4.26.2009

First Person Consent

Georgia is now a first person consent state. This means that if you go to Donate Life Georgia and sign the donor registry, you have stated that you want to be an organ donor and your wish may be carried out. As of right now, LifeLink, the organ procurement agency, will still talk to your family. LifeLink will honor the wishes of your family at a time when decision making is no doubt difficult. That is why it is so important that you discuss your wishes with your family. If your family knows your wishes, the decision will be less stressful if the time should ever come that it has to be made.

Please make sure that you have this discussion with your family. Do not rely on the registry or on your driver's license to make sure you are an organ donor. Go to the Donate Life Georgia website and join the registry, then have that discussion with your family. I know that it may be difficult and a hard topic to discuss, but if the time comes that the decision has to be made, make sure that you had a voice. Do the research and make an educated decision. Organ donation saved my life, and I am thankful for those who make the choice to become an organ donor. The decision rests on you, but be sure you make the decision for yourself.

Let me know in the comments if you are an organ donor.

3.31.2009

3 years!


I have been telling myself I was going to update this thing for over a week now!

Last Thursday, March 26 was my three year transplantiversary! I believe this has been the best one yet. The first one was great because I had made it a year, and the second one was as well, because I was feeling more like a normal person again. This year though was awesome because I am completely healthy not only in how I feel but I am beginning to look healthy again.

It was great to have some family and friends over to my parent's house for a cookout on March 22. I love when everyone gets together and has a good time. We had a spread of hamburgers, hot dogs, and all the rest that goes along with a springtime cookout.

It is on days like these that I am really aware of how blessed that I am. God has been so great to my family and me. There were kids running everywhere with mom's chasing after them. My brother's wife is pregnant with their first child and my first niece/nephew. There are a million reasons to be excited and thank God for my many blessings.

3.10.2009

Update

I don't know......I just can't seem to find time lately to get on here and update. It has been so long, I doubt anyone even comes here to check up anymore.

Anyways, I am doing well. Had a little scare last November with some rejection. I had a couple other bouts with rejection but this was by far the most troublesome. At one point the doctors thought the PSC had returned. After a biopsy, some IV Solu-medrol (methylprednisolone), and a lot of worrying, it was determined that it had not come back and I was in the clear. Most of that came about because the doctors tried once again to take me off of prednisone.

My body just loves the stuff for some reason even though I hate it. So once again, I am on prednisone and tapering little by little. I am now on 15 mg a day and should be lowered to 10 mg at the end of the month.

I had a lot of people praying for me and I know that that had a lot to do with the outcome. God has been good to me and though I have gone through some tough times, I have never doubted his presence.

It is hard to believe that March 26 will be my three year transplantiversary. Time flies when you are having fun and healthy.

So that is my update for now. I need to try this more......I forget just how therapeutic it is for me to write these things down from time to time. It seems so easy for me to let life get in the way.

7.21.2008

Emory Visit

On Monday, I took a trip to Emory University for routine bloodwork to make sure my liver was still doing well. For the first time since my transplant, every single number was in the normal range. I have been working out, I am getting stronger, and I feel genuinely healthy for the first time in a long, long time. Dr. Spivey, the ultimate Southern gentleman and my hepatologist, came in the little room wearing a blinding smile and I knew that good news was to follow. He looked at me smiling and said, "Son, you can't get any better than this!" At that moment, I knew that it was time that I stopped living scared and started living.

With that said,

I have been posting for the past couple of years on this blog about my liver transplant and my life. I will still be posting here from time to time, but I want to keep this blog more focused on organ donation awareness and transplant news.

I have realized over the past couple weeks that it is time I turn the page and begin a new chapter of my life. The past chapters have set the stage for the rest of the story. I will never forget my transplant and the road that has made me the man that I am today. By no means do I wish or expect for my road to be easier, but frankly I am tired of living while looking behind me. For too long, I have let my circumstances beyond my control and my past define who I am. This blog is symbolic in saying that today is the day that I am setting my eyes forward to the great things to come in my life.

God has a plan for me and it is time I take hold of that plan and start walking forward. Today is the first step of that journey! My eyes are forward!

In a symbolic gesture of the change in my life, I have started a new blog, called Life of a Carpenter's son. The name may change, but I felt like I had to begin somewhere. On this blog I intend to chronicle my day to day life for the world, my friends, my (future) children, and myself.

7.01.2008

Wanted


I went and watched the movie, Wanted, the other night with Ghobad. The movie was awesome, or as Ghobad puts it......."That movie was SICK, man!" I had read in a couple of reviews that it was too unrealistic and they made it unbelievable. The review wasn't wrong but I don't think that was a reason to knock on the movie. It was based on a comic book of the same name, so all of the superhero stuff and crazy action shots were to be expected. I would go watch the movie again in a heartbeat.

I give the movie an A-. It was no Gladiator or Transformers, but it was good nonetheless.



Next up is Hancock.

6.29.2008

Blegh!


