The Ups And Downs Of Transplant Recovery

At this moment, Anna is peacefully resting. Over the past 24 hours that has not been the case. She has been feeling bloated, filled with lots of fluid and the usual post surgery/pain med back up in the poop arena. She stopped taking pain meds except for Tylenol a day and a half ago. She rode some nasty waves of all over feeling icky to finding some place of calm in her mind, even if she didn’t really feel it in her body. She used all relaxation techniques: massage, guided imagery, relaxation breathing… They were helpful at times, but at others she just couldn’t take it. Unfortunately there was no relief to be found when she hit the wall. It was rough! I was able to walk away last night and hand the baton over to her dad who had the overnight shift with her. He got two hours of sleep. It really helps to have at least two of us here so we can take turns resting and implementing self care. Sadly, Anna doesn’t have that luxury.

Beyond the most recent crisis, Anna was cleared for thin liquids a few days ago. She has zero restrictions regarding eating and drinking. Her first request was a Starbuck’s Passion Iced Tea Lemonade. She savored it! Of course, the bloating and horrible feeling removed any desire to eat or drink for a few days. Just before resting she enjoyed apple juice and some almonds. A sign that she is moving in the right direction.

I think they are removing two of her chest tubes tomorrow so she will be down to two. She started with six. The chest tubes add to her discomfort but lately she said the transplant trauma and chest tubes were not her problem. She was moved out of the ICU and thankfully into a room just like the ICU rooms. There are two places a lung transplant patient can end up. One is about seven years old, spacious, light, about as enjoyable as a hospital room can be. The other is old, tiny, and depressing. What a gift it was when she learned she would be moving to the new floor. Lots of celebration!!! An interesting note. In the ICU Anna was in room 7 on 7 West. Her new room is 7 on 7 East. She got her call that lungs were available at 7p on October 7. We love all the sevens!

Just wanted to keep those of you who are following Anna’s progress through these blog posts informed if you are wondering about how she’s doing. 🙂

Calming Words

Calming Words

I’m not feeling well (cold), my husband’s bother in law died suddenly a few days ago (heading out of town today for his memorial), Anna was in the hospital for a few days (uncontrollable nausea), I have lots to grade (adjunct professor), and I am perplexed about what to do regarding my business office (I love my office and don’t want to leave but rent is ridiculously expensive and my lease ends soon). As I focused on all of these circumstances I felt overwhelmed by a sense of hurtling through life too fast. So I said to myself, “Breathe, Karen. It’s ok. You are going to get through each of these pieces.” I relaxed a bit. When I woke up this morning, I looked at my daughter Rebekah’s facebook post and I saw these words by Lysa TerKeurst. I found this incredibly helpful for me. Maybe you will, too! 🙂

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Self Care

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Self Care

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Self care is a critical practice most of us long to enact but few of us have the time…at least that’s what we say. Reality is, you actually don’t have the time not to use self care. Without self care, you sabotage and run yourself into the ground. Self care is something you do that restores you physically, mentally and spiritually. Not all self care activities address all areas of need, but some do. Not to be missed are the basics like adequate rest, nourishing food, basic hygiene, shelter, clothing and exercise. Once those are met, it’s important to add in at least a few minutes a day of additional self care. Think through activities that you enjoy, that relax you, that fill you up. Write them down and keep a running list. That way, when you’re not sure what to do you can look at what you have already discovered.

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Codependency & Boundaries

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Codependency & Boundaries

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Codependency and boundaries go together like exhaustion and sleep. Essentially, boundaries are the antidote to codependency. Codependency has many nuances but in a nutshell it is thinking for others. If you are codependent it could be that you think you know what others want from you and function in a way to get their approval. It may be that you rescue, save or solve for others, believing it’s out of the kindness of your heart, but deep down it’s your way of gaining a sense of purpose or validation. Most people, if not all, have some codependent traits.

When it comes to boundaries, the most obvious is your skin. You are responsible for everything from the outermost layer of your skin, in. Our skin literally separates us from others. You are not responsible for others, unless they are incapable of caring for themselves, for instance, your three year old child but not your 30 year old! Boundaries also clarify what you like and don’t like. You develop a clear sense of who you are. This clear understanding is not based on what others want from you (or what you think they might want from you) but on what you want or think or agree with or…

Use your Awareness skills to notice when you are being codependent and begin to define where you begin and end.

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Processing Thoughts & Emotions

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Processing Thoughts & Emotions

When we are willing to take the time to process through our emotions and thoughts, we give ourselves a gift. It’s the gift of time before reacting. So often we react instantaneously without slowing down and thinking through what’s going on within ourselves. The very first step in processing thoughts and emotions is from Tip #1: Awareness. You have to know what you are feeling and thinking in order to process them.

The process is fairly basic. Identify your thoughts and emotions. Understand how they are connected. Put your thoughts through the fact-checker filter. If it’s not based on fact and is a created story, it’s generally best to let go of the thought. If the thought is based in truth and reality, allow yourself to feel the accompanying emotion for a time. Find out where you have some responsibility or power regarding the situation and take appropriate action (keep it healthy, legal and wise!). If there’s not much you can do, enact self care (again, keep it healthy, legal and wise!).

To learn more, check out the Journey Forward Workbook. Another option is the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon on my website: Journey Forward for Life. If you want to get on my email list and find out as soon as it’s available click the “Sign Up Now’ button.

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Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Awareness

Tips From The Journey Forward Workbook: Awareness

Awareness is the foundation to any change you want to make. Focusing your attention on your mind and body will help you become aware of what you are doing and why you are doing it. When you understand what you are doing, saying, not doing, or not saying, you have a much better chance at actually changing.

Awareness involves giving attention to what you are thinking, emotions you are feeling and body sensations you are experiencing, without judgment. As you notice a thought, let’s say it’s anger, your role is not to judge the anger or tell yourself you shouldn’t be angry.  If you feel tension in your lower back, stay away from reprimanding yourself for not exercising. If you are thinking your boss is an idiot, stay away from shaming yourself. At the awareness phase, it’s all about noticing, just noticing. Awareness without judgment. In the change process, there’s a place for deciding what you want to do about your thought, emotion or body sensation, but it’s not in the awareness phase.

Begin taking time each day simply to notice yourself. Notice your thoughts, emotions and body sensations without judgement. For some, writing these observations down is helpful, for others it’s not. Do what works for you. The most important piece is that you notice and grow in your awareness of yourself.

I’m super excited (emotion) about a new video series I have created (thought). I am aware of a bubbly feeling in my body (body sensation).  It’s the Journey Forward Workbook Video Series designed for those who prefer an audio/visual presentation of the information in the Workbook. It will be available very soon right here on the Journey Forward for Life website!