by currantdesignsllc | May 12, 2016 | Self-Help
Anna, my 24 year old daughter, wants to get as many people as possible to help her raise money for Cystic Fibrosis research. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is one of the most fiscally responsible non-profits, ensuring that nearly .90 from every dollar raised goes to support research and programs for Cystic Fibrosis. To raise money, Anna is leading a team for the Denver Climb, a grueling stair climbing race held at Invesco Field/Mile High Stadium on June 25. If you want to join her team or support her team members click here
She is also selling her “I Love a Lemon” t-shirts with all proceeds going to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Click here if you want to buy a t-shirt but hurry because sales close at 11:59p this Friday June 13…sorry for the short notice!
The phrase “I love a lemon” came about after Anna was diagnosed with PTLD, a form of lymphoma that affects transplant recipients. Her sister, Grace blurted out, “Anna, you are a lemon!” It was funny to all of us, including Anna and she has been our lemon ever since. If you have just one major issue it’s bad enough but Anna has had four! She put together a video capturing her journey through life so far. If you’re interested in watching that, click here
Thank you! Karen
by currantdesignsllc | Jun 18, 2015 | Acceptance, Growth, Healing
It has been almost a year since my daughter, Anna started on a new journey…cancer. She had been lethargic and nauseous for a week or so. I’m divorced and my kids have been alternating from their dad’s house to mine on a weekly basis for 10 years. I hadn’t seen her for a week and she looked awful to me. I suggested she call her doctor (she was 22 then and responsible for making her appointments and communicating with her medical teams). She got an appointment with her cystic fibrosis (CF) Dr. who thought the problem was an intestinal blockage and sent us home with a colonoscopy prep cleanse. Not for a colonoscopy, just for cleaning out the pipes. It didn’t produce much since Anna had not eaten for several days. The next day she felt worse. I took her for her regular lab draw and she could barely walk due to dizziness. She was so pale. Something was wrong but we didn’t know what. After the blood draw, she said she felt like she did after her lung transplant when she needed a few units of blood. I told her to call her Dr. right then and find out what to do. Thankfully she instructed us to head to the ER at the University of Colorado Hospital. That was the beginning of discovering she had Posttransplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD), a form of lymphoma.
At the time, our world was spinning rapidly out of control. We have dealt with hospitals and doctors since Anna was four weeks old, the day we discovered she had CF. We’ve gone through the challenges of a double lung transplant. But cancer!? It just seemed like too much and everything felt new and exhausting. It was a turn in our lives that sent me reeling at times. I remember fighting to keep myself from spinning wildly out of control with fear and anger. It felt like a monster grabbing for my ankles, its nasty tentacles hungry for something to devour and I was its target. That was by far the worst season of my life. And it’s over…it’s over! It’s been over since last December when we heard there were no signs of cancer in her body. Chemo worked its magic. It doesn’t always work, not for everyone. One of Anna’s transplant friends who was diagnosed with PTLD near the time she was, died. He didn’t get to hear, “There are no signs of cancer in your body.” But we got to hear it. I hate that part, not that we got to hear it but he and his family didn’t. Surviving is a gift but it carries with it the reminder that not everyone survives. Whether it’s cancer, CF, a plane crash…some survive and some do not and that knowledge is just plain heavy.
Anna recently had another visit to the shiny medical capital of Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. She got to hear again that everything looks great! All her numbers, the indicators of her health, are pointing toward success. Her lungs have expanded since her transplant, filling her chest cavity beautifully, happy in their new home. Her blood work indicates no signs of cancer. Her Dr.s beamed with pride and excitement about her robust health. They spoke this audibly so she, her grandmother (my mom) and I could hear it and share in the good news.
Tears are filling my eyes while recollecting the past year and seeing where our journey has brought us, at least for now. I also fully recognize, having lived it at extremes for a few years now, that life is unpredictable. At any moment our world can change. I’m challenged to find the balance of enjoying the now while embracing the unknown. Just holding it with curiosity, wonder and healthy respect. Not fearing it and allowing it to consume me unnecessarily.
by currantdesignsllc | Dec 4, 2014 | Self-Help
I am pulling off at a rest-stop on our journey toward more successfully navigating the holidays to bring you an update on my daughter. If you are just reading this blog, I will bring you up to speed. I have a 23 year old daughter. Her name is Anna and she writes her own blog, On To New Windows and doesn’t mind me sharing her story with you. She was born with a genetic disease called Cystic Fibrosis (CF). It’s a nasty disease that messes with the digestive system and lungs. Besides having a terrible time gaining weight and needing insulin injections to level-out her blood sugar, Anna’s lungs deteriorated every day. Eventually, they became worthless at sustaining her life. Her only chance at survival rested on receiving a double-lung transplant. She was fortunate to get a wonderful pair of gently used lungs from a still unknown deceased donor on October 12, 2013 at Duke University Hospital.
