About Me

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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Strange days, indeed...

I think this is simply hilarious.....

Here's what I just read in my Cedars informational pamphlet.

"Whether you have a long history on dialysis, or have only recently been diagnosed with kidney disease, we welcome you to our program"....Am I boarding the Princess Cruise Line?

Yeah, I bet you're thrilled to get my half million dollar contribution to the Cedars fund!

But I'm not cynical, am I?

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tension Headache

I've basically had a headache since I got back from Toronto 2 weeks ago.

This is not terribly surprising. I've always been plagued by headaches, but even for me this is unusual.

I'm also sleeping over 9 hours a night now-easily. So, I'm starting to wonder...

Some of the ways the body manifests loss of kidney function is exhaustion, headaches, a mental and physical apathy, nausea, loss of appetite. When your kidney(s) function is compromised, you are essentially being poisoned.

Today an enormous manila folder and DVD (entitled "Sharing the Experience") from Cedars Sinai arrived for me to peruse and complete before my appointment on Friday the 1st. This is the "big" meeting. I'll be meeting with my Transplant Surgeon/Urologist (same dude), my Transplant Coordinators, 4 Transplant Nephrologists (3 of whom I met in February), my Transplant Finance Analyst, my Transplant Social Worker and a Clinical Dietitian. I imagine I'll be clinging to hubby's hand throughout the entire 4 hour meeting. That or somehow rocking in fetal position.

So despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, I'm still desperately in denial that this event is on the horizon. It really is amazing how rooted in truth cliches are. "I can't believe this is happening." It's true. I really can't. There's a lot about this that I can't believe. I can't believe I don't have a single family member willing to be tested for me. And I can't believe I have friends and acquaintances and strangers lining up to save my life.

It's shaping up to be an amazing ride....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Don't forget to stop and smell the flowers...

I sat down tonight with the intention of back peddling my last entry. But upon much reflection I reconsidered. To alter my words would only do a disservice to the concept of honesty. A concept I fiercely believe in. It has been a polarizing entry. Some have praised my bravery, with much respect, and others felt it inappropriate (but, really there was only one person who felt that way....God bless my evolved friends!).

Perhaps, with its raw emotion, that entry was shocking because sadly we aren't exposed to enough total honesty in life. I do, however, suspect my words would not have been of note had they been glowing descriptions of sunsets and flowers. Why is it human nature to focus on a singular negative comment and take for granted all the wonderful ones?

So, of course this means if I am going to dish it out, I have to take it. I believe one of the reasons I love being an actress is that I can enhance communication. Stories help us with reflection, introspection and hopefully, growth. Miscommunication breeds such chaos, so I believe, despite any initial sting, the reward is always worth the risk.

So bring it on.

I can't think of a time in my life that has caused me more stress. The stakes are so incredibly high, that I'm certain I occasionally lose perspective. But I never want to become complacent; I always want to evolve. I always want to learn.

And I know I make mistakes along the way. I am flawed. And I am scared.

My true regret over my last entry is that I neglected to address my blessings. I am in genuine awe of those whom have stepped forward to be tested. You can gaze admiringly upon some of their faces here. I know I do. A day doesn't go by where I don't think of them and the beautiful souls they inhabit.

They give me strength.

They give me hope.

They fuel my soul.

How did I get so lucky?

You know, sometimes it's OK to stop and watch the sunsets and smell the flowers...

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chaneling Anne Frank

So this is the entry I've been reticent about committing to.

When I was admitted to Cedars in February, I collected a list of over 30 who expressed their desire to be tested if/when the time came. Now, that the time is "imminent", that list has diminished in size. Greatly. In fact, there are over 10 on the list I haven't heard from at all, some who reneged on their offer, and many "close" friends who haven't said boo.

Before my diatribe gathers steam, I would like to point out some things.

I am not oblivious to the commitment involved. I guess, for me, it's something I have always known I would do for ANYONE. Maybe you need to have your health insanely compromised before you can fully understand this, but when someone opens their mouth with a promise and withdraws that gift, they need to understand it wasn't an invitation to dinner they withdrew. It was my chance at new life and beautiful health. And it caused me much pain.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions......

The ones I haven't heard from on the list, well, as my dear friend M. expressed recently, I already have their answer.

