Friday, December 31, 2010

Looking back... and looking forward

As the year comes to an end, I can't help but be in disbelief that the first decade of the new century is over! Where did it go?

Between the year 2000 and this past year, I have had a living-lobar transplant, kidney transplant, four sinus surgeries, and several other smaller surgeries. I have been very, very sick and also been through several recoveries. Although my health has had its ups and downs, and continues to have these, it has mostly been the ups that I remember.

My daughter has grown from a 5 year old to a 15 year old who is now in high school and is driving. She has shown us that she is extremely academically inclined, and as her personality has continued to develop, we have come to see just how driven, compassionate, and loving she can be. Every year with her has been a bigger blessing, and I can't imagine loving anyone more!!!

Unfortunately, these years have also brought along divorce, heartache, and many lessons to be learned. How thankful I am that God has been a part of all of that, and has brought everyone through this with a greater sense of thankfulness for the things we do have, and continue to receive.

Over the past 7 years, I have come to know many other people with Cystic Fibrosis, and many others who have had transplants. I cannot stress enough how important these people are in my life, and how close our bond has become. Knowing people from one end of the world to the other with this disease, has truly brought light to what others go through, and how everyone has a different story. It has been very enlightening for sure.

I also must reflect on how amazing my long-time friends are, and how, through my struggles, they have stood by me. They mean so much to me, and it feels so great that no matter how often we talk, whether it be weekly, monthly, or every 6 months, it's like we haven't been apart a day. Most of them are in Virginia, or scattered elsewhere, but distance most definitely does not dictate closeness.

My family, including immediate and extended, continue to be a rock for me. They never fail to be there when I need them (or even donate organs to me when I need them), and are always loving and understanding. Having the majority of my family at my 40th birthday party this year, was testament to just how blessed I am, and how awesome they are!!!

Finding my Jason has been a huge part of this decade, and has given me a soul mate with whom I intend on sharing the rest of my life, no matter how long! I am so truly blessed that I have found someone who is always there for me, and is my rock when I need it most. It was rough at first, bringing baggage from both of our pasts into this marriage, but as we continue to grow closer, that baggage seems more distant each day. Loving, laughing, and living seems so much easier with him!

As my struggles continue, to stay healthy and remain physically strong, I am surrounded by family and friends who love me so dearly. How blessed I am to have them in my life. To have YOU in my life. As this decade closes, I want to reflect on the positive things to come this next year, and the years after. I know great things are in store for my friends and family, and how thrilled I am to be a part of it all.

God Bless you all and Happy New Year!!!! XO

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Lungapalooza: A Walk For Breath

On September 19th, 2010, the inaugural Lungapalooza: A Walk for Breath was held at Duke University Medical Center. The Lungapalooza is an event to raise money for the Lung Transplant Foundation, a non-profit organization who's mission is "to promote and advance research in order to improve long-term outcomes among lung transplant recipients".

Below is a slide show put together by Amber, a dear friend who has had two double lung transplants, and who was a major facilitator in making the Lungapalooza happen. The photographs were mostly taken by me and by another amateur photographer who works for Duke University's Center for Living.


Lungapalooza from Amber Wesemann on Vimeo.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Brain zaps... no fun at all!

I write this, not so that my friends can laugh at me or question me, but I write it to educate others who are coming off of SSRI's. I am brain zapping so bad the past two days that I want to sit in a corner and cry. I have been on Paxil or Celexa many, many times in the past. Starting 10 or 11 years ago before my first transplant. I have easily tapered down and come off of them when the doc and I agree I'm ready. No problems at all!

The last time I came off of them, I had what people call brain zaps. You know... the things that some docs, some nurses, some lay persons call myths. After a couple of days, these zaps went away, and I wasn't bothered with them anymore.

THe VERY first time that I heard of brain zaps was from my husband trying to come off of Zoloft. He described them as a slight electrocution to the head everytime you try to move your head from side to side, and he also described them of the feeling you get in your head when you have a fever where you can't move your head side to side without getting a tingling/zapping/irritating feeling.

WELL, LET'S TALK ABOUT ZAPPING TO THE EXTREME!!!! I am currently weening off of Paxil according to my docs directions. It has gotten so bad that I just (literally) want to crawl under the bed and hide ... maybe for the rest of my life... I'm deciding. UGHHHH! It's SO bad. I cannot turn my head, I cannot talk, I cannot do anything but look straight forth. I feel sorry for those who's sig. others, family hasn't believed them. I'm so bad now, that J and C KNOW not to come around me. LOL. I am going to try to sleep after I finish crying, but I'm praying these things are gone in the morning so that I can have some kind of social life that allows my daughter and hub into my life again. THis is crazy, this is wrong, and to ANY DOCTOR who doesn't believe this happens... we all should record it.. It's NOT a nice picture!!!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Please help.. it's so easy! :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Family Mountain Vaca

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

TV talk... again!

