I have to repent a little bit….I’ve started this blog post 15 times, but scrapped it on account of Santa, my mood or “The Crown” on Netflix. I’ve had a lot on my mind reflecting on this past year but when it came to writing this holiday season, I chose to eat myself into a coma instead. Don’t let the silence fool you, I’ve learned so much! And a lot has happened. And I’m still here.
A short list of last year’s happenings:
It was mine and my husband’s first full year of marriage
February – Doctors said I needed a transplant
Found out my insurance wouldn’t cover transplant at the U…yikes!
Looked into other centers and found UCSF.
March – Visited UCSF and fell in love.
Panicked about being able to afford cost of living
June – God blessed us with angels and we moved to San Francisco
July – I was hospitalized 4th of July weekend
We had our Brave Little Lungs 5K — one of my favorite days.
I waited (and was endlessly tested) to be placed on the transplant list.
August – I was put on medication to hopefully improve my lung function
I chopped off my hair (my Britney Spears moment).
Spent the next 5 months on steroids and Cellcept
September – I was featured in Redbook Magazine (Ahhh…somebody pinch me!)
I started and graduated from a pulmonary rehab program
Managed to gain 30 pounds on steroids
Lung function improved
November – Doctors had me taper off Prednisone
And now…I’m experiencing another little flair up.
Henry and I went home to Utah for two weeks for the holidays. The combination of the elevation, poor air quality and being off prednisone was really hard on my body. And now…I’m weak, winded and wheezy. I have appointments lined up to see what the next steps are and if I have, in fact, taken a little step back. More x-rays, CT scans and walk tests to follow. My body has been a trial-and-error experiment this whole year as they still aren’t sure of what I have exactly.
It’s all a little exhausting…not being able to plan our lives, not feeling like myself, being tired all the time. I feel like the tagline to this section of my memoir could be titled, “I used to be fun.” It’s hard making friends in a new area, too. Why can’t making friends as adults be as easy as it was in elementary school? Am I right? It doesn’t help that it takes energy to be social, energy that is a very precious commodity to me these days.
But like I said earlier, I’m still here, so what is there to complain about?
My husband, God bless him, has literally stood by my side through every up and down. For example, you know those Snickers commercials? The ones that say, “You’re not you when you’re hungry?” Well…that’s how it is on Prednisone, except eating a Snickers doesn’t make you better. It just makes you fat. Just today, after relaying to him my frustrations about possibly being put back on Prednisone, he said, “You’re already beautiful to me, Mackenzie. We got this. We can handle this. Everything’s going to be fine.”
He manages to scoop me up off the floor, time and time again. I don’t know how I could survive this without him. He seamlessly takes care of me to where I hardly even notice. He’s always five steps ahead of my needs. How he manages to take care of himself in the meantime is a mystery to me. I only wish he could see how much his love and service mean to me. I can say, “thank you” and “I love you,” but those words don’t seem big enough. Maybe I could arrange a play date with him, Rafa Nadal, Michelle Kwan and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg…then maybe it’d make up for all his sacrifice. So if any of you have connections, let me know!
At the beginning of each new year, I usually have a sense of what’s ahead. This year feels different. I mean, this time last year, I was sure in a matter of months I’d be receiving a new pair of lungs. Yet, here I am, with my lungs still in tact. This last year didn’t go how I thought it would, but it was better in a lot of ways. As always, we were blessed beyond measure and certainly more than we deserve.
I have no idea how this year is going to pan out. I have no idea if I’m going to get better or worse or have my lung transplant or not. I don’t know where I’ll be this time next year. But the lesson I keep re-learning is, I can plan all I want, but I’ll never know what surprises God has in store. Relax Mackenzie! Everything’s going to be fine!
This year I simply hope to, as Oprah put it, focus on my next right move. Not the mansion on a hill or end success or the ‘what’ and ‘how’, but the daily choices right in front of me. This is just another year to get things right. As I’ve recently learned, God is more interested in the lives we impact for the better than where we punch the time in every day. I hope to more willingly and selflessly choose into love and kindness this year. And I hope to treat every day as a chance to start again, a chance to forgive my past and a chance to enjoy the time I have left.