Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Six months!

"You only live once, but if you do it right... once is enough."

        Today is a very special day; a happy day.  Six months ago today I received a life saving gift that I will cherish forever.  It's been six long months since I received my double lung transplant.  I can hardly believe it's been that long!  So much has happened... so many struggles; and yet so many wonderful moments.
        It is also a sad day, as I remember the reality of the loss of my donor's life for me to be able to be given this second chance to live.  I am eternally grateful to my donor and the donor's family.  I cannot wait to write my letter of gratitude to them.  My heart goes out to them in their time of grief; as they are remembering the six months since their loved one's passing.  It breaks my heart to think about it.
        My sister put it so beautifully as she said, "Dear Lord, please pour down Your grace and blessings on a family who, six months ago, in their moment of profound loss had the courage and generosity to give the gift of life to my sweet sister Julia. We will be forever grateful."  As do many, my family understands the feeling of loss and grief.  And we are... forever grateful for their precious gift.
        I will pray each day for the healing of their hearts.  I will pray each day for the soul of my donor.  I will live each day being grateful for each breath I take; rejoicing in each day I am given to live a full and complete life.  I hope to accomplish so much in my time here on earth.  I am determined to grow stronger in each passing year.  I want to pursue my goals and my dreams... to live the life I never thought I'd get.  Thank you, Lord, for this opportunity... for this blessing!
        Thank you to everyone who has stood by my side through all these months/years.  You help me stay strong; you keep me going.  I am doing so very well and feel so very lucky.
        Here's to the next six months!!  And to the next sixty years!  ;)

Much love,
~Julie Jean

Sunday, September 15, 2013

RaNdOm quick update

"Life is a highway... I wanna ride it all night long..."

        I realize it has been several weeks since my last post.  So I thought I'd write a quick note just saying what's been up lately.  These last few weeks have been crazy busy, and very fun!
        First of all, I GOT GLASSES!!! Ha!  The geek in me is now complete. ;)  I guess I have astigmatism.  So I have to wear these glasses all the time.  Which I don't mind, because they're so freakin cute!  However, I'm still getting used to them.  It still feels really weird, but life is a lot less blurry now.  So that's good.  ;)
        So, I've finished pulmonary rehab.  I'm definitely going to miss the team I worked with.  They were all so kind and precious!  I'll even miss some of the people I worked out with.  Especially one sweet dear lady who expressed how much she was going to miss me the day I left... "I'm going to miss you so much.  I love you and am so proud of you.  Know we are praying for you."  So sweet!  She really touched my heart.  The therapists were all wonderful people.  So glad I got to work with them, even if it was for a short time.
        Sometimes I sit and think about all the people who have helped me through this journey - all the nurses, therapists, doctors, assistants - just everybody.  Some of them I work with almost on a daily basis, others I probably will never see again.  I wish I could express how grateful I am to each and every one of them.  Before I leave them, I do try to let them know how much I appreciate their hard work... I hope they realize it.  It means a lot.
        Now, I'm going to probably get a membership to a gym... because I definitely want to keep on working out!  I want to get stronger and stronger.  I'm still riding my bike, which I absolutely love!  But I want to reach full capacity within this first year post transplant - and this month it'll be six months!!  CrAzY!
        I also got my hair cut.  ;)  And I now have bangs!  My hair is still growing back, still not full... but much much better.  So that makes me happy.  I can't wait for it to be completely grown out again.  I am so grateful to my bro-in-law for styling it so it doesn't look so weird anymore.  It now looks somewhat normal.  :)  He also said it looks like it's growing in a lot thicker and a lot curlier.  Which, of course, I would love!
(my new haircut)
        Other than that, I've gone to a hometown fair and also the state fair.  Which were both very fun!  I was super excited for the state fair, because I hadn't gone in many many years and the last time I had gotten sick.  So, this time, we had a blast... I was like a little giddy girl.  ;)
(Joe and I on the lift at the fair)
        Let me think... oh!  I've been getting back into photography a lot!  I've gone exploring a few times with friends and also have been doing a lot of child/baby portraits.  So much fun!  I can't wait to have my own studio someday.  Getting in a lot of experience and practice, for sure.
        Anyway, that's all from me for now.  I know this was random and quick.  I do want to blog more and really want to try to start vlogging again on youtube.  I miss it and I know it'd be neat to share our lives with you... to whoever wants to follow along on the ride!

Much love,
            ~Julie Jean