Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Being an IC patient was challenging enough and made exercising very difficult. But now also being a Lung Transplant Patient, exercising has become so difficult, it would be so easy to just quit and give up.

My IC definitely does not enjoy my workouts, but I must just deal with the bladder pain if I am to recover from being sick for so long and becoming as deconditioned as a person can be. I want my strength back. I want to be able to regain my independence and do things on my own. I want to be healthy and not a lump in a chair. I did that when I was sick. But now I am so determined to workout and do the very best I can to regain as much strength as possible.

My Transplant Coordinator told me it's possible I have reached a plateau and this is as strong as I will get. But she also said it's very possible if I keep doing what I'm doing, which they strongly encourage, I can regain more of my strength. Maybe I won't be like I was before I got so sick, but any improvement will be positive.

I have joined a Health Club affiliated with the hospital where I did my Rehab and they have a special program for patients who have had serious surgeries, strokes and the like. I decided to join. I got to meet with a trainer, who evaluated me and put together a strength training program customized for my needs post transplant.

I am working diligently at this program and on the days I don't do that workout, I go and do cardio, either on the Treadmill, the Recumbent Bike or various other machines. I am trying to go 4-5 days a week. 

It has been SO hard that there were days I felt like crying and just giving up. But I am trying to focus on the positive. Before my transplant, none of this would have been possible at all. So, while it's hard and there are days I feel I'm not making any progress, I try to remind myself of where I was before and I am grateful I can do this at all.

Today, at the Club, there was a gentleman in need of a wheelchair, on oxygen and using one of the machines I used when I had to go to Pre-Transplant Rehab and I nearly broke out in tears. That was me a little over a year ago. So I can whine about how hard this is, but I look at someone like that and it reminds me of how far I have come. And how grateful I am. 

I am committed to keeping up with this training program and seeing how much progress I can achieve. And no matter how much progress I make, or don't, I must keep working out in order to prevent me from going backwards to where I was Pre-Transplant. So this is a new way of life for me. 

I had a good Cardio workout today doing 30 minutes on on the Nu-Step machine and 30 minutes on the Recumbent Bike. Tomorrow I will do my strength circuit. I have 2 off days scheduled this week which means my goal is to workout 5 days this week. 

Like I mentioned, my IC bladder doesn't like this one little bit. It's a struggle, but my post transplant rehab must take priority. So I push on through. I listen to my body and if I need an "easy" day, that's what I do. If I feel I can push it one day, then I do that. I mix things up so I'm not doing the same thing every day and that keeps it interesting.

Music helps me and after all I've been through, I don't care if people stare at me in my face mask, fist pumping to one of my motivational songs while working out. I've busted my butt to get where I am. So whatever I need to do for inspiration and to keep me fighting, I'll do!  Like they say, dance like no one is watching. That's me at the Club!

Check out my Workout Video:

Today's Nu-Step Workout:

Today's Recumbent Bike Workout:


Friday, January 1, 2016


Happy New Year one and all! I wish everyone a happy, healthy New Year! As we rang in the New Year last night and I woke up to the year 2016 this morning, I just find it difficult to express my gratitude that I am here and able to celebrate with my family & friends.

I have had the most challenging 2+ years of my life. Finding out I needed a life saving Lung Transplant is not something anyone ever expects to hear. I will never forget being told that news up at the Mayo Clinic. I have never been so shocked in my entire life.

I've written before about what the process is like so I won't go through it all again. But I have been through more than I ever believed I could get through. But I got my lung, got through the surgery doing better than any of the doctors thought I would.

It takes a LONG, LONG time to recover from a transplant and I have been diligently working on my rehab and getting my strength back. It's hard work, but it's important to me and I am dedicated to sticking with my rehab program. 

Part of My Rehab Routine!

My Amazing Family Walking the Hike for Lung Health
for the Respiratory Health Association in a Show of Support for me!

It is a long and never ending journey being a transplant patient. Struggling with medication side effects (which I am) is bigger than I can explain. The Transplant Team warned us that having a transplant can be a life saving procedure, but they also told us we would be trading one disease state for another with all the medications we must take. The were right.

Thank heaven for patient family and friends because some of that medication can turn you into a raging crazy person one minute, a crying baby another and a manic happy freak the next! 

As 2016 starts I have SO many people to thank for all their support and encouragement. I thank my medical team at Loyola who literally saved my life and continue to care for me post transplant; my family without whom I literally could not have done this; so many friends who have stood by me and just called to chat and cheer me up as I waited for "The Call". Without all of you I would not be here.

My wish for 2016 is that we can get some sort of control over all these side effects. I want to make more progress on my rehab program. On Monday I go for my 3 month Transplant Clinic visit and I'll get checked out thoroughly. I must go for these check ups every 3 months for the rest of my life. But it's how we keep track of how I'm doing and making sure there are no signs of rejection.

I am so grateful and blessed for being able to celebrate another year. I am hopeful 2016 will be a year of doing well and continuing to improve.  

HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone!

Auld Lang Syne - Mairi Campbell
There is just something about this version that I love!