2 months and 21 days post transplant….
I am so happy to report that I am alive and doing well. I finally started rehab officially this past week. Friday was my first actual session. It went really well! I did 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the bike. It was amazing the difference that I can already tell. Before surgery I was lucky to make it up a flight of stairs without stopping for a breather much less make it 20 minutes just walking on the treadmill. This time it was no longer my heart that gave out but rather my muscles that were not used to the exertion! I am so excited to get them in shape and continue to experience this new-found joy that my donor has blessed me with. I go back for a biopsy on the 12th so I am praying that all stays well.
I haven’t written in a couple of weeks, and I know some of you might have been questioning why. I have even had a few people ask me about my noticeable silence. Am I done writing? No. Will I stop writing since my transplant part of my journey is over? No. I feel that I still have plenty to say and whether or not people want to read it, well I guess that is up to them.
The reason I haven’t written in forever is a simple complicated one. I have tried to sit down and write this blog several times and every attempt failed. I was at a loss for words for the past two weeks concerning this subject. I am not sure I can do this blog post justice for the woman whom it is dedicated to, but I sure am going to try.
Meet Sue Hood Hill, such an amazing, talented, and beautiful lady!
If you are from the Grantham community then you have probably heard of Sue hood Hill. Maybe you are a close friend of hers or her families, maybe you attend church at Selah where she goes, maybe you have worked with her at Princeton, maybe you just saw her at different things around the community. Well if nothing else, lately you have probably heard or seen many posts asking for prayer for her and her family. You see two weeks ago Sue got very sick and was taken to the ER and then to Rex hospital. It was eventually discovered that she had a cancerous brain tumor. Thank the good Lord they were able to give her some medicine and help stabilize things so she could still make it to her sons wedding that next weekend. I was not at the wedding but from the pictures it looked beautiful, humbling, and special in every way. I know her family and friends were so happy that she could be there, as well as her son Morgan and new daughter in law. However when the next week rolled around the magic stopped and the real world was faced once again.
This is the most recent update on Mrs. Sue, from her sweet daughter Jordan whom I have always loved and admired, she is a beautiful, talented and very comical girl….
Nearly three weeks ago Sue started showing symptoms of what appeared to be a virus. Wednesday, September 16th she came home from school feeling very exhausted. She thought she was getting sick, so she went to bed early. The next morning, she woke up and attempted calling her go-to substitute and after the phone call…. “forgot” to call the school. I came over later that day to find her in her chair looking rough. She told me she had only been out of bed about 30 minutes (it was 5:40pm). I had a doctor’s appointment the next day (Friday) at Duke, so I asked her if she still planned on going with me.. to which she said she was, and was going to work for half a day prior. The next day, I attempted picking her up from school, but she was not at Princeton when I got there. I called her and she answered saying she was at McDonalds in Smithfield (we had not discussed this as a possible meeting spot). I left Princeton, and asked her to get me some food… when I got there, she had got me something completely different from I asked. I offered to drive (she looked like she felt awful), and on the trip to Durham she seemed off. Once we got to Durham, everything went downhill. While walking towards the building, she fainted in the parking lot. I picked her up off the asphalt and a lady inside, who saw her fall, ran out with a wheelchair. Once we got her in the wheelchair, she began vomiting. We got her under control, and the lady insisted I go inside to my appointment. Needless to say my blood pressure was high when they were working me up. I finished upstairs (the lady came up to my room and reassured me that everything was okay during my appt)…and when I came down she looked worse. I asked her if she wanted me to wheel her out to the car…. and she immediately began vomiting again. Fast-forward to the car ride home, she was fine… it took us 2.5hrs to get home… but she was fine. The next morning however, she walked into the living room and couldn’t figure out why she had left her room. A quick trip to Immediate Care resulted in them sending her directly to the ER… and after a CT Scan, we got the news that she had a malignant brain tumor. What started out as a virus, turned into our worst nightmare. It has been 15 days since then. In only 15 days we have found out that it was inoperable and that our time will be limited no matter what happens with treatment. In the past two days, she has been able to tell us her birthday, home phone number, address, and recite the entire “Ramblin’ Wreck from Georgia Tech” Chant. She does not know what month it is, the year, her anniversary, the year she graduated high school, or any other persons birthday. So, the two times I asked her to do the “Ramblin’ Wreck” Chant, and the fact she didn’t hesitate to do it perfect either time, was quite impressive. This weekend has luckily been uneventful, which has been great for her to rest. Tomorrow we meet with Dr. Kasbari to find out where we go from here. We have no idea where we will be 15 days from now, but we can only hope for the best!
Thank you all for your continued prayers.
