Sunday, July 22, 2012

It has been quite a while since I have written and I feel like a slacker!! Although lately, my life is chock full of events that I don't think I can really call myself a slacker or lazy. I wish I had more time to devote to this blog .. but when I don't have time to write, it's a constant reminder that I am out doing things and living life because I am NOT sick anymore!

 A lot has happened since the last time I wrote. We have the set the date for our wedding. I got my dress and was taped to be on an episode of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress! I am now working TWO jobs! I applied to graduate school to get my Master's in Nursing Education, I am hoping to start either in the Fall or by January.

 Okay so the health front .. My 6 month bronchoscopy showed MINIMAL rejection. I was treated with a quick steroid burst. I was slightly crazy and irrational for a few days when I was on 50 and 60mg of Prednisone but I am not back to my maintenance dose of 10mg, which doesn't really seem to effect me that much. At the beginning of this week I had another bronch just to check and make sure the rejection was treated with the steroids (and it was - NO MORE rejection!). They actually say with acute mild rejection that treatment with steroids is 98% effective - which is pretty amazing. The word rejection is so scary. But to have it be completely gone with just a little steroid burst and taper is not so bad.

 I started working again per diem in March at my old job in the NICU. With health insurance and wedding plans developing it was really time to start working full time. Unfortunately there were no full time positions available so I sent out my resume. I ended up getting a full time job in a great hospital in the Neonatal ICU. So right now I am on orientation for my new job and still working per diem when I have a free night for my old job! I have some amazing friends at my old job that I really don't want to part with - so it's fun to pitch in and work here and there when they need me. Not to mention the extra money doesn't hurt when you are have your own wedding coming up and a bunch of friends getting married as well!

 On to the wedding. We booked for next year - October 11, 2013! We are having the ceremony at my local church and then the reception will be held in Long Island right on the water! I went to Kleinfeld's in the city (the most amazing bridal store ever) and fell in LOVE with my dress! The episode will be airing during Season 9 which I believe starts in September. I will have an exact date soon and keep everyone updated!!

 And last but not least, yesterday I actually completely a 10K! For anyone who doesn't know conversions, that's just a tad bit over 6 miles! Joey trained pretty hard for it. I feel a little guilty because I didn't train as hard as I said I was going to, because life just got in the way but I finished and crossed the finish line in 1:30 minutes. Considering this time last year I was in a wheelchair and couldn't breathe without oxygen, it's a pretty amazing feat. Besides Joey, I participated with a few of my amazing cysters; Lyndsey, Piper, Bobbi and Gabby. Lyndsey and Piper are also both post-transplant and Bobbi and Gabby have not been transplanted and still ROCKED it!

 All in all, life is pretty freaking amazing right now. I couldn't be happier, I have so many awesome things going on and to look forward to! All this thanks to my donor Angela. For the last 8 months, her and I have made a fabulous team. I can't wait to see what the future holds and to take us on more adventures!! I also think I am going to start working on my letter to her family. I know it's going to take a little while to perfect exactly what I want to get out and make them see how much I love and appreciate their generous gift of life. I still can't believe it's been over 8 months since I got that life changing phone call.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The future Mrs. Monte!

Yes ladies and gentleman, I am officially engaged and the soon to be Mrs. Joseph Monte! I can honestly say that I think my proposal was the best ever - it couldn't have been more perfect!!

I woke up yesterday morning 4/16/2012 and at 7:30am was a little confused to see my cousin Erin in my living room. She had a gift bag from Joey - that had a letter detailing what my day was going to be like! I thought I was just going to have a special birthday celebration - little did I know what this boy has been planning for god who knows how long!! A limo picked Erin and I up at my house and brought us into the city where I met with a personal shopper that we know at Barney's. Joey told me to treat myself to a new outfit for dinner and a pair of shoes (not just your run of the mill shoes, Christian Louboutin's if I pleased!). After finding a fabulous dress, Erin and I had lunch at Fred's, the restaurant in Barney's. The limo then brought me to the Carlyle hotel, where I said goodbye to Erin and headed up to the Salon. I had my hair, makeup and nails done. Joey then met me and escorted me back to our hotel room, where we were upgraded to a suite with two bathrooms, a kitchen and a PIANO! I got ready and we took a stroll to Central Park. He informed me that the restaurant was in Central Park. We walked down the stairs and stopped in front of the Bethesda Fountain, "looking" for the restaurant .. then he grabbed my hands and turned me towards him, professing his love for me and before I knew it, he was down on one knee! People started to clap, and then my friend Melanie who is an amazing photographer came out from the tunnel and informed me that Joey asked her to capture our special moment! He knew that I wanted my engagement in pictures so that I could always remember it. It was perfect and then ring - beyond my wildest dreams! We then had a little photo shoot before we took off for dinner. I still had no clue where we were eating. We had only called our mother's, he told me that dinner was going to be very private and we could make the rest of the phone calls there. Dinner ended up being at Carmine's - and our families were both there! It was absolutely perfect. We are both extremely close with our families, so having them there to share our special moment was amazing!! After dinner we said our goodbyes and Joey and I went to a rooftop bar at the Peninsula Hotel - the view was breathtaking. We stayed the evening at the hotel - and when we returned there were rose petals leading to the bedroom and shaped in a heart on the bed .. and a bottle of champagne and desserts to congratulate us!

The location also could not have been more perfect. It was a beautiful, sunny day in April - 86 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. Flowers starting to bloom all around the park. It was gorgeous. He proposed in front of the fountain because of what the fountain stands for. It is a large angel sculpture looking down on the fountain with four little cherubs which represent health, purity, temperance and peace. He thought it was very appropriate considering all that I have been through in the last year!

I will never forget this day for the rest of my life. Every single thing was perfect - Joey planned everything to a "T"! I am going to marry my best friend. I am living and breathing with amazing new lungs and life seriously could not be any sweeter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

PFTs = 95% =) HOLLLA!

I was actually stressing myself out over today's appointment. The past month I definitely haven't been AS great with my working out routine as I had been during previous visits so I was a little anxious that I would see a decline in my PFT's, X-RAY etc. As of April 1st I have gotten myself back on the exercising everyday band wagon. I have printed out inspirational pictures and hung them over my treadmill.

If this little boy isn't the biggest motivator ever, I don't know what is. You really don't have any excuses after looking at him, running with a huge smile on his face! All the worrying however was for nothing. My PFT's have increased and are the highest that they have been post-transplant, and I honestly think EVER in my life ... my fev1 is 95%!!! That's with slacking on the treadmill. I keep thinking if I am consistent with working out .. I wonder what they could be at my next appointment next month!! I have also printed out a calendar and am filling in the miles that I run/walk daily - I think seeing how far I am going is a really good motivator as well! I don't want to see any blank days!!
I am so incredibly thankful to my donor. It is National Organ Donation Awareness month and I really want to help get the word out about how amazing organ donation can be .. I am volunteering at a table on friday to spread some awareness and hopefully recruit some new donors!!
I'm also back to work!! I am going through orientation right now .. but it feels amazing to actually have a job again and be part of the working class! I am just working on a per diem basis right now .. to slowly get back into the routine - but I think that I'll be ready to go back to full-time status again soon!! Either that - or continue per diem and go back to school to start my masters! Decisions, decisions!!