Sunday, July 28, 2013



 By the grace of God
 Five Years!

Well, I just don't know where to even begin.  There are so many things going on in my thoughts.  First thing,  yesterday was Marty's transplant anniversary date; 5 years.  Seems like just yesterday and then again seem like a life time ago. So much has happened in our lives.  We try to squeeze every bit in. I guess as time goes on, this date and what happened for Marty, is less important to some people, but for us it is a miracle day, a day when Marty was given another chance at living.   I'm not sure what exactly I expect from some family members, but I guess if I don't expect much from them, I won't be disappointed. What I don't understand is how someone can be so close to him as they were being raised; and know that he has been given a gift of life, basically borrowed time(although God knows each day of our lives) and now have nothing to so with him.  I pray each day not only for them, but for myself to not be so angry with that person.  Anyway, now moving forward...

We spent our day as usual, doing our usual things  but with so much more gratitude.  We always think of the family of Marty's donor, but especially more so on July 26th.   I always wonder if they think of how their loved one changed many lives that day because of their decision to be an organ donor.  I wonder how they spend their day.  Marty wrote a letter to the family after his first year anniversary.  He just gave a little bit of information about himself and expressed his sympathy and gratitude.  It is understandable that they did not respond. That is their personal choice.  I would now, let them know that he is living his life and enjoying his life.  That he is doing well with his lungs, and that he tries each day to be kind and loving to people so he can in some way bring honor to their family member.  That we don't do super extraordinary things, but have learned to slow down and appreciate life more fully.  Just some of the things I wish they could know.

 We were going to go out to celebrate, but instead decided to just order some sandwiches and relax at home together.  We were able to reflect on that day, how he got "the call", waiting at the hospital to see if the lungs were a good match, the realization that Marty was so close to dying, and then when the nurses came in and gave him his first Prograf anti rejection pill, then it became reality..this was going to happen. Then he asked me how I felt in the waiting room.  It is strange, but I had a calmness about the whole situation.  I wasn't scared or nervous.  My daughter and son were there and that brought me some peace.   Marty's daughter was there as well.  I was very concerned, but not fearful or scared.  Jeremiah 29:11-13  "11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."  God has been with us through this whole journey.  Each step of the way.  Thank you God!

Now a few things on a little lighter note.  Jonathan came to "the desert" to visit us.  His Mom and Dad came too, but stayed at a resort in the area.  Jonathan had so much planned for us to do.  Just like when we were there in May.  Oh my gosh, we played hot wheels, rode the trolly,(Olley the Trolly that is)  went to the skate park, went swimming at the resort, went to Amazing Jakes indoor park, saw The Lone Ranger, went to the Arizona Science Center, and played played played.  What a great time..I am hoping we made lots of memories.  He's just growing up so fast.  One of these days we are hoping to be able to relocate back to Ohio to be closer to our family.  God's timing.
One day earlier this week we took a trip to Walmart to pick up some things.  Like I said earlier, we have learned to slow down and enjoy simpler things, as noted in the picture of Marty and Willie....

So until next time, keep warm, cool, dry, or hopefully get wet(here in Az.)  Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, and support..since the first onset of this journey in 2006.
Willie and Marty(the lost brother)



Jonathan and Papa playing Hot Wheels

Getting ready to head back to the airport.











Thursday, June 6, 2013

June 7th, 2013

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTY!

Well, Another year has flown by, mostly with out any major catastrophes.  Marty and I will be celebrating his 57th Birthday.  We don't celebrate the way most people celebrate.  No big party, no balloons, but we will have German Chocolate Cake and a nice dinner out.  What we will do is think of the family of Marty's donor.  With out the choice of organ donation that was made, we would not be celebrating this day together.  So although we have no idea who his donor was, we take this day to think of them and to say a prayer of thanksgiving.

