Status 2

That’s me…based on the UNOS criteria for heart transplantation I am now a Status 2 for transplant. To quote one of my doctor’s clinical notes from yesterday’s discussion of my case…”Patient was approved for UNOS listing to receive a deceased donor heart transplant and met listing requirements.”

Status 2 gets my foot in the door. After the first of the year when UNOS puts the new listing criteria and distribution system in place my status will change. Because Amyloidosis is addressed specifically in the new criteria my status will rise to a more critical level; making a transplant a very real possibility.

I’m in the bubble now, and I’m OK with that. I’m a little scared, a little excited, and hopeful.

Post Mayo Wrap-Up

I can tell you that after this visit to Mayo Clinic, if I ever hear another medical professional utter the words, “your case is very complicated,” my head might just pop right off my shoulders! Really? It’s complicated? Yeah, I’ve known that for the last three years, I’ve lived it, but thank you for reminding me for the millionth time; I may have forgotten.

I don’t want to say that this 3 month check-up visit was a waste of time because it wasn’t, it was just very frustrating. Frustrating to the point that I’ve had to ask myself, why am I doing this?

The reality is that I’m dying, faster than the average person, but slower than the “normal” heart failure transplant patient, but my case is “complicated”. I dream, pray, and wish my heart to get better, but it’s not going to. The damage is done and there’s no going back.

So I see a few doctors, some of whom actually listen to me, some who chose not to, or rather, appear not to. They make a few medication changes (BARF!) suggest a few more, then send me on my merry way. Never actually addressing or attempting to find a solution to the new issues, symptoms, problems, I’m having.

Then to wrap up the whole adventure I’m told that UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing,) the governing body that sets the rules for how patients are placed on transplant lists and how organs are dispersed, is going to change the rules at the beginning of the year. It’s not clear if the new Adult Heart Allocation System is going to work in my favor or not. It does at least address Amyloidosis specifically, but how the hearts are going to be allocated is still a little unclear.

Looks like I’m back in the transplant bubble again…not my favorite place to live, but I think I can hang here awhile and chill.

From Pain to Power

I travel between my home and Mayo Clinic in Rochester Minnesota every three months for check-ups and treatment. In the time my husband and I have been going to Rochester we found an amazing church we love to go to when we’re there, Rochester Assembly; it’s a wonderful home away from home for me. I’m so thankful that they stream their services online and they are available to watch remotely. Today a service by Paster Jono came across my Facebook page called “From Pain to Power” and it was just what I needed.

Watching this reaffirmed in my heart that God is calling me to turn my pain into His purpose. God is calling me to walk thru the valley and not stand on the outside looking in. I have this pain for a reason and I believe I know what that reason is. It’s time for me to seriously start moving forward with planning my community group for the Fall for people with chronic illness. God put it on my heart months ago and I’ve been reluctant to dive in, but He’s given me so many signs that this IS what He is calling me to do with my life.

Thank you Lord for giving me one more sign!

Super Easy Enchiladas with Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce

This is for my new friend Kelly! I found this Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce on Pinterest and modified it a bit, because I really just can’t leave a good recipe alone! The enchiladas are just some random creation I came up with because I had two left over chicken breasts in the frig and didn’t want them to go to waste.

Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce

2 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons All Purpose Flour
2 Tablespoons of Chili Powder (not Cayenne!) 4 Tablespoons if you like more heat!
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 dried oregano
2 cups vegetable broth (1 can of Swanson is exactly 2 cups)

Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and whisk together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder, garlic powder, salt, ground cumin, and oregano). Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until slightly thickened.

Pour sauce in small 12 oz mason jar that has been boiled to sterilize, both jar and lids. Let sit and the jar will seal and you can store your sauce for up to 3 or 4 months (maybe longer, mine has never lasted that long…LOL). Or use immediately. After you’ve opened the jar is will last up to 4 days in the frig.

Super Easy Enchiladas with Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce

1 package of medium flour tortillas (quantity 12)
2 chicken breasts
2 cups fresh salsa
2-3 cups of shredded cheese of your choosing, we like the Mexican Fiesta kind
1 medium red onion finely chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper
sour cream (optional)
green onion chopped (optional)

I like to do all my prep work before I start to cook anything so I get my red onion and green onion chopped and set aside.

Slice your chicken breasts long ways (like butterflying them), so you have 4 thin pieces. Generously season both sides with salt and pepper (you could add a little oregano and a tiny bit of ground cumin as well…a little bit of cumin goes a long way!). Pan fry them in a non-stick skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat. Just get them to a nice medium brown on each side about 3 minutes per side. Take them out of the pan and let them rest on a cutting board for about 5 minutes then chop them up into small pieces. I shoot for the chicken to end up looking more shredded than in little square chunks, so I cut up the chicken like I would do my finely chopped onion but not as small.

Warm up 8 tortillas in the microwave for about 30 seconds so they don’t break while you’re assembling your enchiladas.

ASSEMBLY TIME

These are what mine look like before they go in the oven.

Using a 9×11 glass baking dish, sprayed with a non-stick spray of your choice.

  1. Tortilla
  2. About 2 tablespoons of chicken
  3. About two tablespoons of fresh salsa over that
  4. Sprinkle with cheese
  5. Sprinkle with red onion
  6. 1 tablespoon of the Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce.
  7. Roll and place in baking dish with folded ends down.

Repeat until you’ve filled your baking dish.

Pour remaining Best Ever Red Enchilada Sauce over your enchiladas in baking dish and sprinkle with cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.

Serve with sour cream and chopped green onion. Serves 4

By the way, this is a great recipe to freeze! When I make it I like to double everything and make two dishes. So, while one dish is cooking I prep the other dish to go in the freezer for another night. If baking from frozen cook at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Tastes just as good out of the freezer!

I Want To Dance

It’s killing me that I still don’t have the energy to dance and to teach. I want, so desperately, to teach a ballet class, but I just don’t have the strength for it yet. I’m hoping that by the beginning of the next dance season I’ll be able to at least start subbing now and then. If I had to pick one thing as the truest passion of my life it would be dancing. I started dancing when I was three and started teaching dance at 14. I would say it runs in my veins now.

To watch people dance makes me yearn for the studio, to listen to music, and to create new movement. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t choreograph while I’m listening to whatever might be playing on the radio. I create outrageous costumes in my head, edit music, create mash-ups.

I need to dance, I need to teach it…it’s a part of who I am, It’s part of my soul.

Added a few photos of a former student to my 365 Day Gallery.