Monday, January 17, 2011

Looking back at 2010

Mostly what I noticed in 2010 is how a certain normality returned to our lives. Predictable patterns emerged; both in my health and in our daily activities. I cycled my chemotherapy, one month on and one month off in an attempt to prevent rejection. It worked. I did not have any episodes of heart rejection in 2010. Albeit, the cyclophosphamide is progressively the source of more complications with each new cycle. But the alternative month feels so good.
We lost too many people in 2010. Both from the amyloidosis support group and the heart transplant group. The year ended with the passing of Bill. His wife Dina runs the amyloidosis support group. I remember the first time I met Bill. His body had already been ravaged by amyloidosis, yet I gained so much hope as a reflection of his courage. Bill and Dina were strong for all of us. He will be greatly missed.
Last week I went to Santa Clara to get my 4 month heart biopsy. This time felt different; it hurt. I realized that my body's nervous system is now innervating my foreign visitor. The Scarecrow is finally talking to the Tin Man. As I mentioned this, the fellow doing the biopsy, (assuming that I was complaining about the pain) walked around the table to explain. He said, "What you are feeling is the ..." My laugh cut him off as I retorted, "We doctors are all the same." As I looked up I saw a strange look and finished, "You just told me what I am feeling. How can you know that?" How many times have I done the same thing.
A few hours later, sitting in the transplant support group, I heard the same complaint over and over; 'my doctor didn't listen to me'. We all try so hard to fit everyone into a box that we understand and forget how differently we experience things.
2010 was a wonderful year. We went to the Grand Canyon, Paris, Spain, Utah and New York. Barbie finished her prerequisites and was accepted to Dental Hygiene school. Jeremy, Alexandria and Rebecca graduated from college. I never called in sick (although there were days I wanted to.) I love going to work and I love coming home. I am humbled by the extra days that have been gifted to me. As my friends pass from mortality to their eternal home, the words, "There but for the grace of God go I," occasionally pass through my mind. I used to think of this cliched phrase as selfish and unfeeling. Yet now I understand. I may not have passed this year, but it is certain that some day I will. We all will. So much is not in our control. I accept that as I accept God's grace in my continued daily breath. I do not understand why some die and others live. It clearly is not based on merit. My only peace is through the faith in my Saviour.
As I look forward to 2011, I am excited to continue in my relationships with friends and families. I feel really good, physically, mentally emotionally and spiritually. I begin this year with no regrets.



Aunt Renie said...

Kevin, we have the privilege of this earthly life time to develop and share our gifts, make the world better and inspire others to do the same. There is so much need for God's Great Gifts as well as those responsibilities to help those in need all over the world.
Thanks for being an inspiration to me.
Love, Aunt Renie

Emma and Dan said...

I feel uplifted by your thoughts, sad for the loss of your friends, and very excited by the fact that you are feeling well and that Barbie got into dental hygiene school. That's a lot of emotion you crammed into a couple of paragraphs. :)