I did a post about TV shows way back when... I thought, since some of my shows have gone off the air, and some of my favorites have changed, I'd write another one. As you can tell from my list of shows, I am not into reality tv. There really is nothing real about them, and I just don't find them entertaining.

I'd love to hear the shows you guys love! Feel free to share in the comments section. :)

House - I love this show for the same reasons I did a year ago. Hugh Laurie is still my number one FAVORITE TV actor (followed very closely by Alex O'Loughlin). It's a medical show.. what can I say? Medical is my life.

Fringe - This is still one of my favorite shows, but the recent story-line regarding Peter and the parallel universe hasn't been my favorite. I liked it better when every week was a mystery, and such an enigma that you couldn't figure out what was going on. I will definitely keep watching it though.

Doctor Who - Do I miss David Tennant as the Doctor? You betcha. Am I still watching it? Yep! I do like Matt Smith. As all the Doctors before him, he does have his charm. The episodes are darker than they were when David was the Doctor, and this is definitely more in tune with the old episodes. I'm not crazy about Amy, but like all companions, she won't last. I doubt I will ever quit watching this show.

Criminal Minds - Still a great show! It keeps me guessing every week. I like that. Anything serial killer"ish" will get my attention. LOVE all of the actors, but very sad that they are getting rid of J.J.'s and Emily's characters. Boo on that!!!!!!!!! Not sure who they are replacing them with, if anyone.

Lie to Me - Still a favorite of mine. I think there may have been one episode that didn't interest me. The rest fascinate me!!! If you haven't seen an episode of this, it's not to late to jump in the game. You can quickly catch up. It's all about a team that reads facial features, and gestures to see if the person is lying or not. Pretty useful information in real life too. haha!! I just love Tim Roth in the lead. He has always been such an underrated actor.

Memphis Beat - Ok, here's a new one!! Jason Lee stars as a very skilled detective with great instincts and a ton of musical talent. This show is funny with a bit of mystery! I'm not usually one for "cop" shows, but this is one of my favorite shows now!! :)

The Gates - Seriously? Vampire and Werewolves? Haven't we had enough of those? It's kind of soap opera"ish", which I'm usually not into, but this is a story I want to finish. I do want to see what happens. And the whole "protected community" thing is interesting. I'm eager to see where the writers take this.

HawthoRNe - Who doesn't love Jada Pinkett Smith? Of course the medical part of the show is what drew me in to begin with, but having her as the star makes this show worth watching. I like the drama, the medical stories, the love stories, and the struggle for power that the characters have. Not sure if this show is going to last or not, but I'll watch it as long as it's on.

I'm very, very sad that Three Rivers, Monk, and Eleventh Hour are off the air. I loved all three of those shows!!! I don't even think they gave Three Rivers a chance. Just so glad that Alex O'Loughlin will be starring in the new Hawaii Five 0 this fall. :)

Shows that I never watched before, but am catching up on now are Desperate Housewives (which I love so much, I have bought all of the seasons that are out so far), Dexter, Battlestar Galactica, and Nip/Tuck. Yeah, these are my guilty pleasures!!! All 4 will draw you in, so if you aren't planning on spending your dollars for the copies and your time in front of the tv catching up, don't start watching any of these.. LOL!!!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Ups and downs and all arounds

Hi blogger world! Another lengthy break between posts. I thought I would give everyone an update on the happenings in our lives.

I'll start with my health and get that out of the way. :) Most of you know they found skin cancer on my toe of all places. Yeah, that's what you get for being immunosuppressed. To make a long story short.. thought I was going to have to have it surgically removed, and a skin graft done. Saw a surgeon at Duke yesterday and he seems to think "that would be like putting a campfire out with a fire truck". Hehe. He said it would do the job, but he thought that was way overdoing it. Squamous Cell Carcinoma or SCC can become invasive and in rare cases metastasize, but he doesn't seem to think that I have reason to worry about either of those. For right now, I'm just going to be using a chemotherapy-like cream on it called Aldara. I use it on my face also for some places I have there that look suspicious. I see my dermatologist pretty regularly at Duke, so she will keep a watchful eye on it.

I have been having some swelling for the past month or so. I saw my nephrologist yesterday, and he doesn't think it's my kidney causing it. He ran a few extra tests to make sure, but if I continue to have it, I will need to have some studies done on my heart and liver to rule them out as the cause.

Let's talk about hair loss.. ughh!!! So, you all know I lost most of my hair after my lung transplant, a lot of my hair after my kidney transplant, and that the rATG treatment I had for my chronic rejection back in March was beginning to thin it too. Well, these past 2 weeks have been awful as far as hair loss goes. I'm not so sure why I'm so prone to hair loss when I'm given meds to knock out my immune system. I have friends who have been given much stronger meds, and it didn't affect their hair in any way. I'm frustrated!!!! I really am. This is the 3rd time, and I know if I ever have to get another treatment for my chronic rejection again, it will happen a 4th. I am taking Biotin and using men's rogaine (per my dermatologist's suggestion), but so far, I'm not seeing any difference.

