The life of an ordinary woman, who'd been given an extraordinary gift. The Gift of Sight. This is my story and my life.

Posts tagged ‘fun’

“Eye” See The Future

Really, I certainly do! No joke. Because where I’m going, everyone (so to speak, metaphorically) “knows” me, but I don’t know most of them. And this will be a trip to remember, I’m sure, in more ways than one.

In July, I’m taking the Amtrak Train with my three kids (alone) across the country from Virginia to Nevada. That’s a three day ride. My husband is flying out on the third day of our train trip and will be pulling in about eight hours after us coming in via the train.

It’s not the trip out that has me kind of already banging my head on a wall. Or the fact that I know for certain that every security person in ALL the casinos I may roam in to will be requesting my ID and asking if I am over 21. Blame that on my Dad’s genes of holding on to youth for way longer than seems conceptually possible.

It is the fact that everyone that knows Dad, knows me, and in turn knows about my having a transplant. And in affect, I will very likely be stared at, asked questions (even of the obscenely stupid kind), and will be having conversation after conversation of how it feels to have “someone else’s eyeball” (insert the eye-roll here).

No, I don’t mind my father updating friends that I know of in the complex. They too are kind of like an extension of his family and of mine. But gee! I’ll be getting “I have heard A LOT about you” from people at his bank, at the grocery stores that he frequents and whatnot. Makes me a bit jittery just thinking about how many strangers “know” me and of my life.

I’m going across the country to “get away from it all” on vacation. To see friends. To see my Dad and let him have time with his grandchildren. To meet up and reunite with cousins I haven’t seen in over twenty years. To take my kids and husband to see all the sights like Lake Tahoe and Virginia City. To have fun.

But I don’t want to have to re-explain myself and feel like a broken record. Especially to the lady at the teller area of the Bank, or the guy behind the store’s Customer Service Counter. Or even to my father’s doctors (if I happen to go to appointments with him while there). I’m there for enjoyment, not to give a live presentation of my biopic.

Yes, I went through a lot. It was a major ordeal. But it’s over with, and I deal with setbacks as they come, then move on. I don’t want to be placed back to square one with my operation when I go home. It’s one thing for me to explain things or answer questions in regards to close friends and my family. But I wish to not deal with strangers. Not when I’m aiming for a good time, filled with basically being left alone about my new “eyeball”. But going home means facing all of this quite potentially. Because my Dad tells his friends (not just in the neighborhood) at the store, and a few at his banking institution about what happenings are going on with me and the kids. And of course, being the proud Grandpa that he is, he shows the latest pictures he gets (as I can get them to him) to everyone he knows. That’s cool. But I’ll be honest. I’m tired of having my entire life laid out to all of Carson City, Minden and Gardnerville.

Does this make me out to be a bitch? Maybe. Am I getting too “closed off” when it comes to my Dad telling about my life, seeing as I DO blog about many things concerning me, my life and even my family? Maybe. Am I over-analyzing? I bet that’s a yes, but with good reason, I feel. But I think for me, it’s a humongous difference in MY telling of MY life and of MY story, than having my father telling every Tom, Deloris and Jim about my life and of my medical issues as they arise.

We Ran To Save Lives!

The morning could not have been more perfect this past Saturday. A tad chilly, but not so much so, that it was horrible to have to stand it. Believe me, it wasn’t long before I removed my light jacket and tied it around my waist from overheating.

The last two days, I have been pretty sore. But that’s because I didn’t have time to train and build myself up for the race and that long three mile course.

In the end, every ache and pain, every muscle strain, and every Advil popped (or muscle relaxant rubbed in) was well worth it.

Because my oldest daughter, who’s twelve, and I helped promote a wonderful thing. Organ/Tissue/Eye Donation. And all of the proceeds pulled in from registration, and from private donations went to Donate Life (Virginia chapter), to LifeNet, and to other programs that educate and bring awareness to the need for Organ Donors. And also some is set aside to help aid financially, the patients that have little to no health insurance to help pay some of their transplant surgery bill.

When all was said and done, my daughter came in at 276 out of 330 runners. She clocked in at just under forty minutes. As for the old lady (me!) I came in at 321 of 330 runners, with a clocked time of just under fifty-one minutes. I haven’t done something like this in over twenty years, so getting in within under an hour, for me was a HUGE feat. Especially when you consider, I have a lung that barely works, thanks to birth defects, and the left lung carries most of the work of two.

