Sunday, August 21, 2011

A lot can happen in a year

For those of you with a Facebook (FB) page (and if you don't have one, don't worry I'll explain what I'm talking about) you've probably noticed the little box on the left side of the screen that pops up every now and then with a status that you posted on this date last year. 

So, on this day last year my status update said this:

Hesitant about posting this because I don't know if it will happen but I'm planning on going to church tomorrow. I made it last week and I want to go tomorrow if I can. Hoping I feel well enough :-)

It looks like August 21st landed on a Saturday in 2010 and that happened to be the time I was on dialysis and I'm not sure if I knew when/if I was having a transplant or not by then (I'm guessing not. I don't think everything cleared until September.) I was very, very sick and dialysis was awful (plus, my dialysis center had no clue what they were doing with me which only added to my list of Traumatic Events in My Life That I Want to Forget. And no, I'm not still bitter about that, why do you ask? :-p ) 

The point is, I barely made it to church. I barely went anywhere other than the hospital. Church was just about the only non-hospital outing I could do IF I had enough strength and energy to do it. That, plus it was a pain to try and dress nice with tubes in my shoulder and stomach without a bandage showing around my collar or a funny looking bulge in my side. 

Today, I woke up early this morning, (something that almost never happens whether I'm sick or not) I took a quick shower, (I couldn't shower while I had the tube in my shoulder and when I could shower again I would do it in the afternoon so I could take as long as I wanted because I tired super easy) I ate breakfast, (I could hardly eat anything because my stomach was so upset all the time and nothing tasted good) I wore a dress, (without trying to hide any tubes) and I went to church.

And then... I drove myself home. (I'm super proud of this one!)

I didn't even think about whether or not I felt well enough to go to church this morning I just got up and went. I didn't try to gauge how nauseous I was and whether or not I could eat without throwing up I just had a bowl of cereal. I didn't have to try on several different outfits because nothing looked right and I didn't look at myself in the mirror and sigh because of how sick (read: ugly) I looked and felt I just put on a fun, polka-dot dress and twirled in front of the mirror because I felt cute and girly (and no one was watching). 

If you would have said to me last year "Kristin, in exactly one year from today, you are going to be an entirely different person and you will be well again." I would have looked at you and laughed before saying something super pessimistic and sad and dramatic like "No, I'm not ever going to be well again, I don't even know what well looks like and I'm never going to change. You can't say that, you don't know, you're just trying to give me hope by saying nice little cliché things and it's NOT WORKING!" (I did actually say something similar to this to someone very close to me who was trying to tell me that things will change, because they always do and I didn't believe her. I do now.)

This was in July of last year so it's close enough. This was another rare day when I made it to church and we snapped this picture because my dad and I wore matching clothes without planning to. And I'm not even gonna say what I think of when I look at this picture....

I took this today with the help of my dirty, smudgy mirror (I need to clean that!) I can see a HUGE difference between the two pictures and I have a very different reaction when I look at this one then the other. 

A lot can happen in just one year. Sometimes bad, sometimes good, usually it's a lot of both but in the end... it's all for good, because that's what God promises. 

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Heartland Baptist Bible College

Almost two years ago, I attended a tiny, strict little Baptist Bible college in Oklahoma City affectionately known to me and my family as Heartland (HBBC). I was very nervous about going to college and as I had several options I could have chose from, I wondered constantly about whether I had made the right choice by going to Heartland.
We all wore matching hoodies because we're cool like that. ;-)

Well, God made it very clear to me that I had made the right choice and I was no longer wondering about what things would have been like if I had gone a different route. I fell in love with my little college, it was perfect for me, and I was perfectly content to spend the next 2-4 (or more!) years of my life there. The environment was safe and fun, the people were so kind, helpful and Godly, many of them wanting to go into ministry full time, the staff/faculty were great teachers and preachers and made such a good influence on my life... you get the picture, I couldn't have been happier to be in such a wonderful place.

