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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Easter: Rebirth & Renewal

It has been some time since I posted here. As some of you may know from my earlier posts, my health has been challenged in a big way for the past five years. Actually, it began before that, about twenty years ago, but doctors couldn’t determine what was wrong for fifteen of those years. By the time I was diagnosed, I was at Stage 3 out of 4. The autoimmune condition (Primary Biliary Cholangitis with Autoimmune Hepatitis overlap) is incurable, but a liver transplant can prolong life.

On November 23rd, 2015, I was finally transplanted, at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. Miraculously, an anonymous living donor had come forward. This person is unknown to me. He or she had intended to donate to another person, and went through the health workups and evaluation, but the transplant did not happen. I do not know why not. The donor decided to go ahead anyway, donating a piece of his/her liver to a stranger in need. Because of my poor quality of life, my blood type and my relatively small size, I was chosen. I received the left lobe of the donor’s liver, and the pieces grew back to almost full size very quickly for us both. My new liver grew to almost full size by eight weeks post-surgery!

K with plush liver - Version 3

At six months after the surgery I will be allowed to (anonymously) contact the donor through the clinic to express my gratitude. If all goes well, years will be added to my life. Transplantation is not a cure, for the problem does recur in some cases, but already the new organ has made a huge difference in my quality of life and well being.

Now I am recovering from the surgery. The most dangerous time, regarding rejection of the transplant, is in the first three to four months post-surgery. I have made it past that point with no rejection episodes. Hurrah! Full healing will take at least a year. But today, to celebrate Easter and enjoy this fine early Spring day, I walked in the woods with my husband, looking for signs of seasonal renewal.

Easter 2016, Renewal!

This was my worship today, because being immuno-compromised by anti-rejection drugs, I am still avoiding groups of people in close quarters. This year especially, Easter is very meaningful to me, as I experience life anew, with energy, gratitude, and hope for the future.

PS – Share Life! Be an organ donor!

Random Crow Thoughts

This evening the crows gathered, with the moon almost full.

The weather has been warm, not typical November weather. I love the feel and smell of autumn, so I’m happy with this warm sunny spell.

The crows put me in mind of The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper). Crows as harbingers. There is a sense of stillness, of waiting.

Again my life is filled with a series of ER and doctor visits. The most recent was for my mother’s fall. Life is such a mixture of beauty and pain.

Descent to the Underworld for Wisdom

The Autumn Equinox ~ Stepping into the power of the dark part of the yearly cycle.

This is the time when the dark, which has been growing, is in balance with the light. We are grateful for the Harvest, but we also know that Life is waning.

This is time of year when Persephone descends to the Underworld to access her deep wisdom and compassion in caring for the dead. It is the time of her mother Demeter’s grief and sorrow, and with her we weep for our losses.

This year, Mabon, or the Autumn Equinox, is especially meaningful for me. In the past few months I have gone through losses due to an autoimmune disease signaled by a medical emergency in May. Since then, I have not posted much, because I have been resting, regaining strength by walking, and most difficult, getting used to my new life. Some days are good, others are not so good. Until I wake in the morning, I do not know whether I’ll be incapacitated by fatigue, or whether I’ll be able to do some work or visit a friend.

Some days I feel that life is indeed waning. This Equinox I enter the underworld of chronic illness and seek whatever wisdom I am able to glean from this dark place. Certainly I am learning much about patience, loss, compassion, and stepping into my power as I deal with the medical community. The dark also feels womb-like at times, and I can even appreciate how this hermit-life may suit me. This is a perfect time of year for introspection, for seeking wisdom.

Will you be descending to the underworld this Autumn?

Unpredictable

Sometimes, usually when we least expect it, an event happens ~ after which life is never quite the same again. There have been no posts from me for quite some time, as I learn and feel my way into new ways of living after experiencing a health crisis. Slowly, deliberately, over the past few months I’ve been regaining my strength, noticing the little things ~ and coming to terms with the unpredictability of living. We can never know what will happen tomorrow, or even in the next few moments. On some level, we all know this, but for me it has become a lived reality.

Photo by Seth Rockmuller

As a result, I’m not certain which direction this blog will follow. What shall I release? What shall I continue? As the leaves begin to drift down from the trees, autumn seems an appropriate time to sweep away the unessential. Samhain will soon arrive, heralding a new year, a new cycle. Its meaning will be deeper for me this year, as I welcome my ancestors into conversation, and walk on the wild side.

Sharing the Glory

“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature— the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.” ~Rachel Carson

This morning I discovered the above quote on WordPress friend Robin’s lovely blog, which expresses exactly how I feel this morning, as I regain strength. Robin’s fabulous Green Man post  is currently featured on Freshly Pressed. Please visit it to see her photography.

And last but not least, a blessing from a friend:  this morning Sharon sent me this photo she took in the Berkshire countryside yesterday.

Photo by Sharon Lips

To the Edge and Back Again

I have returned from my days at the hospital. Did not fly away this time, though I perched on the edge.

Kats have nine lives.