After about six months of recovery, Anna was beginning to feel fabulous and started making plans to go back to college and pursue the life of a regular 22 year old. Without warning, she started getting really sick at the end of May. She was having trouble keeping food down, lost her appetite and grew more and more pale with every passing day. As if she hadn’t already been through enough, she was diagnosed with Lymphoma in early July. After enduring five months of intense in-patient chemotherapy there is no sign of cancer in her body!
Her once bald head is now covered with tiny hairs, her budding eyebrows and eye lashes are visible again and she feels energetic. Her lungs are strong and currently rejection-free. She is perfectly poised to get back to school and pursue her biology degree. Just wanted to share this good news with you!!!
by currantdesignsllc | Jul 25, 2014 | Acceptance, Boundaries, Depression, Divorce, Emotional Healing, Forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Parent-wounds, Processing Thoughts and Emotions, Recovery, Relationships, Self-Help
Are you trying to hide something about yourself? Is there a part of you you’re not happy with, but instead of working on it, you cover it up? My daughter is undergoing chemotherapy for a kind of cancer reserved just for organ transplant recipients. I say that like it’s some kind of reward. I don’t think of it as a reward. She doesn’t either! Her hair is falling out in patches. She kind of looks like the tortured doll in Toy Story. She doesn’t really want to rock the whole bald thing, so she now has two wigs. She likes them. She looks good in them. In her case, I think covering up her baldness make sense. But what if we are trying to cover up something because we don’t want to deal with it?
Maybe for you it’s a fear of failure. You cover it up with procrastination. If you never get to the tasks, you don’t have to finish anything so you can avoid hearing the disapproval. Maybe you fear intimacy so you disguise it with independence. You can do life on your own so you don’t ever have to let anyone in. Or perhaps you are hiding a sense of never being good enough with high-octane production. You’ll prove you’re worth something by all the projects you can spit out, meanwhile never feeling inside that all those projects are enough.
Can you identify with any of these scenarios or ones like them? The answer is not to keep hiding but to bring the hidden parts of yourself out in the open, in a safe environment where healing can take place. This might be in recovery groups, counseling or coaching. I got to the heart of things I was hiding in a life changing coaching experience with Dr. John Townsend. Now, after several years of sitting under his teaching and guidance, he has given me (and about 17 other people around the US) the chance to lead and coach my own Townsend Leadership Program in Colorado! I am excited to bring the very processes that radically changed my life and helped me peel off the masks and stop hiding to my local community.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Townsend Leadership Program that I will be leading in 2015, call me or email me: 303-589-6274 or email@example.com
by currantdesignsllc | Jul 8, 2014 | Depression
When I hear about people’s heartbreaks and difficult circumstances, I usually wonder how they get through it. After all I have experienced with my daughter, I know how we get through the tough stuff: one step at a time. We just keep moving forward, dealing with the diagnosis or sad news. We cry, we yell, then we get up and do what we have to do each day. There’s no magic formula and there’s nothing really special about us when we do this. Like, we have some super power that others don’t have. I think it’s woven into our being to survive.
Now and then a person will be so paralyzed by fear or depression they give-up and check out. These situations are more the anomaly than the norm. And to some degree it may be the cards they were dealt that screw with their brain chemistry; it could be recreational drug use (drugs can negatively alter our brain chemistry so drug users beware!). If you find yourself in this category, get help. While psychiatric medications are not always the answer and can’t help everyone, some need them, just like a diabetic needs insulin injections to survive.
Update on my daughter: She was diagnosed with stage 4 Lymphoma and is just finishing a five day chemo treatment she received at Duke University Hospital. She’s doing well. Not too many side effects yet. We’ve heard the first round is the easiest. She’ll be coming back to Duke at the end of the month for her next round of chemo. She’ll do this about six times. In between chemo, we’ll be in Colorado. We’ll see how things go, but at least for now Anna gets to be home!