bravestredhead

Archive for September, 2009|Monthly archive page

How Could I Forget?

In Uncategorized on September 24, 2009 at 5:12 pm

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On November 4th, 2008, I had made plans to go for a ride with my friend Jo-Ann (the very nice woman who was to look after Gypsy while I was recovering). We were going to go on a “hack”. For all of you non-horsey people out there, a “hack” is where you go riding off into the country, and pleasure ride around hay fields and through the woods. Well, clearly ten months later we finally got our hack in together. Yes! This past Saturday as we got back from a lovely late summer’s afternoon ride I said, “JoAnn! Do you realize we finally got our hack?!” We both smiled and laughed realizing how long it had been since we’d made those plans. I recall phoning her the morning of the surgery to cancel our ride in lieu of the day’s lung transplant. It was an odd phone call to make, “Hi, uh, change of plans: I can’t come riding today because I’m going to have life saving surgery today!” But thanks to that call and my donor, so many special rides and special experiences have been able to happen.

This autumn, to mark the one-year anniversary of the transplant, Lickin’ Good Fried will be releasing our full-length album. What better way to honour my donor’s special gift than by using the lungs to sing? We couldn’t book the venue we wanted quite on the date, so November 3rd 2009 at Toronto’s Lula Lounge will be the big release party. At midnight it will officially be the one-year anniversary (November 4th) of the surgery. So! I urge you to mark the date down on your calendar and come out! It’ll be a great night of music: My jazz band, The Alleycats, will be opening for the main show featuring “Lickin’ Good Fried” which I’m likewise proud to be a part of. It’ll be a night full of singing! Be there if you can!!!

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No Rejection!

In Uncategorized on September 23, 2009 at 5:05 pm

The Doctors pulled up my Bronch results today. He told me No Rejection was found!

MUSIC TO MY EARS!

However, my CMV count was up to 2 positive cells this week. Oh, the ongoing saga. Dreadfully aware of “The F Word” (= Foscarnate), I was relieved to learn the Docs want to moniter as an outpatient and to concentrate on staying fit and strong. He’d like to see me gain fifteen more pounds with the coming winter.  (I’m not sure how Gypsy will feel about fifteen more pounds!) Cripes! Anyohw, I can’t help feeling, in regards CMV, that we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop. *sigh* *sigh* and *sigh* again.

But for today, for this week, I dodged a bullet. Here’s hoping it stays low and I don’t develop CMV symptoms (ie: “wicked bad flu”). Yesterday I felt like super woman in the saddle with my first jumping lesson all summer. Gypsy was a star! I drove along beautiful country roads, and went shopping at the tack store while dropping off my chaps for repair. I’ve ridden a hole right through them!! I think I’ll go out and repeat all that stuff as an out-patient. You never know when the other shoe could drop!

Of Birthdays and Anniversaries

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2009 at 4:10 pm
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Heaven on earth? Very possibly. (CNE goodness)

Thanks to my donor, last week I turned 33! Who knows if I would have made it this far without him/her. In celebration I hopped on my bike and easily rode to the CNE and enjoyed a day of fun. Any time I sang at the CNE with my band I never really had the proper footwear on to enjoy the fair. But this year I went especially because  I wanted to ride the Flume (and get splashed!) and I wanted funnel cake. I got all my wishes, self propelled by my own two strong legs and lungs. (And it never hurts when on your birthday the “Guess Your Age” guy thinks you are several years younger than in reality!!!)  Oh yes, we walked around, we rode rides, played games, saw Superdogs, ate, watched the noisy air show… The best bang for your buck was the Footsie Wootsie foot massage machine. Twenty five cents bought a minute of foot tingling blood circulating goodness.   And at the end of it all we rode our bikes home, up hill.

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An Anniversary party to remember: carrot cake, live music, friends!

If that weren’t enough goodness, this past weekend marked a very special anniversary: TWENTY YEARS with my mare, Gypsy!  To celebrate in style we had a big barn party with cake (carrot, of course!), live country music c/o Colonel Tom and Co., a bbq, bonfire and piñata (oh my gosh, it was fun to spin the kids around and watch them descend like raptors on the “candy! candy!”)  Gypsy came to the party of course, and we all had a rip snorting good time in celebration. She truly is a best friend. On her back I’ve grown from a kid to a woman. It was through horses that I found music, and through music I found my husband.  I’ve seen and done a lot with Gypsy, from competing, riding the woods, to swimming… I love her immensely. She is quite possibly the great love of my life.  The love a horse gives you is so stupendous, so quiet, so special. She was my patient “therapy pony” for those years, don’t forget. On her back I felt able bodied again until such time as I became able bodied again! GO GYPSY!!!! To think I received some twenty years ago the gift of a pony. Two decades later, the gift of life. Pretty blessed, huh? I pray it lasts. I try and live every day to it’s fullest. I really do.

Gypsy at her party, enjoying the band!

Gypsy at her party, enjoying the band!