For me, it's troubling the close friends whom haven't said anything at all. The ones with whom I have built dear relationships and believed we could discuss anything. Believed we were closer than this. One gave me a song and dance about not being able to pay her mortgage. WOW. Did she really not understand that for a new lease on life, K. and I would have gladly covered that? Another said nothing, and another didn't speak up until I approached the topic.

I'm not going to lie. It sucks to know friends are walking around with 2 kidneys when I need one so desperately.

I understand all the concerns, but I suspect a lot of that is fueled by misinformation. (Moms can donate! I have 6 on my list!) Surgery is always risky, and I can't negate that, but this procedure is so routine now.......

And yes, I know I am extremely subjective right now. Wouldn't you be?

I love my friends and will not hold this against them. I repeat, I will not hold this against them. They are too precious to me. But with their entitlement to be fearful, comes my entitlement to be pissed.

Too much to ask? Well, I've always wrestled with expectations. I just don't want to grow cynical.

I have always admired Anne Frank, whom despite the darkest of trials believed everyone was good at heart. She saw past all the chaos and pain and just believed. Believed when there was no reason to.

Well, honestly, I guess I do, too.....

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Harlow, Jean...on the cover of a magazine

Well, the stress just persists, but it's not surprising, really. This situation has so many levels to it. I often get overwhelmed by the protocol that lies ahead. Currently, I am so very frustrated by my insurance company (SAG). I am waiting to hear back from the Transplant Clinic in regards to whether or not my "work up" testing will take place at UCLA as opposed to Cedars. It might be more cost efficient at UCLA.....God Bless America!!!! And I have to confess, I think I will die an emotional death if I lose contact with Dr. Dauer at Cedars-Sinai. We have such great affection for each other and after 11 years, I depend on him greatly. It just seems so twisted and wrong......Well, just another challenge I need to conquer.

Lately, I have been feeling tired even after doing the elliptical for 5-6 miles. Yes, I'm slightly paranoid. After my recent creatinine jump to 3.0, I have been very concerned about the status of my energy. When I was 19, my highest creatinine ever was 6.5, and I was on dialysis at that time. I still pray for a decline in my numbers. Constantly hoping that my additional increase in meds will bring these numbers down. I'm just not ready to go through this. But is that time ever at hand? Is anyone ever "ready"? I guess I am in a bit of denial b/c of my commitment to exercise and good eating habits over the last 20 years.....Mmm....My devotion to broccoli seemingly hasn't paid off.....

Lately, Jean Harlow has plagued my thoughts. A beautiful actress, like myself, who died from renal failure at aged 27. Dialysis was not an option then, and transplants were simply obsolete. The 60's were a renaissance period in renal failure assistance. I am so very grateful that I had my transplant in 1988. And 20 years has been a blessing. But hey, this current health hurdle doesn't protect me from getting cancer or any other illness. Funny, eh? There's just no quota we ever reach.......Such is life.

Sometimes it's so hard for me to be content. I think about this every second of every day. The waiting and unknown is torture. I know it's coming....I just don't know when. I take such pride in my good health, and this decline has been very painful.....But, I realize things could be worse and I try to remember that every day. I try to focus on my blessings. Life can be so amazing in the moments when you focus on the good stuff.......

And so, Ms. Harlow, your talent and beauty inspire me. Your decline saddens me greatly. But I channel you now; and promise to hold your brief life dear to my heart and am now inspired to live my life to the fullest--dialysis and future transplant be damned!....And I'm even a California blond now, too.....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Thanks, Chris Martin

So my first real post will be a bit of a rip off. This whole cyber-diary thing has admittedly freaked me out a bit....being the kind of gal who values honesty above pretty much anything else. Where's the line I shouldn't cross(?), because I often lose sight of it in real life. It's much like the inviting sight of a pool by moonlight. You know it will be startling to dive right in, but the as the water envelopes your skin, it soothes and calms and comforts your entire being. So, I'm going to do just that. Dive right in. And censoring be damned. This is MY blog, after all.

Just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost
Doesn't mean I'll stop, doesn't mean I will cross

Just because I'm hurting, doesn't mean I'm hurt
Doesn't mean I didn't get what I deserve, no better and no worse

I just got lost, every river that I've tried to cross
And every door I ever tried was locked
And I'm just waiting 'til the shine wears off


Deep breath. Jump high. Splash!