Author: REJ

The Challenge

The beginning of the year I challenged myself to get my camera out every day and take a photo of something or someone. The purpose was to get reacquainted with my camera that had been sitting for so long like a paper weight, gathering dust. I went 84 straight days of taking photos, some not so bad, most pretty crappy if you ask me, but they were pictures none the less. Unfortunately, being stuck in Salt Lake City recovering from a heart transplant in the middle of Winter doesn’t always spark inspiration. In the Winter, Salt Lake City is shades of grey, and after awhile I became bored and somewhat depressed over the lack of color.

So, I took a break and was able to come home to Wyoming, where there wasn’t much color either, just more snow.

I fell short by seven days of a three month streak by missing the last week of March. April was a wash because I really didn’t feel like picking up my camera. I was and am so overwhelmed at home that the thought of getting  up and finding something to shoot every day felt a little burdensome. I don’t want a hobby I truly love to feel like a burden. The camera came out of the bag this last weekend though, when I went to the dance showcase of one of my former Ballet students. I was able to capture some amazing photos of her thru my tears as I watched her. She most certainly sparked some inspiration in me to pick up my camera more often.

So, here is #85 – “Dear Clarice” featuring an amazing young dancer that I’m proud to say graced some of my Ballet classes when she was younger. She’s so grown up now and blossomed into the amazing dancer I always imagined she’d be.

View the entire Gallery.

Dear Clarice

Enough

I can’t be responsible for other people’s feelings. All I can do is treat the people around me with dignity and respect and not take it personal if they react in a negative way. I’m not the family counselor, mediator, referee, or general go between. I need the people in my life to start acting more like the adults they are and stop relying on me to help save the day, calm things down, or motivate. I’m not oppose to helping, that’s just in my nature. However, I expect people to learn how to do things themselves after awhile and that’s not happening. I know it’s me; I’m allowing it. The challenge is figuring out where the teaching stops and the enabling starts.

There’s a lot on my plate, more than the people around me know. Not that I have kept them in the dark on purpose, but because it’s just a continuation of me being sick for so long. Yes, my Amyloidosis is in remission, and I had a heart transplant that will extend my life, but I’ve really traded one set of problems for another. Before, I was just trying to survive and keep my heart beating a little bit longer. Now, I have to survive the anti-rejection drugs that have awful side effects, not to mention the handful of other medications I take for various things that still aren’t working like they should be, post-transplant.

I’m not myself yet; I’m carrying a sadness that I haven’t been able to shake. I’m frustrated that my house doesn’t feel like home right now. I’m irritated that some of the people around me aren’t doing their part to be full participants in our family and household. I hate feeling like I always have to be the bad guy to get things done. I’m tired of attitude, entitlement, laziness, and most of all feeling like I’m being taken advantage of. I want to live my life with joy, love and gratitude, but I’m finding it hard to keep focused on that when I feel like the energy around me is trying to derail me.

So, ENOUGH already! It’s time to change my approach, I can’t change the people in my life but I can change me. Not sure where to start but I’ll figure it out…

Splenomegaly (aka Enlarged Spleen)

The doctors said the first year after transplant is always the hardest; I’d say that’s an understatement. Don’t get me wrong, I feel better, better than I have in several years. I can walk, climb stairs, do yoga, take dance class, clean my house, drive, and most importantly I can breath. It’s amazing the little things we don’t really think about that we take for granted when we are able bodied and don’t have so many limitations. Just lifting yourself off the toilet can be a struggle when your sick and dying, but just as quickly as life can go to hell in a hand basket it can also turn on a dime.

This first year it can swing up and down. I was thinking everything was going OK until I started having some pain in my abdomen. Today I just couldn’t take it anymore and I called my hematologist, transplant team, and local general doctor. I’m still waiting on blood test results but the ultrasound confirmed an enlarged spleen. I guess you could say this is the down swing.

Apprehensive

After having so many health issues over the last 6+ years I’ve become a bit apprehensive when it comes to seeking out medical treatment when maybe I should. Right now I’m sitting here, no doubt, in denial, that the pain I’ve had in my upper left abdomen will go away if I ignore it long enough. The fact is, it’s getting worse and starting to radiate toward the right side of my abdomen and around to my back. I’d like to tell myself it’s just a pulled muscle or something, but I know it’s not. Who knows what it is, all I know is the thought of having to go to my local hospital scares me to death.

Out here in Wyoming our medical options are limited, not to mention my issues are way above the pay grade of the doctors around here, and I really don’t want to make a trip to Utah to see my transplant team right now.

What I’d like is to have a single day where I’m pain free. Fighting Amyloidosis and then getting a heart transplant doesn’t come without a little discomfort, but my pain threshold is starting to wane. With that my mood isn’t the greatest and is probably bordering on depression. I feel like I need a break…

To Dance

7 Months Post Transplant!

I can’t even express how amazing it was to be in a dance class this weekend. It’s hard to believe that it’s been just about seven months since my heart transplant and I’m able to do things I haven’t been able to do in more years than I care to count. I can’t thank Wyoming Dance Arts enough for offering an adult class and Aaron Wood for being a wonderful and thoughtful instructor. I’m counting the days until Saturday so I can do it again! Meanwhile I have yoga on Monday and Wednesday; I just need to keep moving and working on my flexibility. More than ever I know what I need to do…DANCE, and dancing is going to help me heal.