This year Danny is listing with Johns Hopkins for a double lung transplant. My Aunt Tama completed a part of her cancer treatment at Johns Hopkins this year. And Lauren, who is to marry my cousin Brendan in June 2017, works at Johns Hopkins. This was just one of those God has this all figured out, look at how he has connect us, moments and so we captured it. Thank you God for the access we have to such excellent care – even in our family. As a side note, Lauren was finishing her time on the floor of the ICU unit Danny was in – but we missed seeing her since he was released before the following weekend from ICU.
Thanksgiving was our last holiday before listing and ultimately new lungs. We looked at this event as a chance to practice our new way of life: slow and easy. Danny and I both have family in the area so it is not uncommon for us to do our best to spend time with each family on any given holiday. We can split our time and catch our breath in the car. This can be a little tiring for a healthy person – so someone with 23% lung function, it is exhausting. As we prepared to list the doctors reminded us that the wait could be long (likely up to several months) and Danny would continue to get sick, very sick. As far as plans one of our docs actually said I would expect a lot of Netflix and couch time. Well this was our first chance to put into practice moving slower.
Our effort to take it easy started a decision about our meal contributions. Danny is our resident chef. He is both good at cooking and enjoys it, so this job is his. Thanksgiving being one of Dan’s favorite holidays, focused on the food, he has always enjoyed making his contribution: an attempt at the best stuffing. Over the years he has tried homemade corn bread stuffing (where you even make the corn bread a few days in advance), a recipe with deli fresh chorrizo, and a version with fruit. What stuffing will it be has turned into a game of ours during this holiday season! But this year Dan waited and waited and waited util he finally said- you think I can pass this year? I just don’t have it in me. Things are different now.
This Thanksgiving was the true start of life slowing down – beginning with our food contributions (Luckily the Heppes Family Thanksgiving includes 30+ and there are plenty of contributors), followed by the canceling of our attempts to make it to several family gatherings. Instead we opted to just attend our traditional Thanksgiving meal at my parents with the Flaherty gang. And finally we planned a morning completely free of stress or worry or even clocks and just hung out. Last year we were to spend Thanksgiving at the Macy’s Day Parade and in preparation we watched all of the Friend’s Thanksgiving episodes. In the past we would always watch one or two – but last year we watched them all. So this year we decided to make it a part of our traditions. So we grabbed our warm red Starbucks’ cups and in between my cooking (stuffed mushrooms ~the thing I do make that Danny loves~stuffing from a bag, and a bundt cake), we watched Thanksgiving in New York City.
Eventually we found our way to the showers – which was good since our family photographer (Bridget) came by to take our Christmas Card photo.
From there we ventured over to my family’s home.
It was a good Thanksgiving with everyone around and a lot of yummy food. But interestingly enough this year I spent a little more time sharing about Dan’s current state and what the following week would hold for us, listing, than I had before. I explained what this phase meant and how we could get a call at anytime, but it was more likely we would be spending the next few months laying pretty low. Sort of odd how this was our last holiday with these lungs, yet the holiday we spent the most time thinking about them.
The rest of the weekend was very low key. We caught a movie when Danny was feeling good enough to get out of the house. I watched all of the Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life on Netflix, which I had been excited about for quite some time (it was AWESOME). And one of my favorites of any holiday season : a Heppes Family Card Night. This is one of our best family traditions and it was one of my most cherished moments of the whole weekend.
As we settled into Sunday night of the holiday weekend, pondering our thoughts of what to expect, I found myself with a sense of peace. This next phase would be hard to prepare for and even more challenging to live through, but I believed we could do it. In fact I was looking forward to the patience I would learn, the importance of living in the moment that would become my daily life, and perhaps even finding a few ways to be as ready to as possible. In fact I wondered if we could find away to just relax and wait. Soon we would learn, God had other plans…..
Thanks so much for reading and remember to make it a great day!