Monday, February 16, 2009

Six Months

August 16, 2008
Valentines Day, February 14, 2009

Today marks six months since I received an new heart and a new life. Fittingly, my favorite candy bar is Rocky Road and there clearly have been a few bumps along this path, but overall, I feel wonderful. When the decision was made a few weeks ago to proceed with the stem cell transplant, I knew that there would be much to do to prepare for this new challenge. Tests, blood-work, education, logistical planning for Barbie and Caitlin and getting myself psychologically prepared. After considering this daunting task, I exclaimed to the family, "We're going to Disneyland". Since I will be down for at least the next three months, I figured there is no time better than the present.

Caitlin, Rebecca, Barbie and I drove down on Thursday and stayed at the Hilton Suites in Anaheim (I love to Priceline; we got a great deal) We had a wonderful time. It did rain on Friday, but cleared by Friday evening. Everyone was cold and tired by 4:00 PM so we went back to the hotel. I kept saying that I was going to go back to Disneyland that night, but they all thought that I was joking. I assumed they knew I was going back after I dropped them off after dinner, but they just thought I was slow getting back to the room. After looking for me for 45 minutes, a very concerned Barbie tried to call me, but I was on the Indiana Jones ride and couldn't hear a thing. Finally, I got the message and called to reassure her that I was alright.

Saturday, Valentines Day, the weather was clear and we took it a little slower. I did, however, go on California Screamin' three times. (A seriously awesome roller coaster). Not having nerves to my transplant has the advantage that by the time my heart realized that it was moving upside-down at 60 MPH, the ride was over. My heart-rate never went up.

I am not done making memories. There is so much left to learn. The last six months has taught me things that I could not have learned any other way. While I was on the ride called 'Soarin' Over California' a flood of memories came over me in a wash of emotion as I realized that I have been every place depicted on the screen. Whether it be backpacking through Yosemite as a Boy Scout or surfing in La Jolla during medical school, I have a lifetime of vivid memories that I can checkout, like a favorite book from the library, and re-experience the joy anew.

This weekend reminded me of the three words that continuously weave themselves through my consciousness: Gratitude, Hope and Joy. Gratitude for gifts and experiences of my past that have shaped whom I have become, hope for the future that lies ahead and joy in the beauty that surrounds and fills me in every moment.



Sam said...

I hope everything goes well with your stem cell transplant, you'll be in our prayers. Hopefully after JD graduates next year we'll be able to make a trip to California before we head back to Alaska. Say hello to Barbie and the girls for us.

MARY said...

Kevin, it is so good to see you having some FUN amidst all the daily challenges you and Barbie must meet! Can't think of a much better place to have it (Disneyland is our personal fave since it was the location of our first date some 30+ years ago). We'll be thinking of you and continuing our daily prayers for more successful treatments as you enter new territory. - Mary

Anonymous said...

Great to see you all having some FUN at America's Happiest Place on Earth. (We are partial to Mickey's place having made that our first date 30 years ago). Kevin, we hope all goes well this week as you begin your treatments. We will be praying for skillful physicians and other medical staff and your continued good humor as you meet this latest challenge. - Mary & Jeff