Saturday, December 25, 2010

T'was the Night of Christmas

12/25/10 T'was the Night of Christmas
Today and last night was PERFECT! I got to spend another year with my family (except my father, who has the flu so he is in quarantine :) and except for my father having the flu, I got all of the presents I want-to just be with my family. I honestly don't mean this to sound cheezy, and I know most people will not understand this because they have not had to really think about the thought about their death, but right after I had the heart transplant last year was the holidays and then my birthday and I did not really want any presents. I just thought that this was because I was too tired to think about that sort of thing, but I feel the same way about it this year. I would much rather have all my health-like have no rejection, have the back pain go away, get my memory back, etc. and be able to be here and with my family (and conscious) than any present that could have been bought.
So here is the run down of Christmas Eve and Day:
I was late for dinner to the Christmas eve party because I was running around and wore out too quick, I fell asleep before I left for the party and was awakened to my cell phone of my grandmother calling me to tell me dinner was being started. By the time I got there all the food was gone! But I had mashed potatoes, which were yummy!
This year instead of presents for Christmas eve my family did white elephant gifts, which was a lot less stressful than getting a gift (or gifts) for someone. And it was so funny watching people opening them. And they were really fun to buy.
Nothing too exciting about Christmas morning. My whole family went to my grandmothers house and had breakfast and then just the cousins did a secret Santa exchange. Then we sat around and talked for a few hours. I have had alot of fun getting to know my cousins girlfriend Anni lately, she is really sweet, and I got to talk to her a lot to day-too bad she is going away to nursing school in Napa for 2 years. Then the cousins and aunts and uncles had to go and just my family stayed and had hours de jour and a family friend came over and my grandmother made veggie soup (from scratch). My mom, sisters, and I opened gifts.
Last year I was too tired to really think about my donors family. But this year, now that I have been in contact with Olga, my donor sister, I just can not imagine being in her situation. From how it has sounded from her letters, she does not have a family and raised Ruben (donor, her brother). So she is alone for the holidays. What even complicates the situation more is that she speaks Spanish and I speak English. I hope she realizes the greatness that she has done with her act and the impact that she has had on my life and that it is because of her that I am getting to spend this Christmas with my family. I am still thinking about the if/how/where/when/etc. of meeting Olga, who wants to meet me-which I know sounds really selfish-I know I should be the person pushing her to meet me (and not the other way around) but I just did not think that it would happen so quick and I do not want her to think that I am a replacement for Ruben. I still do not think that she has gotten over his death.
The last two years my cousins has made me a special ornament for our Christmas tree. I feel like this is a special way of honoring Ruben in our close knit family.
So my family likes to get me funny heart shirts and here is my the ones I got for Christmas:
This one is actually a campaign for Pearl Izumi (a cycling company), my Dad got it for me

After I got the shirt and he told the guy at the check out why he was buying it for me (that I had had a heart transplant) the guy gave me this sticker, I am not sure it really fits my situation.

Jackie got me the following.
Jen (my cousin) drew the tin man in this one, and Jackie designed this, I think I am trying going to try to sell these shirts to raise money for my Team in Training ride.


  1. I love the "I contain recycled parts" shirt! We always joke about Bean having "after-market parts". I totally understand your thing about presents - but, my understanding started earlier than Bean's transplant - my mom has been through cancer three times and each year since the first battle - over 20 years ago - I have been thankful to have her. But it is especially special to have her around with the Bean - the Bean really loves her and I think both of them are miracles.
    As far as meeting the donor's sister - don't feel bad or question your feelings on that. It was tough for us to even write the letter to the donor family - it took almost the whole first year for me to do it and feel comfortable with what I said (well, kind of comfortable). I think that its something you will know and feel when the time is right (and I am confident it will be at some point - you seem really together on this). I hope that our donor family contacts us at some point, but I would totally understand if they chose not to as well. It would be hard, but totally understandable. I am glad that you are able to communicate with Olga via letter as I'm sure it means a ton to her to know that her brother made a difference.
    Enjoy the rest of your holiday!

  2. Allie-Donor family issues are difficult. You can get help from your Stanford social worker or maybe CTDN. I wrote recently since I feel both glad to be enjoying the Holidays and sorry for a family doing without a member this year. I was told they are interested in meeting me, perhaps at the Donor Family Recognition event in April. My Christmas letter was reviewed at CTDN and will be sent along. We shall see.

    See you soon out there on the Transplant Turnpike.