So on to more exciting things... Casey has had a very busy summer. She has been to the beach twice, to Sint Maarten, will be going to visit her cousins in Pennsylvania for a long weekend, and will go with my family to the mountains in several weeks. She is currently in the middle of her driver's ed classes. One week down after today, and one week to go. She gets her learner's permit in November.. YIKES!!!!

She wants to start tutoring this coming school year to raise money for her Spain trip that she is taking next spring. Her father and I have told her that we want her to raise $1000 for the trip, so she has already been saving her allowance. We'll see how that goes. LOL.

Jason is working a crazy shift now.. 11 am to 8 pm. It's really not so bad, because he gets up early and gets things done, and since we eat dinner late anyway, he is home for dinner. Of course it's not the ideal work schedule, but much better than the night shift. We aren't sure how long he will stay on this shift.

We FINALLY, yes FINALLY have our house up for sale. We've had one interested buyer, but haven't heard back again from her. We haven't really advertised yet other than sticking a for sale sign in the front yard, so I'll be getting on that this coming week. We are looking to move about 20 minutes from here, which will be closer to Jason's work, and closer to the school that Casey's current school will be moving to in 2011. Plus, it will get us out of city taxes which will be nice.

My birthday party is coming up as most of you know. We still have a lot of planning to do.. most of all... meeting with our caterer about the menu. I'm super excited about seeing all of my family, old friends, new friends, friends I've only known from the net, etc. What a great time it's going to be. I have to admit I'm a little anxious though, because of my hearing loss. I don't do well in social situations that are noisy because of that. Of course I'll have my hearing aid on, but I'll still struggle with it.

The rest of my family is doing well. My nephew goes to kindergarten this year.. just super unbelievable. The pups are good, and in general.. life is good. I hope it is for all of you as well. XOXO

Random photos:

Friday, June 18, 2010


As my friend Lori and I sat down at a half-cleaned table in the Duke South cafeteria at Duke University Medical Center, we reflected on the two people sitting at the table behind us. We talked about how weird, amazing, and awesome it was. We talked about the rarity of it, and how there are only a handful of people in the world who could be sitting where we were and thinking about what we were thinking.

Here's the thing.... Lori's mom Sheryl gave her part of her lung when Lori was on the verge of death. Her dad was the other donor. Lori was the 2nd living-lobar transplant done at Duke University Medical Center (I was the 4th), a transplant center known for it's cutting edge medical care. Here I come a year later... dying to see someone who has had a transplant... there were no transplant chat rooms at that time, and I had never talked with anyone who had a lung transplant. A nurse introduces me to Lori, another transplant recipient who received the same type transplant I was about to receive. I was amazed.

Not only at her strength, beauty and courage, but at her nonchalant attitude about it all. I was so happy to meet her and later her sister Shannon, who was waiting on lungs the same time I was. Yes... two sisters with Cystic Fibrosis, one who was post-transplant, one who was pre.

So back to today. Lori and I sitting at one table so we could have "young" girl talk. Our moms, our donors, our life savers, sitting at the next to have adult conversation and talk about the difficulties of having children with chronic illnesses. Lori and I talked about it. We were in awe for just a minute that "we" had part of "them" inside of us.

Life is not only about giving, but also about appreciating the gifts you have been given. Thank you Mom. Thank you Uncle Joey (my other donor). Thank you Sheryl. Thank you Dave (Lori's dad). You are Lori's and my heroes. We love you!!!!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Ask me anything

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random pics

Friday, April 16, 2010

Mish Mash

Hey everyone!!! Wow, it's been forever and a day since my last post. Sorry about that, especially to my Virginia friends. :)

Things have been going well since the rATG infusions. I have been in rehab with a physical therapist who is amazing!!! She has helped me build up my core, and strengthen my arms and legs. It was much-needed... trust me. I still have a ways to go, but we are well on our way to getting me back in great physical condition. Yay!

I had my first follow-up yesterday with my pulmonologist since the rATG. Of course, this included pulmonary function tests to see if the rATG helped improve my numbers. Unfortunately it didn't. :( That's the not-so-good news. The good news is that even though my numbers were down a few percentages, it was still in the "same range", so therefore, I'm not worse. What my doc thinks is that the scar tissue already in my small airways is "damage done". What my doc hopes is that the rATG has stabilized my chronic rejection, and will prevent me from scarring further. Remember, the scarring is due to my own white blood cells attacking the foreign lungs (lobes) in my body, and he hopes the rATG has stopped that. Basically, we won't know until my next appointment in 2 months. He hopes to see that I'm holding steady, or that my lung function has even improved a bit because of continued exercise. He did say that sometimes when someone starts chronic rejection, they start a downward trend and it continues pretty fast. He's not seeing that with me, so that is awesome!!!