So, back to May 21st-28th.... we were able to travel to Ohio.  It was the first time Marty was cleared to travel/fly due to some health issues.  It was quite an experience this time because he had to travel using a walking boot, custom made for his ankle.  People always seem to stare at him because of wearing a mask on the airplane. Picture a 6'4" man with long hair, beard, ponytail, sunglasses, wearing a mask and a high-tech looking leg brace,  of course people especially children, are looking at him.  But well worth it since we were there to see our Grandson Jonathan.  I had been able to see him this past year, but it had been over a year and a half since Marty had been able to see him (in person anyway.  Face time and Skype are nice but in person is so much better)  This is the grand way we celebrated our anniversary and birthdays, with Jonathan (and I guess I should include the rest of the family ;-)

It was amazing to see how Jon had grown and matured.  Our last visit, we read bedtime stories to him, this visit, He read to us.  Not just quick little easy stories, but "chapter" books. Spending time with him was the best birthday gifts we were able to give to each other.  The whole week was a gift. We also decided that the best thing about elementary school lunches is eating them with your grandchild, that alone makes the food top notch.  Jonathan also had a whole itinerary for us to accomplish..Ironman 3, Epic, fishing, bowling, McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds, watching him ride his bike, and playing at the park.  We did all except the bowling.  There just wasn't enough hours in the day....What a blessing this week was. (Thank you EVERYONE who helped to make this week possible.)  Love you all.

Marty's brothers and sister also had a little party for him at a family cook out.... it was a nice surprise.  He was able to visit with them for a short time, but you know a week just isn't alot of time to do all of the things you have in mind to do.  We plan to have more time there next visit. We are just thankful that we could see most off our family and hope that they understand our time constraints this visit.

This past year has  brought some losses to us.  Some family members and dear friends have passed away.  Some are friends or family members we met through the transplant process.  It has been said that after transplant it is like living on borrowed time, the loss of someone you have become close to still hurts.  Thankfully there are great memories with all of these people.  Life is short, LIVE....each day like no other. Some of the losses experienced this past year are due to ties being cut or stretched.  You deeply miss these people,  you hurt and grieve the loss, and you hope and pray they know the doors are always open.

So thankful that God has blessed Marty with another year here on earth. July is around the corner,  we will be celebrating his 5th year Transversary.  Who would have ever thought this would be our Journey..
HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTIN! I love you.



Saturday, April 13, 2013

APRIL IS DONATE LIFE MONTH
APRIL 19TH IS BLUEAND GREEN DAY
SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR ORGAN, EYE AND TISSUE DONATION BY WEARING BLUE AND GREEN.
 I must admit that I don't have a lot of blue/green clothes, but I am going to give it a shot on the 19th.  Anything to get the important message of organ donation out there.
Sometimes, I think, there are so many health and medical "causes" out there that are being promoted.  Mostly all of them are very worthy causes, and their word needs to get out there.  There are huge organizations that back up and support these causes both in the media and financially.  Please don't misunderstand what I am trying to say.. I am thankful that these non profit agency's are getting the word out, promoting research, finding cures, fundraising, and making donations.. The medical field would still be in the dark ages if it weren't for these amazing people and organizations...

But since I am fairly new to this transplant journey by comparison, I am still learning.  It seems to me that  people are hopping less on the bandwagon to promote donation;and sometimes I wonder if it is because it appears less glamorous. I must say from living with and loving someone who is or was in need of a life saving transplant, it is an amazing, glamorous miracle to see them be filled with life again. And glamor can come in many forms, it is in the eye of the beholder... To me one of the most glamorous things I have seen after a person has been through transplant is the pink in their face, the smile on their family's face and just the plain simpleness of taking that first walk down the hospital hallway with out any extra medical attachments.. All because a selfless choice/decision was made on a card or drivers license application.  Sometimes that decision has to be made by a family member, and that may not be an easy thing for them to have to do at such a sad time in their lives.   Bless their hearts.

There are many amazing volunteers who are with the Donor Network of Arizona, The New Life Society,  Lifeline of Ohio, and all of the other states Donate Life Organizations. They do an amazing job of educating people, supporting people, manning the booths at all of the "sign up to be a donor" drives.  Just go to the events page of your local Donate Life Organization and look at their calendar of events.  Almost everyday there are events all over the United States...Volunteers do this.  There are not many news stories,  National news coverage, or T.V.commercials out there.  Maybe that will change soon.. But the need and the word is getting out there anyway...

