Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Happy New 'You'!

Have you ever thought of "The New Year" like tax season?
-It is proceeded by a couple of months of stress and craziness-
-You must pinch your pennies and find ways to make ends meet before its over-
-All of your hard work from the months before pays off on a single day-
-Things will be "NEW" with the final pay off before the hard work begins again-
The new year's eve party is like the day you receive your tax return. It's full of hope for the future, plans for change and excitement over how filling your life with something "New" will change everything.
Granted, if your doing it correctly, the party is more public and the aftermath less devastating, but the anticipation and reward are often very similar.
On Sept. 11, 2009, my pay off arrived. It was the culmination of years of sickness, exhaustion, pain, and the deterioration of my body all wiped away in a single morning. My older brother gave me his kidney. I awoke from the surgery on that day feeling more alive and vibrant than I's felt in 15 years.
This wasn't New Years Day though. So...Why tell this story?
The New Year's eve of 2008I went to my mother's house, ate junk food, played cards with my family and celebrated the coming of 2009. New Year's Day...I didn't wake up.
During the night after my husband and I drove home and put the kids to bed, my blood sugar crashed. This meant that I had so little sugar in my blood, my body wasn't capable of its normal processes. Erik found me that morning, turning blue, stiff and cold. He thought I'd died until he felt a whisper of breath beneath my nostrils and found a faint pulse. He called an ambulance and took me to the ER where for the next twelve hours they pumped fluids, sugar and medication into my veins. I did not however, wake up.
Occasionally I'd open my eyes and ask what happened or where was I, but I was unconscious again before he could answer. My brain had shut down. Much like an overworked computer, it refused to reboot. He finally went home to check on our kids around midnight, never knowing whether or not I'd awaken ever again.
Well...I did and over the next 8 months I had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital another half dozen times. The final time before the kidney transplant, my doctors discovered a medication I was taking was stopping my heart.
Three weeks later I had the transplant.
The four months following the surgery started off with my family happily clutching our "tax return" and planning a better future. However...
Due to the high levels of anti-rejection drugs in my body I was too weak to function. My normal weight of 110 pounds dropped to 91. There were days when I couldn't get out of bed. The days when I could, I'd prop my body against a wall, the kitchen counter or the furniture until I could get my kids off to school and then I'd collapse. By the time New Years Eve rolled around again, we wondered if we'd made a terrible mistake.
Recovery was a daily battle for over nine months. Eventually though, the long hard year paid off.
Like all of our most important moments in life, the one's that truly change us aren't calendered. The beginning of the new year is a great time to plan and resolve to do better, to make this year the best ever, but the truth is far different.
Different being the key word. 2009 was the year when my life changed for the better. In a large portion due to the four hour surgery and gift of my brother's kidney. The rest of the year was not so glorious if I look at it one day at a time though. Sept. 11 was "the day" when the world, the future and life seemed on the brink of glorious things. The days before and after though were the 'difference' in my resolution to be a good wife, mother, and person coming true. It wasn't the celebration day that changed me as much as the journey there and back again.
When you blow your horns, light fireworks and yell Happy New Year bask in the moment when the year is brand new and full of promise.
Then lower your head, hold on to those you love and brace yourself. The celebration is over...but the New you is about to begin.
Happy New You!

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