I also saw my nephrologist yesterday (kidney doc), and he seemed pleased with most things. He ordered some extra tests to check on a few things he's concerned about, but nothing big. Basically, my kidney function is holding steady, so that's great news. :)

My nephew's 5th birthday is tomorrow. I just can't believe he is 5 now. We are going to Jason's parent's house for lunch, and then on to my sister's house for the birthday party later on. I asked my nephew what he wanted for his birthday, and he said "just a little teddy bear". Trust me, he doesn't need another teddy bear, but it was just so cute how he put it. Casey and I are going today to get him a gift, although I might have to pick up just a tiny teddy bear, just because he asked for it.

Casey has tons of plans for the summer!!! She is going to the beach with her two best friends, going to her cousin's house in Pennsylvania, going on vacation with her dad and step-mom, going on vacation with my family, and then possibly going to a camp with her friends. It's going to be a crazy-busy summer for her, but she's going to have a blast!

Very exciting news... Casey gets her braces off this coming Monday. I will have to post pictures of before and after! She can't wait. It will be just a couple of weeks shy of 12 months since she got them put on, but the orthodontist had said she wouldn't have to have them on a long time.

Jason is well, but not liking 1st shift as much as I like it! I love having him home for dinner, and getting in bed at a decent time. I'm hoping he will get used to it though. :) He's been doing some landscaping, and trying to perfect this house to get it ready to sell... yes, I know I have been talking about this for over a year now, but I think we are finally close. There is just so much competition right now, and very little buying going on, so I really want it to appeal to the buyer. Lots of things with my health have set us back, but I'm not planning on anything stopping us from getting it on the market this time.

I hope all of you are enjoying Spring, and enjoying the little things in life. I know I am! Love to all! XO

Monday, March 8, 2010

Oscar Fashion 2010

You might be wondering how someone who dresses in hoodies, jeans and Chucks on a daily basis has any right at all critiquing Hollywood's top celebs as they walk down the red carpet on Oscar night... BUT... I do anyway! :)

The Oscars were full of glamour and elegance this year (even though two of the biggest stars in Hollywood were disappointingly absent.. Brad and Angelina of course). By far, the strapless look dominated the red carpet. SO MUCH SO, that by the end of the red carpet E! show, I was begging for an off the shoulder, one shoulder, spaghetti strap dress on anyone!!! Even though this Academy Awards had its fair share of no no's, overall, I thought it was pretty tame compared to previous years. I really don't think many "best" or "worst" dresses of all times are going to come from this year's Oscars.

As you all know from my previous posts reviewing Golden Globe fashion and Oscar fashion, I steer clear of other reviews before writing mine. I also do my reviews based on how the celebs look onscreen and online in photos. I have seen that many times I will like how they appeared onscreen, but not be able to find a picture of them that does the same justice. Another thing that I try and do is take in the celebrities overall look/appearance, instead of just basing my "best dressed" and "worst dressed" on the dress itself. I believe makeup, accessories, and hairstyles can make or break an outfit!

That being said, I give you my best dressed of the night:

This was a total shock to me, I must admit! Given Sandra's sloppy purple paper maché dress at the Golden Globes this year, I wasn't expecting much out of her. She totally surprised me with her elegance and beauty! This dress, her shiny hair, her makeup (including the bright, pink lipstick), and her accessories were all perfect. She was the epitome of Oscar beauty thru and thru!

This leads me to worst dressed:

Do you remember my Golden Globe review of Diane Kruger? I think it went something like this... "she is always a nightmare on the red carpet! You would think being the girlfriend of 'Fringe' hottie, Joshua Jackson, she would dress better". Well, something like that. Although I didn't expect her to look good (she totally needs to fire her stylist), I WAS shocked to see just how awful she really looked. She always has such severe hair at these awards shows, and last night was no exception. I would like to see her in some loose curls, and a dress to flatter her amazing figure. I know all of you have said it... "If I had THEIR money and fame, I'd wear something better than that!" Well, that was exactly what I was saying when I saw her last night.

You can follow along here or here to see pictures of each celebrity from last night's big show.

Cameron Diaz - Amazing, elegant, glamorous, stunning! Could I be anymore bold about my opinion of her? She must have had the same stylist as Sandra is all I can say. The sparkly gold, metallic number she wore was so flattering to her tall frame. Her cherry red lips and side-swept hair only added to her look and made her my 2nd best dressed of the night.

Miley Cyrus - I admit. I'm a Miley fan. BUT. I also admit that she may have ruined everything I ever liked about her by showing up at the biggest awards show of the year looking like she did last night. Her corset-like gown was horrendous! I am not sure if her purpose was to look way beyond her young teenage years, but there was nothing flattering about this gown. Her updo was nice, but I couldn't get passed her slumped posture to really notice it until I later saw a still photo of her. First of all, she needs to start doing yoga to improve her "country bumpkin" posture, and then she needs to find a stylist that will dress her in age appropriate clothing. She can, however, keep her hairstylist.