There are local groups in each city that work hard to get the word out about donation.  The Lung Transplant Support Organization,
is a non profit agency based here in the Phoenix Valley.  They not only promote and support donation, they support the people in the valley who have had Lung Transplants.  They do this is so may different ways, check out their website www.gotmask.org   to learn more about them, what they do, and where they want to head.  They have a fundraiser golf tournament on May 11, 2013 at Longbow Golf Club in Mesa, AZ.

James Redford, Robert Redford's son promotes organ and tissue donation as well.  He has an annual event ( I believe), Share the Beat and James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness based in California.  His sites are www.sharethebeat.org
and  www.jrifilms.org/. Both sites offer some good information.  I guess I am just trying to do my small part to get the word out there.
As you may see, I am not putting alot of information here, but am posting links in hope that if you are reading this, you will check out these sites and do some research on your own. Please do what you can to learn and become informed, maybe even promote the need for organ donation, and living donation... (Yes, you can even be a live donor in some cases..)  I am sure that as you do, you will come to realize that the people who have had organ, eye, and tissue transplants, are some of the most appreciative and greatful people you will ever come across.  Each day is a gift thanks to the selfless decisions of donors and their families.
Like the Hallmark slogan says:
                "LIFE IS A SPECIAL OCCASION"

 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Today, March 23, 2013 was the Annual Laura's Run.  This event directly benefits the Lung Transplant Program at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.  It is always amazing to see the amount of people that are impacted by transplantation..There were people there from all over the valley and for that matter all over the state.  Laura, whom the event was named after, did not have her lung transplant here in Phoenix because at that time, there wasn't a thoracic transplant program available..Laura received her after transplant care in California.   Six years ago, St. Joseph's began their transplant program.  The proceeds from this 5K, run/walk/doggie trot/ and kids dash, go directly to the transplant program at St. Joes.  An amazing amount of time and effort goes into this event.  The weather this time of year is always so nice, not too hot, and the sun is shining.  I just stand in total awe of God's creation as I watch, feel, and experience the emotions of everyone at this event.

As this event approaches each year, it is always a time of reflection for me. Some of our friends are no longer with us at this event, it is a strange feeling. I know they too, were thankful for being given this second chance in life. Just a chance of life again...Two of our friends have been blessed with a second (and Third) chance of life twice.   They are both doing well after their second lung transplants..Yes, that is right, their second one.... I think of the new friends we have been able to make too. People who are just now experiencing breathing without lugging oxygen tanks and tubes all over the place and the joy they have is a wonderful sight.   As the race was beginning, the announcer was giving a brief history of the transplant program at St. Joes.  I was totally shocked when it was said they have completed 188 transplants, and that St. Joes has one of the highest success rates in the nation.  It is an amazing team of medical professionals.  It is ever growing, so much so that us "Old Timers" sometimes can't keep up with the changes.   Where we were 6 1/2 years ago to where we are now has been miraculous journey.   The things that Marty has been able to do because of his transplant are unbelievable compared to what his medical condition was in November 2006 through half of 2008.

Thank you to all organ donors.  If you could just see the gratitude and joy in the people's lives who have had an organ/tissue transplant, it is worth signing that little card to register.  Thank you also to the Donor Network of Arizona and the New Life Society for having your Donor Registration booth set up today.  These people volunteer their time going to events to get the importance of donor registration out there.  Most of the people who work these booths are transplant recipients or members of a donors family.  These are some amazing people too...

Thank you Laura Hart Burdick Foundation for all you do for St. Joseph's Lung transplant program..
Check out

www.laurahartburdickfoundation.com   for more information regarding Laura.









DON'T FORGET THAT APRIL IS 
NATIONAL DONATE LIFE MONTH.....

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

December 11, 2012
Well as you can see, we put Christmas lights up this past weekend.  It was about 70 degrees, sunny and not a cloud in the sky.  We took our time, enjoying the beautiful Arizona day.  There are about 6 houses on our street that have also put up lights, not too many lights, just the right amount.  They all look nice.  Putting up the lights did provide somewhat of a challenge for Marty, since he has been wearing a walking boot cast to help stabilize his ankle.  It helps him tremendously as he walks, but going up and down the ladder was something he had not yet done with the boot.  But the lights are up and look great.

