year, and need to start studying it a bit more seriously! So much to see and do still!

In a nutshell.... JHB gave me lungs, my donor lived here, I have strong family ties here, I met Chris here, I started my working-life here, and I think it's a great city. The people are fantastic for the most part. This afternoon while driving around and listening to Bob Dylan I just realised how much I love this place and that it's 100% HOME.

The rest of the Cape Town trip

So once the wedding was done we had 2 days left in the Mother City. On Thursday we met up with Ditha, Andrew and Bren (Andrew and Bren are from JHB obviously but also found themselves in CT). We had brunch, followed by some wedding dress shopping for Ditha (she is getting married 21 May...... which will be our next trip to the Western Cape!). It was a success and very special to be able to be there! We then went to her flat in Stellenboch which is AMAZING and chilled for the rest of the afternoon, followed by wine and pizza pairing. I ate WAY too much that day but it was great.

On Friday we went to meet the McLaughlin twins.... Shaun also has CF and had a transplant a few years ago... they had twin girls in Oct and are currently visiting Alet's parents in Bellville. They are super super cute and tiny! Had a nice catch-up. Afterwards popped in by one of the other CF ladies waiting for lungs.... She has been waiting for a REALLY long time now so hopefully she gets lungs SOON!!!!

We went for supper with Chris' folks at a very nice burger place with a great view in Tableview that eve which was a fitting end to a great week. It wasn't a relaxing week, quite tiring actually, but was awesome. Today has been spent buying food, doing A LOT of laundry, watering plants.... on my way to gym as soon as the next load of washing is done. Then hopefully this week goes well at work and then it's CHRISTMAS!