Now, it is looking like NEXT April, it’s not just going to be myself and my daughter. But also my husband and our son. My youngest will have to be watched by someone and then me or Dad will take her for a Youth Mini-Mile run that they place for the kids ages one through like 12.

As I got to the turnaround/halfway point, I admit it, I cried. But not because I was hurting. It was because I was half way through accomplishing my goals. Of honoring my mom, my Donor and their family. And I was secretly wishing my Mom was still here to see it all.

Then I cried as I was nearing the finish line. Because I caught a glimpse of the time clock and noticed I came in UNDER my personally-appointed time limit. And because I pushed against EVERY limitation I was given (to my parents) as a baby and a young kid. I pushed through feeling like my lung was about to drop to my stomach on that last part of the home stretch. I accomplished what I said I would. And that was to see the whole course through. And I did just that.

Here’s pictures from the race that a photographer had taken throughout the entire run. Thanks to him, I was able to see really how my daughter had done.

Am I crazy, stupid, or dare I say it… BOTH?!

As my readers know well by now, I am a recipient of a cornea. And I have been an organ donor since the age of 18. And I am a strong supporter and activist for organ, eye and tissue donation.

And I am about to put myself through something I have not done in over two decades. A run/walk course. A three mile one at that. And this course is all-cement terrain, with two decently steep hills to climb.

Back in the day, I used to run/walk the Examiner Bay To Breaker race. Each year, my time got less and less. But also did my knee’s ability to hit the ground… running. And over the years, the one lung that I have had lifelong problems with, as well as scar tissue under the scar where my trache once used to be, has slowly gotten a bit more medically worse.

Add in the eye, and it’s been one hell of a ride on this thing called “Life”. But you know what? I have loved (mostly) every freaking minute of it! And I have thus far beaten every conceivable odd that was thrust at me. I have done EVERYTHING that doctors have said I’d never do. Even with adding in the fact that I (am at last checkup) at a range of 20/20 vision in an eye that’s been through infection, puncturing, loss of fluid, and now a cataract under my transplant. Miraculous, to say the least. Then again, I’m guessing that I have a right to be a bit biased.

Now, I am going to TRY and defy my own personal limitation. I am taking back to the race course. And for a good cause. And I plan on walking as well as TRY and run (portions of) the course set before us.

On Saturday, April 7th, 2012, my oldest daughter and I are participating in the Point of Honor 5K in Lynchburg, Virginia. The proceeds generated (via registration fees and donations) will go to the Virginia chapter of Donate Life America and to the Virginia chapter of LifeNet. And also other organizations throughout my state to help educate, sign up and bring awareness to organ, eye and tissue donation.

My parents, especially my mom, did everything they could to ensure I lived through what was at the time in 1976, the unsurvivable. No matter what it took. And that carried on after her death.

Now, I am doing everything I can to get my special needs son what he needs, no matter what it takes.

And I am fighting for THOUSANDS of strangers on waiting lists, knowing that MILLIONS more will be on those lists in my lifetime.

I’m fighting to bring awareness to Organ Donation, the need for Heroes to give Hope to people that are in need of the Gift of Life/Sight.

For that, I am willing to put my body through two steep hill climbs and another two and a half miles of walking/running.

If it makes even just ONE person observing the race who has yet to do so, sign up to be a Donor, then it was worth ever sore muscle, achy feet and being out of breath and all the sweat that will be pouring down my face on Saturday morning.

But I must make a confession. It’s hard doing this again. But not physically. Emotionally.

I lost my mom on October 29th, 1989. Exactly twenty years later on October 29th, 2009, I received the Gift of Sight from my beautiful Donor. And to me, it was no coincidence of that happening in the way that it had. I believe my Mom was with me through all of it. Heck, maybe they both watched over me that day as the damaged eye was being repaired. Because they (as was I) were almost 100% certain that the tissue wasn’t going to take, and that when I was wheeled out of surgery, it was without one of my eyes.

So, Saturday, I’m going to walk (and run) for my Donor. I’ll walk for my precious Donor Family. I’ll be walking for Mom. And I’m walking for those waiting patiently for their second chance to see, walk and live.

Wish me luck. Crazy, stupid, or even both, I’m so very glad to be participating in such a wonderful cause, and having fun as I help bring Hope and awareness.