Then I came home for Spring Break. I was so excited to have a break from school, I had planned to try to catch up on some schoolwork but that never happened, I was too busy spending time with my family. Then, the day before I went back to school, I had a doctor's appointment and the routine tests came back abnormal. Very abnormal.

I made it back to school, though and tried to shove my worries into the back of my head. I was fine! I was so happy! I had a plan for my life that I was excited about! Besides, God wanted me at college, surely He wasn't going to take that away.

About a month after the doctor appointment, and after a new bottle of pills was added to my collection, I began to have some serious complications. Of course, I didn't think they were serious. There was some pretty major swelling in my legs, so bad that a lot of my shoes wouldn't fit but I just popped my diuretic pill regularly throughout the day and wore compression hose, no biggie. Then I started to feel like my heart was popping out of my chest and I couldn't catch my breath just walking to and from my classes and that was new, seeing as how I had been walking to and from classes for months by that time and hadn't had any problems before. Oh well, it's probably just a side effect from the meds, I'll call my mom, she'll call the doctor, we'll change things around a little bit and I'll just leave earlier for my classes so I can walk slower. Aside from that, I'm fine!

Banquet night with all my friends and then we went bowling afterwards. It was perfect!

Most of you know the story. I was not fine. So far from fine that I was actually at serious risk of... something more serious and there really isn't any explanation for why I was even walking around at that point except that ignorance is bliss. I didn't know anything was wrong (well, really wrong anyway) and I wanted to go to the mall with my friends, or hang out in the game room and play some pool, or sit in the snack shop playing board games.

I got called out of class one day by the Dean of Women and was told that I had to go to the ER and that my mom was already on her way up. When you're in serious condition, the ER moves you to a room quick and the 30 minute wait time in the OKC ER waiting room should have been a big clue to the fact that I was not ok. It slowly dawned on me later, especially when I was told that I didn't just have swelling in my legs, I had swelling in my entire body, including my lungs (explaining the shortness of breath) and was basically drowning from the inside out. Gross, I know, it's even more gross when you realize you've been living like that for months. Another day or two and I would have been in congestive heart failure.

That was the week we found out that my kidneys were failing and I only had so much time before they completely shut down. I needed a transplant and possibly dialysis. Fun. And the rest is all history, you all know how I got so sick and the transplant process was moving so. slow. that I ended up needing dialysis for a few months before my dad was cleared to give me his, we had the surgery, and then it took me the better part of the year to get well again.

My volleyball team, the Amazing Anywho's. :-) 

All the while, Heartland was in the back of mind. You see, they made sure me and my mom were taken care of while we were there. They came to visit me as often as they could, always praying with me before they left and seeing if there was anything they could do. I got the transplant during the following semester and they let me know that they were praying for me during chapel service that day and that they were continuing to pray for me during the faculty prayer meetings. Again, they came to visit me and make sure we had everything we needed and always prayed with me before they left.

Yesterday, I just dropped my sister off at Heartland for her first semester. It was great to see the school again and great to visit with so many friends. I realized this morning that if I hadn't gotten sick and I would have been able to come then this semester would have been my second to last semester before finishing up my Secretarial degree. I came in the middle of the school year and so I had to do 5 semesters but I didn't mind. I was even considering adding an education minor that would have meant more semesters. I would have been a sophomore and more than halfway done with my major. I might have been asked to be an RA like several of my friends were or I might have been able to get a job on-campus working in the library (which is where I wanted to work but the jobs were already filled).

I don't know if being a student at Heartland again is in my future. But whatever path God decides to lead me down, Heartland will always be a special place for me. It will always be my favorite little Bible college and I will take every opportunity I can to visit, to sit in on chapel or church services, to see my friends and to remember how God used the people there in big, powerful ways during my illness and I will be forever grateful for the support system I have there.

We went to the zoo one day just because we wanted to. It was sooo fun!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Wedding Roadtrip + some other news

Pretty much had a blast this past week. I got to see tons of friends and we had an AE 17 Reunion. We stayed at a friend's house and we stayed at the Ambassador Hotel in Dallas (more commonly known as the Dallas Ministry Center) and slowly made our way home (or wherever else we were going) from there.

