One Decade and One Year Later


I want to start by saying, January 31st will never be “my” day. Never. At least not to me. In fact - although my family says they like it - it makes me kind of upset that today was the day I got a lung transplant. Somehow I feel it takes away from my sisters death. Yeah, my living is more positive than her dying - but she deserves to be rejoiced and remembered. I don’t want today to be about me. There’s no way anyone who ever met her could ever forget her, but still. She was a shining light when she walked into a room. Her energy shone with a vibrance like that I had never seen in anyone else, nor have I since. Sure, she was opinionated and could be a huge pain in the ass, but somehow it was all part of her charm.

All year I have been wondering how this day would affect me and I did pretty well most of the day. I woke up next to my mother, the only person who probably has more emotions about this day than I do. I don’t know how she does it. She is so strong. My son is almost the age now that my sister was when she passed away and if I lost him, I don’t know if I could keep going. He is the reason I’m still here today. The reason I fought so hard to stay alive. For him and so my mom didn’t have to lose another daughter.

Sometimes I think even me living is selfish though. Putting my whole family through all these scares of me almost dying and then I don’t. At some point, it’s got to feel like living on eggshells. The anxiety of wondering if this time will be “the time” has got to be terrible. So while I fight for my family, I almost feel like it’s not fair either. I think at some point for families of the terminally it’s got to be a relief when that person finally passes away. Whether they can justify it in their mind as we’ve “moved on to a better place” or something else, I’m sure there is some kind of peace of mind in not having to worry about us and when we will finally die. Not that many people would probably admit that even to themselves. However, what many won’t say I will and it makes sense to me that people could feel that way. I wouldn’t even hold it against them.

I guess I could never consider myself to go to a better place though. Not only because I don’t believe in a god and an afterlife, but because wherever my son is, is the best place. Even when we’re fighting. There is nowhere I’d rather be than by his side. So am I sounding ungrateful for my transplant? I hope not. That’s not my intention. I’m more grateful for my transplant than almost anything else ever in my life. In the last year, my transplant is the thing I’m most grateful for. The only thing I could think of being more grateful for is my son, but without my transplant, I would have missed a whole year with him.

I remember waking up for the first time after transplant and it was February 2nd, 2018. Or I think it was February 2nd. It almost seems like the calendar said February 3rd but that the date was wrong? Or maybe it was February 3rd. I remember there being a calendar on the wall and I watched that stupid calendar like a hawk the first couple of weeks when I couldn’t move. Alright, so clearly I don’t quite remember the date as well as I thought I did a second ago. Either way, my mom and my aunt were there. I swear it was nighttime, but again… I’m really not sure why they would have been there at night. Also in January, it gets dark pretty early, so that could have been why I thought it was at night. My mom mentioned something about me getting my transplant on January 31st and it didn’t quite register at the time. (I was on a lot of drugs people, that part of my life is just a bit hazy.) A few days later when I was more with it, I remember asking my mom when I got my lung transplant and she seemed kind of surprised I didn’t remember. I asked, “did you say it was January 31st?” She told me it was in fact on January 31st and I just remember thinking, “damn, that’s quite the coincidence”. She went on to tell me that they came out at 8:35 pm to tell her the surgery was all done and they were stitching me up. My sister passed away at 8:35 pm nine years before to the day. Not much gets to me, but I remember getting chills. I still couldn’t talk, I could only mouth words which gave me a good excuse to not say anything. Being an atheist it’s a little tough to say my sister had a hand in anything that happened that day. However, I do believe in energies and if anyone could have used their energy from beyond the grave, it would have been Shea.

Maybe that’s why while everyone else doesn’t mind I was reborn on the day Shea died, I do. I don’t believe in any of that stuff. Not in god, certainly not in angels, not in a heaven or a hell. I just believe we are all organisms living on a tiny rock in the middle of a small galaxy in a giant cosmos. I mostly believe coincidences are just that. I guess as they wheeled me off to surgery a year ago I said, “Shea is being reborn in me today.” I don’t remember saying that. I don’t remember a damn thing about that day. Even though my nurses who took me down said I was with it completely, “talking”, and calm. Again, I don’t even remember going down to surgery. What I believe I meant by saying was being reborn in me was that since she didn’t get to live, I would try and live a life that made her proud. I would try to live a life to carry on her beautiful spirit.

Today has been a mix of emotions for me. I’m still not even quite sure how I feel about it. I feel proud that I’m alive. I feel proud I fought so hard to live. I feel thankful for my doctors and nurses and family who helped me survive. I feel grateful for my donor. I feel sad my sister isn’t here. I feel upset at taking away what has been her day for the last decade and using it to celebrate my life. Yes, this day had sucked for many years and maybe now there is a reason for it to suck a little less, but there is still a reason for it to suck too. So which feeling is right? I’m sure all of them are right and wrong in their own way, but that doesn’t make it any easier to distinguish between the two.

I haven’t reread this post. Maybe it doesn’t make sense. I’m sure there are tons of spelling mistakes and typos. I just don’t have it in me right now to edit it. I still want to post it today though. So if you read this tonight, don’t hold the words against me. Try not to take anything I said the wrong way, I’m just trying to get some thoughts down on paper and out of my head. I’ll edit this at some point and make it easier to comprehend, but for now... this is what I have in me.

#lungaversary #lungtransplant #cysticfibrosis #death #living #family #love #fight