Faith Hill - I really liked this dress for the most part. It was black, but not boring! The lace on the bodice and the skirt really added to this and gave it just enough personality. I don't really like the pictures I've seen of her, but onscreen, she looked much better. I loved her loose updo and her large black earrings. I do think the shiny black bra underneath the gown could have been toned down a bit, but overall, it was a good look.

Penelope Cruz - Usually a favorite of mine. I won't say I hated her dress last night, but its definitely not going to be memorable. I didn't like the neckline at all. It reminds me of a "child gone wild with the scissors" kind of look. The rest of the dress looked like a bunch of gathered material. The lines of the dress didn't flatter her at all, however, the color was a beautiful deep scarlet red. I do think the designer had her skin tone and hair color in mind choosing the color of this dress, but they went horribly wrong with the sewing machine later on.

Zoe Saldana - Ok, so she might get worst dressed on many people's lists. Because she looked beautiful from the waist up (including her make up and beautiful updo), I cannot call her worst dressed. Because she looks like a dyed purple poodle from the waist down, many just might call her that.

Jennifer Lopez - Leave it to J Lo to go bold! This iridescent pink dress was definitely that! I think it's going to be one of those you either love or hate. I loved it! The unique neckline and ruffly skirt, along with the shimmery material looked amazing on her. I also loved her simple updo and simple accessories. She has really gotten in shape, and this dress showed it!

Meryl Streep - Is being 60-something an excuse for looking matronly? I guess it is, but I wasn't that "into" this dress. I think because of her age and skin tone, she needs to stay away from white. I also think the plunging neckline would have looked much better without the long sleeves and thick waistline. Her updo was also too messy in my opinion. All I can really say about her is... eh!

Vera Farmiga - Although the color of her dress was brilliant, she looks like she was stuffed into a genetically engineered flower. I loved her hair and makeup, but no one can get passed the horribly accordion-like ruffles to notice.

Gabourey Sidibe - I'm trying to like it. I do like the fact that someone chose an off the shoulder gown. I do like the way this dress hangs on her larger frame. I do like the color. What I don't like is the flower applique across the bodice of this dress. I think it ruins the entire look. I am also not sold on the hairstyle.

Anna Kendrick - This girl needs color! I've not hated her look for the Golden Globes or last night at the Oscars, but I'm not jumping up and down loving it either. The off the shoulder, blush gown fits her nicely, shows just enough leg, and has just the right amount of embellishments, but the color makes her blend into the background. Cute chunky heels though!

Charlize Theron - What's up with this boob-grabbing dress? She is usually a vision of elegance!!! She was not on her game last night. This hideous pink satin dress looked like it grew arms and reached around to... well you get my point. Shiny gowns like this just do not photograph well and tend to have the wrinkled look after awhile. I'm even disappointed in her hair and make up last night. Boo Charlize!

Demi Moore - OK, off topic here... when did she lose so much weight? Her tiny, tiny figure stunned me last night. Anyway... I loved her gown. Although it definitely didn't stand out in the way of color, it fit her perfectly, went nicely with her skin tone, and had beautiful lines! Her hair was perfect too, and I loved her chunky bracelets. She truly looks 25 and not the "close to 50" that she really is. Where was Ashton by the way?

Sarah Jessica Parker - My 2nd choice for worst dress. What was she thinking? I mean really!!! She doesn't have the, ummm, facial features to pull off such a hairstyle, but then again, even someone with say.. Zoe Saldana's petite facial features couldn't pull off this hideous updo. And though I think she probably has one of, if not THE, hottest bods in Hollywood, she sure chose not to show it off last night. With a dress resembling an embellished pillow case, make up resembling a harlot, skin looking WAY too tanned, and an updo with WAY too much poof, she is definitely not going down in history for this Oscar night. I did like her bracelets, not that anyone noticed.

Kristen Stewart - Why does she always look so uncomfortable? Does she really hate the spotlight that much? I wasn't impressed with her at all. She looked like she had on her mother's dress. It wasn't flattering in anyway! The color was boring, her hair was boring, and I'm wondering why she couldn't have at least worn earrings! Ughh!

Kate Winslet - She's usually too matronly for me. She's only in her late 30's (?), but chooses gowns that make her look 50+. Last night I believe she did much better in wearing an age appropriate gown. I thought it was elegant and I was happy to see at least one celeb wear a necklace with their strapless number. I don't think this dress will be that memorable, but I still think she looked beautiful. I liked her lose, wavy hair too!

Amanda Seyfried - Ewwwwwwwwww! Space alien alert!!! This silver, ill-fitting dress was a horrible choice for such a young hottie! I think she was trying to go for Hollywood glamour here, but she failed miserably. Her severe hair and space alien dress make her look way beyond her young years.

