Thursday, April 19, 2012

a transplant journey in parts

almost a year ago, I started to write a journal entry about James' transplant journey. I worked on it for several weeks, but I never completed it. we will soon celebrate James' 1 year post-transplant lung-aversary. it is an incredible milestone. I would love to be able to finish his story, or at least, the story from the point at which I met James, and it become our story. here are the bits and pieces from many (many) months ago:

"it has been a while since the last update. time seems to disappear (and is easily replaced with the stress of every day life)."

"and so, where to begin? as always, there are no words, and I've never been very articulate (or, rather, I never feel very articulate). this entry has come together in pieces over the last few days, as I have been sitting by James' hospital bedside, watching him sleep, in complete awe of his strength and courage, and the wonders of medical science. it has only been a few days since his double-lung transplant, but, with much determination, he has been up and walking around (without oxygen) . . . ! he is still sleeping most of the day, but with each smile, and kiss, and, hours of hand-holding, I am beyond confident that he will continue to recover."

"I find myself in tears at random moments during the day. our wonderful dreams for a future together have suddenly become a real possibility."

"I think that the best way to describe this experience is as an 'emotional rollercoaster' of ongoing intensity. there is the guilt of leaving him at night, and the helplessness in his moments of pain an discomfort. there are the small complications that can manage to feel life-threatening. but, mostly, there is absolute joy and pride in each accomplishment and improvement."
"once again, I continue to write (with the eventual intention of posting online), and it is nearly impossible to find the words to even begin to describe this experience. it has now been nine days since James' surgery."

"I have made many attempts over the last few weeks to write this journal entry, but, yet, it remains seemingly possible to find the words to describe this experience. I thought I would start from the beginning, or well, the beginning for myself:

James and I met through an online dating site in June 2010. the connection between was us almost immediate. we blew bubbles on the grass outside of a cindi lauper concert. we read poetry out loud to one another under a tree in the park. we spent hours and hours (and hours) at used bookstores across the city. 

James had been in Toronto since November 2009 in hopes of qualifying for a double-lung transplant. I understand that those early months were a constant struggle, with several hospitalizations, and a lot of uncertainty about the future. I imagine it would have been difficult to continue to find hope.  

we were both attempting to live our lives one day at a time, and with gratitude for each and every moment together, we made a conscious effort not to take anything for granted, and truly appreciate the time we had together. we were living in the moment, for the moment, from one moment to the next. there was no certainty about the future.

James was eventually listed for transplant at the end of August 2010. His call came almost 9 months later on May 12, 2011."

it is extraordinarily difficult to look back at the photos from James' transplant. at the time, I don't think I really allowed myself to see the extent of his illness. I suppose it is all about survival.

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