Sunday, October 3, 2010

Signs of Fall

I can’t believe it’s already October! It seems like we went from the dead of summer to chilly fall in a 24-hour period, which I appreciate. Fall is my favorite season, and last year I spent a good portion of it in the hospital. This year, I intend to enjoy this awesome cool weather by spending lots of time outside.

Unfortunately, the American Heart Association 5k walk that was scheduled for yesterday was postponed until later this month because of flooding. It was a big disappointment, but at least now I have more time to get stronger and continue to nurse my foot. Plus, I got some new cushiony kicks to hopefully prevent future foot injuries that I need to break in. They make me feel like I’m walking on spring boards.

My friend Marguerite is sort of rabid about making t-shirts for various events, so she created awesome “Team Andrea” t-shirts for the occasion. We decided to spend some time outside and sport our t-shirts yesterday, despite the postponement.

In other news, I’m now about ten and a half weeks out from surgery and have shown zero rejection in my last several biopsies. I have one more bi-weekly biopsy in a week and a half, then I will only have them once a month – a huge relief. My biopsies are particularly difficult because I apparently have very small veins. I told my cardiologist that’s the daintiest part of my body.

My latest excitement is the development of diabetes. I wasn’t responding to the meds the way the doctors expected, so they tested to see if my pancreas is working. It turns out, my pancreas seems to be working part-time, leaving me with an unusual sort of hybrid of type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Having one of the more straightforward versions is just too boring for me, I guess. I like to keep things exciting. Apparently my pancreas was damaged either when I had multi-organ failure last year or maybe during transplant. So we are experimenting with meds to see what works best. Ideally, I won’t require insulin over the long-term, but right now I inject myself once a day. It’s no fun, but I’m getting used to it. It’s not nearly as scary as I had expected.

My biggest news is that I’m planning to return to work on November 1! I’m very excited about resuming my normal life and using my brain again!

Even as I’m so excited about regaining some normalcy, I remember that so many others are in different stages of this disease. One of my heart failure buddies is on hold (not working, not feeling good), waiting to see if her own heart recovers and she can avoid transplantation altogether. Another just got an LVAD (left ventricular assist device) put in a couple of days ago to bridge her to transplant. Yet another young woman I know in Canada has been awaiting a heart for over a year. I hope that by sharing my small victories and bits of progress, I can reassure these friends that things will get better. I’m a different person than I was a year ago – you will feel good again one day, too.

Now, I’m off for a stroll in the crisp fall air…


  1. Happy Fall Andrea! I was just catching up on your blog and so happy for your progress!! You are such an inspiration! Thanks for sharing this amazing journey of strength, humor, fear and success!! Love from the Routt family! Linda Barnes :)

  2. Fall is the best season of all! I remember last year I went into the hospital and the trees were just turning, and when I got out, almost all the leaves were gone! What a rip off. :)

    I'm so glad the diabetes isn't quite as scary now. You can totally do this missy.

    And as an aside- do the t-shirts say "Recycle your parts"? If so, AWESOME.

  3. Hmmmm . . . that background looks a bit familiar . . . such a pleasure to meet you! Sorry we didn't have more time to chat. Watching one kid play and keeping one kid who doesn't want to be there occupied keeps me a little distracted. And to be honest, I was a little in awe of meeting you, knowing what you've been through. You guys look great in the picture. Continue to take good care of yourself.

  4. It is so great that you have such a strong support team! Keep up the good work/getting ready for the 5k, the one I did the weeked here for the American Heart Assoc. was pretty laid back, most people were walking at a mall pace and I would say 3/4 of the people only walked a mile.

  5. You look great Andrea and we LOVE the shirts!! Your willingness to share your journey is absolutely an inspiration to many!
    Hugs to you from Texas!
    Bob & Melanie

  6. I'm late commenting. I tend to catch up on posts 2 and 3 at a time. But just wanted to comment that I am SO happy to hear the insulin shots are temporary. This is tremendous news. Hopefully another thing you can soon put behind you