Photo credit: Madi Conrad (10 out of the 16 girls in this picture were all at the wedding!)

I had a blast hanging out with all my friends, some of whom I hadn't seen or talked with for over a year (Even if I did have a good excuse for not keeping in touch I do not want to let it happen again) and we had homemade chocolate truffles, pasta with homemade sauce (what can I say, my friends are talented!) and of course, I don't go anywhere without my beef jerky and sunflower seeds. :-) 

Lauren's wedding was beautifully unique and when I get my photos downloaded I will share some of those in another post soon. I also caught the bouquet!!!! Yes, I'm quite thrilled about that. :-D  There was also lots of dancing and smiling and laughing throughout the day and I couldn't be more excited for my friend and her husband. 

Also, before I left on my trip, I did get my nose pierced.  For real this time. :-) This isn't the best picture of  it but you can see my little diamond on the side of my nose and so far, I really like it. My friends all thought it looked cute or were indifferent to it. What do you think? ;-)

On to some other news, my little sister is going to Heartland Baptist Bible College tomorrow and I'm super excited for her and the fact that I have a perfect excuse to go up and visit my favorite little Bible college and all my friends that are still attending. If you think of her, say a prayer for her as she gets ready to start this new chapter in her life. 

Hope y'all had a great week as well and that the rest of your day is awesome!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm packing today!

Today, I'm packing up my clothes and essentials must-haves in my favorite zebra-striped suitcase (I was so happy when I found this at Dustee's!)
I would love to own the whole set, but I only have the small luggage. I really want the duffel bag in the front though!

Tomorrow I'm meeting a good friend of mine in Oklahoma and I'm hanging out at her house Wed and Thurs with another good friend who is flying in before we go pick up another good friend (yes, I have lots of good friends!) and drive all the way down to E. Texas to go to (you guessed it) a good friend's wedding where we will see a lot of other good friends. 

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited about this. And I wanted to let you all know that I will be taking lots of pictures and I'll have a big post to blog about the trip for when I get back because I'm probably going to be too busy visiting with all my friends to blog. (Well, that and the fact that I'm not sure when I'll have wi-fi either)

I've got some plans-in-progress for when I get back from my trip but you'll have to wait until I get back (because, of course, that's too far ahead to set anything in stone and we all know that our plans don't mean anything if they're not in line with the Master Plan) but if everything works out, I think it will be a really good change for me. 

So, there's your heads-up to be looking for changes when I get back next week and if you read my previous post, I have decided that the jellyfish is a girl and the carrot is a boy. I'm thinking about just calling the jellyfish "squishy" off of  the movie Finding Nemo but that's what I named my pet fish that I had at college (he died, though) and it's not very original anyhow. So I'm open for suggestions on what to name the jellyfish. :-) I think the carrot is just going to Mr. Joe Carrot because I like how that sounds. 

Hope y'all have a great day!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Random Happenings

I don't know if anybody remembers me wanting to get my nose pierced so yesterday, I did it!

Right in the middle of my nose (called the septum, in case anybody thinks that word is fun to say like I do!) and it hurt really bad. 

And I'm TOTALLY kidding!!!! Really, really, for real the septum piercing is fake. I bought this fake body ring at Claire's yesterday and thought it would be funny to freak my mom out (and she was pretty freaked. I wish I had a picture of her face because it was priceless!). Oh, and I'm not kidding about it hurting, the little clasp in the inside pinches pretty bad that when I was wearing it on my lip earlier today my lip started to go numb. :-p

Anyway, just thought I'd share and maybe give y'all a mini-heart attack since I like to play little pranks like that. I'm also going to share with you some other little random things like this Jellyfish that I made!

Isn't it cute!? I'm not quite sure how I got this ^ from this but it worked and I'm really happy with my jellyfish (Haven't decided yet if it's a he or a she... any suggestions? I'm thinking girl what with the pink rosy cheeks and all but it could be a boy too.... I'm so indecisive!)