Molly Ringwald - Stunning! Not only has she gotten back into terrific shape since giving birth to twins last year, but she was a picture of perfection with her dress and hairstyle last night. It was awesome to see my Hollywood favorites from the 80's last night in a tribute to John Hughes, and it was even more awesome to see how great they all looked! Molly's red hair couldn't have gone better with her purple dress, and I loved the geometric clasp at her waist and matching bracelet.

Sigourney Weaver - I've seen better! I do like her in red, and I do like the flattering lines of this one shoulder dress. What I don't like is the black ribbon chosen to cinch her waist. It seemed so out of place to me. I think a belt in the same color as the dress would have been much more flattering. Her hairstyle was just ok.

Nicole Richie - I'm not liking this metallic angel-winged number. She is much too cute and petite to be wearing such a dress. Her severe updo did nothing for her either. I'm still wondering what she was even doing there in the first place, and really surprised that she would choose this dress for her one chance at being a real celebrity!

Rachel McAdams - This strapless style has been overdone, the colors were a mixture of pastel finger paintings, I don't like her blonde, and her make up was way too peachy! Nothing else to really say!

Carey Mulligan - When I saw her onscreen on the red carpet, I thought she looked great! When I saw her walk up and present, I thought she looked horrible. I guess this boils down to a beautiful top half of her gown (with odd, but awesome embellishments), and a messy bottom half that couldn't decide whether it wanted to be a long or a short gown. I did like her awesome black shoes!

Maggie Gyllenhaal - She's looking radiant this year. I really liked this dress on her. It was a very simple sleeveless design, but was made brilliant by the colors! It was a mixture of blue, black and a hint of orange all brushed on like an oil painting. She kept her hairstyle and accessories simple, so we could truly enjoy the dress!

Elizabeth Banks - WOW! I thought this dress was amazing. The gray color is nothing special until you add the ruffles and beaded seams. It turns something that could have been just ok into something that rocked the red carpet. Elizabeth's updo and headband were also stunners! She gets an A+++ from me!

Mariah Carey - Thank you, thank you Mariah for covering up the parts that need covered and for toning it down a bit! She actually looked elegant last night, and I know for Mariah, that word is like a foreign language. Some may argue that this dress was too matronly for her, but I thought it was just sexy enough with the off the shoulder neckline, and "slightly high" slit!

Mo'Nique - I loved her entire look! She really knows how to show off that body, and do it justice! I'm digging the neckline, the color and the lines across her hips. I also love the flower accent in her hair. She just really rocked it last night!

Tina Fey- The pictures I'm seeing of her last night are not flattering at all. I'm going to base my review on the way she looked onscreen. I think its one of her best looks. I liked the animal-like-print, one shoulder gown. I thought she looked elegant and age appropriate. I also liked her hairstyle and accessories.

I would, once again, love to hear your opinions. Feel free to agree, disagree, offer your own reviews, etc.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My experience with rATG

I'm writing this blog post for two reasons. One, of course, is to update my friends and family, who are not on facebook, about my health. Two, to put my experience with rATG (Thymoglobulin, rabbit Anti-thymocyte Globulin) "out there in the cyber world" for those looking for other patient experiences with the drug. I found, when researching this myself, that there wasn't a whole lot out there.

As most of you know, my lung transplant pulmonologist believes from my recent drop in lung function and my recent xrays that I'm experiencing chronic rejection of my lungs. This is where scar tissue develops in the small airways of the transplanted lungs as a result of white blood cells (lymphocytes) attacking the area. My lungs are not a part of me, and therefore are being attacked by my own lymphocytes.

rATG is a medication that is used to treat chronic rejection. It kills the body's white blood cells in hopes of stopping the attack on the transplanted organs. So, what are the side effects of rATG? Normal reactions or short-term side effects to rATG are flu-like symptoms, like fever/chills, nausea, headache, drop in blood pressure, and increased risk of bleeding (infection and lymphoma can be long-term side effects, so I have to be sure to report any night sweats that might come weeks or months after taking this).

Well I took the short-term side effects a little too far. Even after being given IV Benadryl, IV Zofran, IV solumedrol and oral Tylenol, I had a full inflammatory response to the medication. Thirty minutes into my first infusion, I had complete and total full-body pain!!! I can honestly say that it was the worst pain I have ever experienced. The medication was stopped, and I was given IV Dilaudid and more IV Benadryl. Because this wasn't considered an allergy to rATG, I was once again started on rATG the next day after being pre-medicated with the usual meds plus IV Dilaudid. Other than some pain and itching, I did fine with the next 3 doses.

As a precaution, I am on IV Ceftazadime (antibiotic), oral Cipro (antibiotic), IV Gangcyclovir (anti-viral), and inhaled (via sinus nebulizer) Colistin (antibiotic), to try and prevent any infection since my immune system is so depressed right now. I will be on these medications for 3 weeks. Thankfully, I was able to go home after my last dose of rATG. The hospital is the worst place to be when you are immunocompromised and at risk of infection.

