Monday, December 21, 2009

lucky 70!

This is my 70th post! I don't know if 70 is perceived to be lucky like 7 but I hope so, because this is probably the most serious thing I have ever written about.

20 years ago, my uncle Danny needed a kidney transplant. He was able to get a matching kidney from his mom, and for two decades it worked great! It is great that it worked for as long as it did, but while I was in Australia he started going into kidney failure again. People on both sides of our family started getting tested to see if they could be potential donors for Danny.

It is harder to find a match this go around because of the 2 different kidneys, his and his mom's. My mom told me I would probably not be a match, but I wanted to make sure. I knew going into this that I have a history with needles and such, so it was no surprise to me when I passed out and woke up in the ER of UTMC with an IV. Great, just great. I was informed a week later by the nurse that I was not a match either which is a huge bummer.

There have been 2 new options for Danny. One was a nationwide donor "pool" which was basically a group of 9 people who all needed donors, and the donors were all close-ish matches. It fell through recently when one of the donors backed out. Also, bummer.

Currently, we are hoping that an experimental therapy in Maryland works out. What I understand (and how my mom explained it) is that they give him a drug that "tricks' his immune system into accepting the close matches, which there are 2 of here in Knoxville. It is all very preliminary right now and we are all hoping to hear more news soon.

Danny is an engineer and is married to my mom's youngest sister Devah, who teaches kindergarten. They have 2 awesome and hilarious kids. Chloe is in 7th grade and is a smiley, peppy little cheerleader! Molly is in 5th grade and reminds me so much of myself when I was younger. She calls me Big M and she, naturally, is Little M.

I can't even imagine to be going through what they are currently, and especially during the holidays. Anyone who reads this please keep my uncle Danny and his family in your thoughts and prayers that he finds a match soon and is healthy in 2010!

Monday, December 7, 2009

hey world

I have been home almost a month now and I thought I would do a little wrap-up of sorts of my Australia trip.

I'm still not quite sure which adjectives to use to accurately describe it all. I LOVED being a temporary Australian! I love the people I met along the way and I can't wait to meet back up with them over the coming years. I definitely learned some lessons along the way.

Starting with it reinforced the fact that I have too much stuff. I took one suitcase and a backpack with me (granted it was pretty heavy...and I came back with 2 additional bags) and I could have left half of THAT stuff at home. I took clothes that I wore a lot, but never touched some things. In addition to clothes, I took 4 pairs of shoes, some assorted books and my laptop and such. Now that I am home and have a whole closet and more than 4 pairs of shoes to pick from it is a bit overwhelming. I have enough tshirts for probably 8-10 people. Oh my. Also, I had one towel and a shammy in Australia and I was fine. I have waaaaayyyy too many towels for one person.

I also learned that I honestly really love America. Not in an obnoxious flag-tshirt-wearing-bumper-sticker-on-my-SUV-sporting-we-are-better-than-any-other-country-in-the-world way, but in a genuinely interested and thankful way. I met people on exchange (and I won't say from which state) who knew absolutely nothing about the US. I am happy that my parents instilled a certain sense of history in my sister and I and it made me pretty happy to be able to explain things about America that people from other countries may not have why we celebrate Thanksgiving and what's the deal with our flag. And what are chili fries...but that is another story :)

After being so far away, no distance will ever compare and I feel like I can handle literally anything that is thrown at me now. I don't feel as stressed as I used to and I find myself using Nah Worries on a daily basis.

Traveling the coast was BY FAR the best experience of the trip. It was so much fun to have a taste of backpacking, and I am ready to take off again! This time to Peru, wooooo! It was great fun to meet other travelers and hear their stories. So inspiring.

Since I have been back it has been way more difficult to get back in the groove than I had anticipated. I don't know what I was expecting or hoping for but it has definitley been different. Seeing my family and my friends has been awesome! But I'm not in class, like a lot of my friends, or needed at meetings/shows/group projects and finding a purpose once again has been pretty draining. I'm back with mom and dad for now, and I knew I wanted to stay at home through the holidays. I've been hoping to have a plan in motion by the beginning of the year.

And now Christmas is upon us! Even though I lost the fight for a real Christmas tree to my mom, the house sure looks lovely and festive! There was even some unheard-of snow yesterday! I'm enjoying this season and am holding on to Marley's words that every little thing's gonna be alright:) No worries, mate!

PS: I am very much enjoying being free from Voldemort, aka the very loud and inconsiderate neighbor I had for 4 months:) Bethany is much better; nice and quiet.