It is also flu season, so that seems to mean I turn into an overbearing "nurse type" person. "Do you want a mask?  Did you bring your hand sanitizer?  Are you sure you want to go there, there will be a lot of people?, What is your temperature?, What is your O2 saturation? Your heart rate?  Your BP?   etc..."  Marty always answers with a kind word, and I try to not be so overly cautious.  The truth is, any little bug/virus/bacteria, scares the heck out of me.   Marty has NEVER shown any signs or symptoms of illness after is original onset of his lung disease 6 years ago.  The few things he has been ill with, he hasn't had any symptoms, even the Swine flu.  Just have to keep on trusting God...He has been and continues to be right here with us.

Today we got our Christmas gifts wrapped and sent to Ohio.  Marty did some of the wrapping, and of course I let him do all of the totally weird shaped packages.  So Ohio family, if you get a package with tons of tape on it......I'm not going to say anything else.

Today on Facebook I got an update from Help Hope Live, formally National Transplant Assistance Fund, with a suggestion for a fundraising idea for tomorrow, 12/12/12.  We thought it was a pretty unique idea, so we are passing it along... the idea is that since 12/12/12 is a once in a century date, to post on blogs, Facebook and Twitter asking for your supporters/followers/ friends to contribute $12.00 to your fundraising campaign. So that is what we are doing.  Just go to www.helphopelive.org and in the section that says "Find Patient" type in Marty's name.  Thank you for considering this.

Well, it is getting late,  so I am going to close for now. More later when it is not so late.


Thursday, November 29, 2012

November  29, 2006....
I know, the wrong year is posted.  I am not crazy (no smart remarks here please).  But on this date in 2006, Marty was sent to the ER at the Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn campus from his PCP.  He was at the PCP for a follow up from an Urgent Care visit 3 days prior.  At his point we are thinking "ok, this is more that an upper respiratory infection like the Urgent Care said".  After we arrived at the hospital, it is kind of hard to describe.  Things moved so slowly from the standpoint of Marty needing care immediately, to moving so very quickly that I couldn't keep up with what was being said regarding his health.  At this point, all I could gather was that He was very sick, that he was going to be admitted (and it didn't sink in that he was going to the ICU yet), and that his coloring, which was purple, was getting a deeper shade of purple as time went on.  
He was hooked up to a pulse oximeter (now fondly known just as a pulse ox), heart monitoring machines, blood pressure cuffs, and the obvious.... oxygen.  This was all happening all at the same time by various ER staff.  I heard one nurse say "HIS O2 is 72"  I had no idea what that meant.  Now we both realize that it was bad... anything above 90 is "normal".

He was taken to his room in the ICU.  Room 238. I was asked to leave him while they assessed his condition. An hour later, I was allowed to come back in to his room.   A pretty scarey sight I must say/  I had never seen so much medical equipment attached to one person before in my life. Little did I know how much more equipment  he would be needing the next day.  


As Marty was intubated the  next day, That is when our new reality slapped me in the face.  In some previous posts there is some history and photos of his journey through this.   


So this day holds some very strong emotions for me and as I have related the day to Marty, strong emotions for him as well.  Everytime we pass Scottsdale HealthCare, I can look up and see the window of his room.  I am very thankful for the memories, although some are pretty scarey, I have from him being in that room.  How many people prayed for us, and his healing.  How God used this time in my life to draw me closer to Him.  You have to have faith... 


From this date on November 29th, 2006, our lives were forever changed for the better.  Long struggles with health, but God has been so good to us.  There are so many things that the world would view as lost or impossible in our situation, But we view them as blessings from God.   So in a weird way, This date has become "the first day in the rest of our lives"   Every day is a special occasion, a gift from God.  Use it wisely, and be the best you can.


This Christmas Season, the best gift you can give to everyone is to become an organ donor.  Without this gift given, Marty and countless others have received the gift of life.  Please consider contacting you states Motor Vehicle Department or Donate Life Organization.