I will go back to Duke in 4 weeks to see my transplant pulmonologist. We are hoping that my lung function will have improved at that point. If not, my doctor will most likely give me Campath, which is similar to rATG, but much stronger and can wipe your immune system out for up to 12 months. We are hoping it doesn't get to that point. I do know of several other recipients who's lung function responded to the rATG, and I'm hoping I am one of them. :)

So, that's a rundown of my week at Duke. I am so thankful for my wonderful doctors and nurses!!! I have been home now for almost a week. I have slept most of the week away, but am feeling much better! I am definitely staying away from crowds for at least another couple of weeks.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finally a plan!

Well, most of you know I've been an inpatient at Duke since Monday. I came here to get rATG, a medication that basically wipes out your immune system. They are hopeful that my lung function will come back up with that, and the chronic rejection will be stabilized with it.

After talking with one of the lung transplant pulmonologists, she thought that it would be a good idea to desensitize me to an IV antibiotic and keep me on it for several weeks (the duration of time that rATG normally keeps your immune system suppressed). The reason for this is my chronic sinusitis, and the tendency for it to flare up and cause an acute infection in my sinuses, which could potentially go to my lungs. I was desensitized to Ceftazidime on Tuesday.

I was supposed to start the rATG yesterday, but my labs showed that once again my bone marrow was suppressed and not producing the red and white blood cells like it should. My numbers had fallen quite a bit from last week's clinic visit to yesterday morning. Because of the drop, it would mean that my body would have a harder time fighting off infection if I would have gotten the rATG yesterday. They decided to hold off on it, and give me two medications that increase the bone marrow production of both white and red cells. They wanted to wait and check my labs today to make sure my bone marrow responded to these two meds.

My labs this morning DID show a big improvement in just one day from the medications. That means that my bone marrow should keep responding, and that rATG should be safe to give. Therefore, and a BIG YAY FOR THIS, I'll be getting my first dose sometime in the next few hours. Side effects from this medication are basically flu-like symptoms, so I may not be feeling the greatest for awhile. If I do well with it, I should be able to go home Sunday or Monday. I'll be on the IV antibiotic and an oral antibiotic at home for 3 weeks, and another IV anti-viral medication that they give after giving rATG. They will also keep me on the two medications they started yesterday that are helping out my bone marrow.

I know it sounds confusing that they would want to raise my white blood cells with the medication they started yesterday, only to suppress them today with the rATG, but there are several different kinds of white blood cells, and all of mine have been suppressed with my bone marrow. With the rATG, they basically want to lower the lymphocytes that target b and t cells and therefore can cause rejection. Neutrophils are the white blood cells that kill off viruses and bacteria, and I need those, so that's the reason for bringing all of them all up first. I hope that made sense. :)

I'll keep everyone posted on how this all turns out. They won't know for awhile if the rATG has helped or not. I'm not sure when I will come back to clinic to repeat my chest xray and have pulmonary function tests again. I hope all of you are doing well!!! Love to all!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Things to do before tomorrow

Everyone else going into the hospital tries to get too much done the day before also?? Right? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I'm making my list while I enjoy my coffee. :)

1.) Shower and shave! ha!

2.) Finish laundry

3.) Pack clothes/toiletries

4.) Make sure house is clean

5.) Pack up meds, diabetic supplies, nasal irrigation, OTC's

6.) Fill bird feeder

7.) Bathe doggies

8.) Call necessary people

9.) Pack up laptop and accessories

10.) Pack up camera and accessories

11.) Go to Target for snacks and other items

12.) Go to library

14.) Access port-a-cath

13.) Give TONS of love to Casey and the pups!!!

I am hoping they get started tomorrow on the rATG, but have a feeling it will be Tuesday. I am assuming I will have to have a nurse with me the entire first dose to monitor for reactions, so that requires an extra staff person (just like when I get desensitized to an antibiotic). That means scheduling changes, and that usually takes a day.

I forgot to mention in my last post that not only are they seeing changes with my lung function tests, but they are also seeing changes on my xray. They have noticed that my smaller airways are stretched out a bit, which means that air is getting in there and getting trapped and cannot get out. The reason for that is the scar tissue that develops there when you get chronic rejection. They are hoping this med will help that issue also.

Ok, coffee is done and I have to get busy. I'll be facebooking and blogging this week, and I'm sure for those of you on my FB, you will continue to see goofy pics that Jason feels the need to take. You know.. the sign pictures. LOL!!!!

Have a great week everyone, and please keep me and all of my CF friends in your thoughts and prayers. Many are struggling! Thanks!! Love to all!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Good? No!!! But that's ok....

