April 24, 2015


Post-transplant day #500.  100%

I had a great checkup yesterday, 499 days after my transplant.  Several tests and several doctor consults.  The upshot is that I haven't been this healthy in many years.  My PFTs, the OFFICIAL ones, not the ones off my SpiroPD, have significantly improved: I'm at 96% FEV1 and 96% FVC.  I am so close to 100% on the numbers that it doesn't even matter.  Functionally, I'm there.  100% operational. Green lights across the board. Sure, it could all come crashing down around my ears in a week, a month, a year; it's a constant, but managed, risk. That's transplant life.

On the day-to-day level, 100% means I can work efficiently throughout the day, moving from one task to another, without the huge amounts of rest I used to require between every task, even mental ones.  It means I have energy enough at the end of the day to go to the climbing gym for an hour or go jogging for 30 minutes.  It means I have enough energy and strength to break in my new motorcycle with a 1500 mile trip.  It means that while I'm in the Triangle dealing with medical stuff, I still have the time and energy to give my girlfriend her due attention, go out and catch up with friends, take my Mom to an appointment, work on a refinance, and start a light plot for the next play I'm lighting.  All while living out of a T-bag.

What 100% means is that I can once again juggle all that I need to.  It's delicious.  I hope it lasts.

#500 has turned out to be memorable and special without forcing it, beginning with a long ride up to Winston-Salem last night (with April​ and Karen​ leading in April's car) to meet my friends Greg Williams​ and Alice Neff​.  We ate at Bib's BBQ - an adventure in itself - and talked over old transplant topics and where to go from here.  As a founding member of the LRLR, this year's ride is the next Big Thing on my list.

This morning started with phone calls and texts at 8 in the morning and hasn't let up.  But I got to start things off right with a nice breakfast at one of my favorite breakfast places, Another Broken Egg, with sweetie and my friends Pete​ and Jen Eisenmann​.  They have just finished moving to this area in advance of Jen's inevitable final decline and lung transplant.  It gives her time to focus on her health (she's already back to using oxygen part time instead of full time), get to know the various CF and transplant programs in the area, and make a new home in a very hospital part of the country.  I've broken bread with Jen before, but this was my first time meeting Pete, who has been an avid supporter of my athletic efforts over the years.  Lots of coffee and lots of laughter.  Quite the morning!

A couple hours later and I was opening the door to a mortgage closer, a notary public who makes sure everything gets signed.  I think I wrote the long form of my name a couple hundred times.  But it is done.  I am refinanced at a lower rate and saving hundreds on each month's payment.  It takes being at 100% to even start a refinance, much less hang on through one.

To cap off my day, sweetie and I rode over to Lowe's to have a copy of a key made.  That's right: April got on the back of my bike, suitably attired in my leather jacket, full-face helmet, and gloves. Coming back, she tried my half-helmet and liked it more. This outing was her first time ever on a motorcycle.  She's already looking at changes I could make to increase her comfort! I think the bug has gotten suitably under her skin.

So it is that on day #500, I felt the arms of my love wrapped around my waist as we rumbled through the pleasant outskirts of Raleigh. It's all I ever wanted, really. 

Is the long nightmare over?  While struggling along and enduring transplant, I often had to remind myself that "this too shall pass."  Today, with spring's bright dawns and a bright future ahead of me, I am reminded that ... well, it has.  And while this pleasant state may also change, will change....must inevitably change, it's worth breathing in the air and turning my face to the sun while I have the chance.

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