Because… My CMV is being a bit tricky, sometimes showing one positive cell.  We’d like it to stay at zero (that’s what it is this week). If it goes positive again this MAY mean more Foscarnate hospitalization. I am in denial about that, but we’re watching it and trying something with immunoglobulins in the meantime?! Greek to me. But on the up side I had my (belated) 9 month Assessment this week. My fitness test has improved again! My lung function is “awesome” (and I’m quoting the Doctor on that one), and she said that if there weren’t the wires on my xray giving away my surgery she’d have assumed that it was the xray of a “totally healthy person”!  My CT scan is looking better as far as the stuff I have been fighting.  Bronchoscopy this week will conclusively tell what’s still growing in my lungs & assess if there is any rejection. Today’s bronch seemed to go smoothly and hopefully will show improvement and nothing new or scary. Pray for that! (As I’m always sending prayers out for my cohorts in the transplant program I often wonder how The Man Above deals with all these requests!!!)

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With Jaymz post sail.

In the meantime, Tom’s back at the grind teaching but we’ve been stealing great rides together still, and swims. This weekend he had three swims and we marveled at how my bikini hid my incision mark almost totally. You really wouldn’t notice, I don’t think! Oh, and speaking of water babies, while he was off working hard last week I got to helm a sailboat in Toronto harbour with Captain Barbour (that rhymes!). Co-captain and groovy friend Jaymz Bee (from Jazz.fm) had that very morning put a copy of my disc “Live In Montreal” into the hands of  famed Harry Connick Junior. Once I calmed down, we had a very relaxing sail around the Toronto Islands.

And….This is just a healthy reminder to spread the word about becoming an organ donor. Tell your friends about the miracles it affords. Sign onto the donor registry yourself, and talk to your family about your wishes to become an organ donor.   Register your consent by clicking here! One donor can save up to 8 lives!!!

Cape Breton

In Uncategorized on September 3, 2009 at 2:20 am

For a couple of summers now I’ve watched the planes come and go from the island airport at the foot of Strachan near my home. For those  years I’ve lamented how hard it was to fly with an oxygen tank (Air Canada are the like do NOT make travel for people on oxygen easy…)  For those years I’ve watched the planes take off imagining what travel would be like with good lungs. What places the airbuses deliver you too… what adventures could be had!

Well, folks, I’ve just had a refresher course in air travel. First of all, I *love* Porter Air.  I wore a full on Darth Vader style respirator on board to keep out “germs” (considering my low white count) and found them to be the most hassle-free, friendly, timely air service EVER: and located only five minutes from my door! Yes, indeed, Tom and I took the last fading days of his summer holiday and threw together a vacation down east.  Most wonderfully, at last I was finally *in* one of those aircraft looking out the window at the shoreline and the park!

Jumping for Joy in Nova Scotia!

Jumping for Joy in Nova Scotia!

In short form there was

*Eating seafood, eating and more eating. Seafood coming out my ears: LOVED IT!

*”Tanning” with the top down in our CONVERTIBLE car! (Our “motor boat” on wheels as it were)

*Great ocean vistas along the Cabot Trail and the National park… waterfalls, mountains, cliffsides…

*Great music, Cape Breton fiddle jams, and honky tonk country bands (my husband is a fine two-stepper doncha’ know! Tom was just so pleased to dance with me, and to “watch me run around Nova Scotia”)

*Amazing accomodations in Halifax, Cheticamp, Ingonish, and Baddeck, which variously included an upgrade to the “Oriental Wedding Suite” with an ornate bed fit for an emperor, an ocean front cottage, a cathedral ceiling suite overlooking a harbour/lighthouse, with balcony, jacuzzi tub, vistas galore. NICEY NICEY, so spoiled!

*and so much more! Yes, July was a rub, but August was a RIDE!

We shot over 500 photos: it was ridiculous!  Among them, and of interest to the blog, we shot a series of photos throughout the week on every beach we went on called “Alex running on a beach”.  We also shot, “Alex jumping on the Halifax Harbour”, etc, etc. I’ve included a handful here.

Running because I can, Cabot's Landing, Cape Breton Island...

Running because I can. Cabot's Landing, Cape Breton Island...

It’s hard to find the “highlights” when so MUCH was wonderful. I never crammed so much into a day on vacation before. (But easy to do in friendly beautiful Nova Scotia) Mostly I crammed so much in  because I felt so great! I could just go and go and go! Never tiring! It was FREAKY! I could run up stairs with luggage and walk all around a town…  I didn’t cough once: I just… can’t thank my donor enough…

How romantic: our footsteps in the sand...

How romantic: our footsteps in the sand...

I guess the best moment of the trip was realizing my life long dream of GALLOPING along the ocean.  Tom and I went on a trail ride in the Acadian region and had our photos taken right before we galloped like the wind through the sand. It was jaw dropping how fast these horses went! It was AWESOME!!! The ocean and the mountains our view… Then, the trail leader even encouraged us into the shallows and I got to ride in the surf!!!!! LIFETIME DREAM REALIZED!!!!!  After a few more gallops we got to ride about 100 yards through an amazing clear river than came up to the horses bellies. It was wicked beautiful…. and I just can’t thank my donor enough again…

DREAM OF A LIFETIME REALIZED! Alex and Tom just before our beach gallop.

DREAM OF A LIFETIME REALIZED! Alex and Tom just before our beach gallop.

It was sad to come home, but WOW – what a lot we packed into a short (6 day) trip.

My husband in overlooking the cliffs!

My husband in overlooking the cliffs!