I also made a carrot! My sister, Mercedes gave me the idea and was pretty much the mastermind behind it all, I just made it. I never would have thought to have made a carrot but I loved the idea when it was suggested and I think it's really cute. I'm currently on a random crochet mission and trying to come up with cute, random things (like carrots and jellyfish! oh, and I made a worm/caterpillar thing but I don't have a picture of that yet) to make and maybe sell.

I'm considering starting my own Etsy business or going to a really neat store that Mercedes took me to yesterday called Alley Cat that sells homemade things (it looks like what I would imagine and Etsy real life store would be. So fun!) and they had some cute crochet plushie animals for sale. My mom has always told me that I could sell the stuff that I make but I never really believed her until I actually saw what was being sold on Etsy and at Alley Cat and it's stuff that I can make! Next time I go there I'm going to ask the manager about selling my stuff and we'll see what happens from there. :-)

On another completely random note (since this is all about being random!) my goober sister is home from camp! Bethany made it home safe today from Louisiana, where she was working on staff at a christian camp all summer and she'll be home a total of 13 days before heading off to Heartland college. I'm only going to get to hang with her about half that time since I'm heading to a wedding/reunion with friends I haven't seen in forever and I'm very excited about it! I anticipate a lot of fun and I'll definitely try to blog and show y'all some pictures if I have internet. 

And I think that's it, for now. I'll write more later but for now, here's another random picture. I love random! :-D

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Happy Birthday LH!

Today, exactly one year ago, I started my little blog Life Happens and it's been the one and only blog that has actually ever made it to one year, with at least one post every month from August 2010 to August 2011

So today, I will give you all the stats that I have on my little blog, as well as link to a few of my posts to highlight the year's worth of posts I have here and then I'll end with why I started to blog and something pithy and sappy to close with. :-) Enjoy!

The total page views LH has: (as of right now when I write this. By the time you read this you will be adding another number to that. Thank you!)


The month with the most views is:


because the two most viewed posts happen to be in November and those are:

UPDATE with 176  views
Update #2 (written by my friend Julie) with 112 views

The post that has the most comments is:

new look, new direction with 7 comments
I just don't want to. with 5 comments

The month with the least amount of posts is:
A tie between
with 2 posts each.

The month with the most amount of posts is:
NOVEMBER with 15 posts

The current number of posts I have published:
(Excluding this one)

And now, here's a review of this year with some blog posts that I picked out. It's not just highlighting the year of posting for this blog but it's highlighting MY year as I shared it with you so I picked out some posts that I thought best did that.

Celebrities and Dialysis
What NOT to say
Phase two in progress
This is taking f.o.r.e.v.e.r.
It's a date
Second by second
I'm HOME!!!
Just like I thought it would be...
That's how it is
Six Impossible Things
Kristi and Lefty
My current project
Long time no blog post!
My OneWord
And then what?

So there you have 16 posts highlighting my year of blogging here on Life Happens and I hope you enjoy looking back through them as much as I have. Some are really snarky and make me slightly embarrassed that I wrote them but I did and I included them in the highlights anyway. Because who really wants to forget that I refused to wear a face mask anyway? :-p

But there are some that I'm proud of and there's some that encouraged me all over again just by re-reading them. Like my Alice in Wonderland's spin-off of believing six impossible things and my recent discovery of my one word theme (it's more of a motto).

Some of them made me laugh, like my silly story of Kristi and Lefty or remembering how I felt like a celebrity (what I assume celebrities feel like, anyway) when the lady at the hair salon knew who I was because I was on the prayer list at her church.

My favorite part about this blog though, are you guys. My readers, my "followers," my main reason for blogging in the first place. And for my last statistic to show...