As you can tell, this isn’t a cold or the flu or anything to be taken lightly. I love Ms. Sue and her family. She has done so much for myself and my family over the past few months and it just brings tears to my eyes to even talk about what they are now going through. Ms. Sue is loved so much in our community, she would never harm a flea and has a very special place in the hearts of many children as she served them as a special education teacher. Some of my favorite letters I got in the hospital were given to me by some of her classes. I cannot express how many messages she sent me just checking on me and praying for me. When I attended the benefit and was able to go back to church, her face was one of the many that I was very excited to see again. It was a shining light no matter what the day was going to hold.
Therefore it should be no shock that when I saw the news on Facebook two weeks ago, I was speechless. I did not know what to say, what to think, or what to feel. I do not know the reason or rhyme and cannot fathom an understanding for the situation. My first remote thought was why? What a tragic thing for this beautiful family to be facing. This amazing woman who does so much for the community and has so much love in her heart is facing the hardest battle any of us could face; death. My next thought was: they should get a second opinion, they should go somewhere better, there has to be something else that can be done. However for me of all people to say that is astonishing. I know that if someone had told me that same thing in May I would have firmly said no, I trust my doctors and have faith in the plan, there is no second opinion needed, it is what it is. Therefore I can understand why the family and Ms. Sue have full faith in their doctor’s diagnosis and believe that he will do everything possible to prolong her life. After a while, once the shock had settled, my final thought was “God’s got this.” I have firm belief in my Lord and I do believe that for everything there is a rhyme and a reason. I know we are not always going to understand it at that moment or maybe ever, but I know it is all part of something bigger than I.
So why was that not my first waking thought when I heard of the tragic news? Why have I not gone around and proclaimed the miracle that I believe will be? Today at church my preacher, Patrick, preached directly to me on this subject. It has been so heavy on my heart these past few weeks and I believe that the Lord laid it on my preachers heart because he knew I needed it. Today he spoke about miracles and about faith. He spoke of Peter and how he doubted the Lord and therefore started sinking instead of walking on the water. We as humans have this same faith, we seem firm and all-knowing of it–until tragedy hits. Then we slowly retract, doubting our all loving savior. Yes I believe that the things that man can do are amazing. The fact that they are able to take a human heart from one body and put it in another is an amazing medical success. However I believe behind that, the Lord does the work. He leads their hands, he knows the outcome that will come, no matter the situation. I believe that if it is time for someone to leave this world then there is nothing our human hands can do to stop that. But yet we still have this waiver of doubt, we don’t want to proclaim our Lord and savior to be the almighty miracle maker and yet tragedy continues to strike. This is exactly why it has been so hard for me to write this post lately, because I- a firm believer in my God and my savior & do not want to proclaim that he can move mountains and continue to make miracles happen and then it not happen. However I am humbly reminded – I am not in control. I have experienced too many miracles in my own life and my own family that are the work of the Lord. So who am I to keep quiet when it comes to the majesty of my God? Who am I to be afraid to share my faith in the Lord and what he does? My story is about the Lord and what he does in a human heart, so who am I not to share it? Despite my fears, despite the doubts that try to creep up, despite any obstacles that arrive. Who am I to hide behind the uncertainty? No matter what MY GOD and MY SAVIOR is still in the miracle making business. So here I am proclaiming it: God makes miracles happen every single day, others may call it luck, coincidence or an amazing medical discovery. Call it what you want but I believe where man can not touch something like Mrs. Sue’s tumor–he can. So I continue to pray every single night that he does just that. I also pray that whatever HIS plan may be, I will do my best to understand without doubt and without reason. I am not naive and saying that I know my Lord will prolong Sues life for many years, but I am saying I believe in his plan–whatever that may be and I pray that no matter what may a miracle arise from the situation.
In my future I hope to meet many transplant patients, before as well as after their transplants. They will come from all walks of life, they will have different backgrounds, be different ages, have different doctors, and have completely different medical situations. The hardest part will be facing a family of a patient who did not make it to be happy and healthy after transplant like I have, I have been through that with my Aunt Donna and it was very hard, we miss her dearly. Those will be times that I won’t understand why my situation turned out one way and theirs another. I won’t be able to tell any patients that I know they will turn out just like myself, shoot I can’t even predict my own future, let alone anyone else’s. I will continue to struggle with these things, but in the end it will be okay, because I know my God. I will witness to them in any way that I can and pray that they see what he has done physically and spiritually in my heart. “The greatest tragedy in life is not unanswered prayer, but un-offered prayer.” B.B. Meyer.
I hope that all of you reading this will pray for Ms. Sue and her family as they face this situation. Pray for them to have unwavering faith despite the obstacles they are faced with. I know it will be a tough journey ahead for them, but I pray for God to give them some sense of peace in all the chaos.
I also pray that each of you, whatever you are going through, continue to keep the faith and fight the good fight, I know it’s not always easy, but one day it will all be worth it.
Until next time…..