I am dreading getting up in the morning to head to Emory for a Remicade treatment.

Sitting in a chair with an IV in my arm for more than three hours is definitely not my definition of fun.

I always feel better when it is finished though, that is one positive!

I also get plenty of reading done while I am there. Second positive!

6.25.2008

Golf


I am going to play golf today for the first time since my transplant. It is going to be ugly!

I went to the driving range a couple of times but this will be the first time back on the course. Wish me luck!

I am hoping to shoot under 1200 and lose less than a box of balls! Hopefully I will not end up like this guy losing a bag of clubs as well!

I am excited about getting back on the links, but I will always believe that golf is not a game for people who are supercompetitive like myself.

Update: Not going to put my score down here......just know that it wasn't pretty but I did meet the goal I set above. At least I didn't throw my clubs or choke anyone!

6.24.2008

Ramblings about my life

I am only 27 years old, but I feel like I am much older in life experiences. Some who read this may laugh at that statement because I am only 27 years old. How much can you really learn in only 27 years? In those few years I have been healthy, I have been sick, I have faced my own death, dealt with the death of someone close to me (thankfully only one), lost friends, gained others, pushed people away, and pulled some close, been in places and done things that I am not proud of, as well as things that made me proud of myself. Within all of that, I had to grow up pretty fast.

I am in no way building myself up to have gone through more than the next person. We all deal with our own troubles and heartaches that come our way. I know there are people out there who could make my life sound like a walk in the park. Nonetheless, this is my blog and I feel like I have something to say.

I am a Christian. I am not perfect. Anyone who has spent a lot of time around me, or maybe just a little, will know that I am far from perfect. My goal each day is to live a life that I will be proud of when I am old. I try to live a life so that the people around me will be proud to call me their friend.

Some people may look at my life as boring. I do not drink, nor do I smoke. I try my best to hold my tongue. I teach Sunday School and a Bible study at my small, country church. My faith is the most important things in my life. To people on the outside looking at my life, I probably have very little to offer. People may wonder, "How can that life be fun or exciting?" or "There is no way I could handle being with someone who lives that type of life."

As for me, I enjoy my life. Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that I can go to a concert and have fun and act like an idiot with the best of them. I can go to a bar and hang out with friends or enjoy a Braves game in Atlanta. My life is as exciting and as fun as the next person's life.

I have been blessed with a second chance at life. By the generosity of someone else, I have been given the opportunity to live my life to the fullest. I truly enjoy each minute that I have with those that I love. I may get upset from time to time and not show it. I am human. Things bother me; things get to me. I open my mouth when I should keep it closed. I have to make choices about my life and there are times that I should let others make choices about theirs without my input. I just hate to see people that I love poison themselves with things that bring short-lived happiness.

I do not drink or smoke because I am scared of what might happen to me. I am a walking miracle. I do not want to have to go through the hell of a liver disease again for a few hours of fun. I have fun at a concert because I can hear and enjoy the music that God has given me a second chance to hear. I can dance because He has given me the strength to get out of bed. I can sing because he has given me a voice to use. I am constantly thanking God for the opportunities that He has given me in my life. I thank God for the people he has given me to share these moments of happiness.

There are times when people think that I am judging them because I am concerned about them. I know what a liver disease feels like. I have seen people battle lung cancer and emphysema first hand. I have lost one and almost lost another on different occasions to those terrible conditions. It breaks my heart to see the people that I love and care about putting things in their body that lead to disease and pain. I have witnessed the pain that alcoholism and addiction brought to my loved ones. I am in no way judging others for the things that they do; because with very little searching, you could find plenty to return the favor.

I have lost friends and people that I care about to this issue. There are times that I have asked myself, "Is it worth it to even mention this?" Each time I say, "Yes!" My fear is that people will walk away from this post and say, "Josh is judging me because I drink." I hope that by reading this those I love will see that I have no problem with a glass of wine with dinner or before bed. I have no problem with a couple of beers at a concert or other social gathering. I fear for those that I love because I have seen others destroy their lives with excess.

As for me, I have been given a second chance at life and I do not want to use this chance to destroy the gift that has been given to me. I enjoy my life and I feel that I have plenty to offer anyone who wants to be my friend. I love recklessly, and will do anything for a friend in need. None of us are really that different. Just as Collin Raye said in one song,

I laugh, I love, I hope, I try
I hurt, I need, I fear, I cry
And I know you do the same things, too
So we're really not that different, me and you

I love the people around me more than I could ever show them. I hope that my loved ones do not let silly things keep them from being around me and having the fun that we are meant to have together. Do not view my life as boring, I enjoy my life and I love my life.

6.20.2008

Update on Grandpa

My grandpa went to the doctor yesterday to meet with the doctor about options for treating his prostate cancer. He came home in much better spirits because the doctor's said that they caught it very early. The doctors suggested he start radiation soon. I believe they are going to implant something in his prostate within the next week or so that will treat what they need to be treated. Keep him in your prayers.