The total number of comments I have:
(as of right now and counting my own)

Yeah, that's huge. Sure, I've probably got about 20ish posts that don't have any comments but the majority of my posts do all have comments and I've read every single one of and sometimes more than once if they were particularly encouraging. All I can say to that is KEEP EM COMING! :-D 
Oh, and thank you. For reading my little blog and commenting and telling me in person that you've enjoyed reading what I write and for just reading. You encourage me and you inspire me and you're the reason LH has made it a whole year because without you motivating me, I would have stopped.

And the reason I started this blog in the first place? To share with anybody who wanted to know, exactly what was going on with me so that I could eliminate the "telephone" effect where I would tell someone I wasn't feeling good and then a prayer request was sent out and then FB statuses, text messages and emails would be going around where all of a sudden I was getting ready to go to the hospital or I had collapsed on the floor or I had a blood disorder or I was too weak to get out of bed and now everybody was worried and calling trying to get more info. It was a mess trying to sort out the wrong information and tell everybody what actually was going on that I just decided I needed to take control of the information "flow" and that way, there would be no question whether or not it was accurate because it came straight from me and with the blog format, everybody could just copy and paste my blog link and direct everybody to the source.

In a nutshell, I was tired of everybody updating everybody on me and I wanted to do the health updates myself. 

So, here's to another year of Life Happens and we'll see what happens next! 

And here are some pictures that have been posted before plus some new ones. 
The very first picture I ever posted on here. To think I was actually excited about wearing a mask then. 
I also do not miss giving myself those shots. AT ALL. Any of them. 
I never want to have my hair that short again.

Me and my dad about 6 months after surgery.

My first (non-hospital) trip after transplant to visit friends. This was a happy day! :-D

The original me :-)

Another happy day. My sister's graduation and about the time I started to consistently feel good again.

Things hoped for and things not seen. Sums it up good.

Ok, and now, I am really done with this post. It's probably the longest post I've ever done and it's also the first post I've done "ahead" of time. Meaning that I'm writing this the day before it will actually post because on August 4th (today) I'm out doing stuff with my sister-in-law like getting my eyebrows waxed and shopping (because that's what we do best!) and it's really weird to write in this tense and not a future tense like I want to do right now since I'm not writing this today but the day before. Ack! Ok, now I'm really stopping.

Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

And then what?

In about two months it will be my 1 year transplant day. (Nov 4th) and it's been about a year since I started this blog to journal about it. (More on that later)

Last year I could hardly get out of bed and I was going three times a week (for four-five hours at a time) to a dialysis center sitting in a chair while my blood cycled through a machine before switching to my home dialysis which meant spending hours sitting in front of an I.V. pole while I cycled fluid through my belly. Fuuuun....  :-/

Then I got the transplant and then, after 6 long months, I recovered and then.... what?

There's my dilemma. What do I do now that I'm well? How do you exactly move on *mentally* after your physical self goes through traumatic, horrible circumstances? Am I well enough to work? What if I can't handle the stress of "real life?" Should I go back to college? Maybe I'll just keep hanging out at home because I don't know anything else? And the always dreaded: When am I gonna get sick again?

Because for me, there is no "if" about getting sick. I know I'll get sick again, I just don't know when, or how bad it will be, whether or not I'll be hospitalized again or whether or not I'll have to undergo surgery again but it will happen. And I can only hope and pray that it will be nothing more than a cold that I can take Tylenol or Ibuprofen for. 

So... that's where I'm at right now. Sitting at home trying to decide what my next step should be. I played a  game today on my DS where the side of the screen constantly moves forward so you can't go back and you can't go ahead any further than the screen will let you so you never know what's next until it comes into view. If you wait to long and don't move, the side of the screen will start pushing your character forward (and sometimes push you right off the edge of the platform you're on and make you fall into the lava which kills you instantly and then you have to start all over but that starts breaking down my analogy so just disregard.) 

My point is: Mario (the character of the game I was playing) has to move forward or he dies. And I have to move forward or... I... don't die but I don't really live either. I can choose to sit and just sorta get pushed into the future as each day passes and stay stuck or I can choose to get up and move and live and make the next jump and trust that God will show me where to land.

Disclaimer: I do not own Mario.