Wednesday, September 9, 2015

west coast summers

Our updates will continue to be sparse. We had an absolutely lovely summer, and as always, I cannot believe that the months have disappeared this fast. 

It was definitely another summer of healing in nature. We returned to the cabin on the West Coast Trail, and enjoyed a blissful few days in the magical rainforest. We camped at Ruckles Park on Salt Spring Island surrounded by old growth forest, and fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean. We camped on the farm, too, (and fell asleep to the sounds of James' childhood with peacocks, hens and roosters, geese, and sheep in the fields around us). It became increasingly more difficult to get in and out of a tent in the middle of the night with each successive week of my pregnancy, but it was completely worth it. We also enjoyed a long weekend in Tofino and basked in the glory of beaches, mountains, and forests. We had a lovely visit with James' family, and were treated to delicious meals and sunsets on the beach. We swam, and swam, and swam, and I spent all the time possible in the ocean and local lakes to escape the heat, and find relief from the discomforts of my ever-growing belly. We also had a fabulous weekend in Vancouver to visit with friends and family a few weeks ago. We bicycled around the sea wall at Stanley Park (and I had visions of gong into labour in the middle of the urban oasis). We enjoyed many picnics and evening walks on local beaches, and foraged for plums and blackberries in the neighbourhood. 

I continued with an insane schedule of full-time school and part-time work for the majority of the summer, but I have finally slowed down. We are busily nesting in preparation for the arrival of this little one. James is feeling healthy and strong, and without issue or concern at all. We are expecting in about 3 weeks, but of course, I am already full-term, and James and I could have a baby in our arms at any point. We are excited beyond belief, and I am absolutely starting to feel ready. 

feeling at home on the West Coast Trail in early July
enjoying cuddles from Rambo on the farm

more west coast beauty in Tofino
only 32 weeks along in this photo from over a month ago, but I was already looking and feeling very pregnant

I suspect there will be a baby update in the coming weeks, but I only anticipate health for James in the next stage of our journey together. We are feeling hopeful for the future.

Monday, June 29, 2015

sharing our joy

I have knowingly neglected this blog for a couple of months. We continue to write short updates on James' Quest For Lungs, but I rarely return to the blog for longer posts. The purpose of the blog had been a form of coping and catharsis, and of course, I was also able to update our dear family and friends during a state of on-going crisis. James and I both have great support systems, and I don't have the same need to write. My life is a balancing act of limited time and energy, and I prefer to spend my free hours away from the computer screen. I am making slow and steady progress on my graduate degree, and I am also working two different part-time positions. James continues to write in hopes of future publication, and has been able to remain very active without limitations. We are enjoying the normalcy of relative health, and projecting our dreams further and further into the future. 

We continue to celebrate the passage of time, but James and I also cycle through periods of grief with the uncertainties of that future. James was given a prognosis of two years based on the median survival outcomes for re-transplant. We recognize that these numbers do not accurately reflect or represent individual differences (or the numerous factors that have the potential to impact post-transplant survival), but James and I still contend with the realities of his mortality. James' two year re-transplant anniversary was laden with a lot of heavy emotion, and I found it hard to shift towards celebration. Can you believe it has been two years? Our bodies continue to hold onto the trauma of James' second double lung transplant, and James and I are forced to acknowledge the grief and fears that continue to lurk below the surface. I truly believe that the re-emergence of these intense emotions was an important part of the milestone, and I am grateful for the reminder to focus on the day to day that is within our control.

In December, James and I wrote to expect big changes for the coming year. We are beyond elated to share those changes with you: Organ donation did not only save James' life. It also made another life possible. There is a little one kicking away below my keyboard. We are expecting a daughter in a few short months! There are not enough words to express our immense gratitude for the opportunity to become parents together! We feel pure and complete joy with each day closer and closer to our daughter's arrival! Our lives truly feel miraculous.

Thank you, Gemm Photography!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Great Strides and NOTDAW

Team Awesome it back! On May 29, 2015, James will be two years post-transplant, and on May 31st, James and I will be celebrating at the Great Strides walk for Cystic Fibrosis Canada! We love being healthy enough to give back! We would also love your support! 

It is also National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness (NOTDAW)! We live each and every day with gratitude for James' organ donors! You can help save lives, too! Take a few minutes to register, share your stories, and talk with your family and friends! 

Our dear friend, and lung buddy, Jessica, wrote a really awesome blog post about NOTDAW! It is absolutely worth a read:

How wonderful to breathe easy! 

Here are some photos of Spring from the last few weeks!

A dear friend is breathing easy less than two weeks post-transplant after a very long wait! We were only able to stay for a short visit, but I couldn't believe the pink in her cheeks! Organ donation saves lives!
James is happiest in the company of animals. They seem to love him, too!

The beach also makes for a lot of smiles. We love breathing in the fresh ocean air. We are very spoiled on the West Coast!
I suppose I should make an appearance on occasion, too. I tend to avoid the camera, but I let my sister take a photo on the farm in March (in my fancy shmancy gum boots).

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

brief check-in

James and I no longer post in the blog on a regular basis. There are a lot of different reasons, but I don't feel compelled to go into details. Most importantly, James and I are living our lives. We still update Facebook on a regular basis, and James has been writing a lot with hopes of future publication, but I am relieved to return to a focus on living our best lives. We still cope with the realities of Cystic Fibrosis (and transplant-related concerns), but it consumes a very small part of our day to day lives. We welcome the change with gratitude and awe. I still marvel at James' resilience. Everything feels possible again. It is wonderful. Thank you for following along in our journey. We appreciate the poke here and there to update, but I assure you, James and I are well. Our absence on the blog is a sign of health.