All righty!!!! I saw my lung transplant pulmonologist today. Before I saw him, I had the normal pulmonary function tests, chest xray and blood work done. First, I'll give you the GOOD news. :)

My blood counts are up, which is a very good thing. My bone marrow seems to be coming out of its depression and producing those red and white blood cells like it's supposed to! Whoo hoo! Go bone marrow!!!

On the other hand........

My lung function tests remain about the same. I was really thinking that little percentage increase was going to make a difference, but my doc informed me that it's still quite a bit lower than it was 2 months ago. Sooooooo of course being the aggressive (thank God.. literally thank God) doc that he is, decided to do something about it!!!!!

Pending a negative CT scan that I had today (meaning there is no infection hiding in my lungs), I will be admitted next week for some good ole rATG!!! It's a medication that pretty much wipes out your immune system to stop any rejection that might be going on. We are hoping and praying that it works. My pulmonologist didn't want to put me on Campath, which is a much stronger med, because I seem to be very "infectious" and get infections very easily. He didn't want to push it unless he has to!!!

So it seems I'll be spending a few days at Duke. At least it will help me catch up on my Photoshop classes, huh? :) I'm not really worried. My doc is so aggressive and catches things early. Chronic rejection is so common for anyone 5 years or more out of lung transplant, and I'm over 8 years out!!!! The lungs are the one organ that seems to reject much easier, because it is exposed to the outside environment, unlike other organs.. sayyyyyy like my new kidney. If this rATG doesn't work, then my doc will just try something else. I have all the confidence in the world with Duke's transplant program. SO, so happy to be a patient there. I feel totally blessed!

OK, so that is really all I have to say. I'll update if my CT looks good and my orders are written for admission next week. Love to all!!!!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A blog post

I really didn't know what to name this post. Sometimes I feel like I have to blog just to say hi to those who don't follow me on facebook, and of course to give a little more detail than I do on facebook... I mean come on... it only allows for so many characters per status message, and you don't want to sit all day and post status updates..... well, most ppl don't.

Just a few things going on in my life...

1.) Jason is snoring.. I mean right now he is snoring beside me. It doesn't help my insomnia at all, but at least my loving husband is going to get a sleep study this Friday. We are thinking he may have some sleep apnea and might need a C Pap machine. I just want something to fix it, and so does he, because he wakes up so tired. We are definitely enjoying him on first shift though, and haven't noticed a big change in his paycheck yet. It will catch up with us, I'm sure. LOL.

2.) I don't like to be one of those bragging moms, but I do have to do a tad bit about Casey. She tells me last week, the night before report cards are supposed to be issued, that she might be getting a B... OH MY!!! She was SO worried. I promised her that a B in 8th grade was not going to hurt her when it comes to college admission. She so wants to go to Duke and is afraid that she will hurt that chance if she slacks at all right now. Well of course she had straight A's in all 8 classes. Most of them were 100s, one a 99, one a 98 and one a 97. I'm so proud of her!!!! She is also in several clubs, including the Beta club at her school. She works hard, and I'm so proud of her for it. She will start back her piano lessons soon.

3.) This weekend is Jason's and my 4th year anniversary, AND my parent's 47th (?) anniversary.... wow! It feels longer than 4 years for Jason and me, but maybe that's because I was married almost 10 years the first time. That makes me sound really old, huh? We are meeting some friends at a Japanese steakhouse nearby. Casey is also taking a friend. We were thinking The Melting Pot, but we did that last year, and wanted something different. I'm so happy to be with a loving, thoughtful man, who also loves my daughter and takes care of both of us. :)

4.) I'm working out like a crazy person!!! I hope it lasts. haha. I'm doing several DVD's, one of which is the Biggest Loser Bootcamp. I love it!!!!!!!! Of course it's hard right now to stand up from a sitting position, because I am so sore, but I'm sure that will get better.

5.) I go see my pulmonologist on the 18th. We will see how my pulmonary function tests look and he will decide whether or not I need to be treated for chronic rejection. I'm praying that my small airways are better. I haven't had to use an inhaler the past few times I've exercised, so that's good!!!! I'm also meeting a dear friend of mine for lunch on that day. Her name is Tiffany, and I have heard her speak before to medical professionals about their relationship with their patients... she was awesome... and I met her briefly, but other than that, we have only had correspondence on facebook. She has CF and has had TWO double lung transplants... what an inspiration.

6.) The Charlotte Observer is doing an article on my Mom and me for Mother's Day. What a great way to bring recognition to my mom for giving me life 3 times, to bring awareness to Cystic Fibrosis, and organ donation. They are going to come interview my mom, Casey and me in a couple of weeks.

7.) My hair is growing... FAST! I'm so happy about that. It straightens out a bit as it grows longer and is much easier to manage. I can get a small ponytail now. :)

8.) My photoshop class is coming along. The last class took me 5 hours to complete, because of all the work involved and the assignments afterward, but at least I'm learning. I still have about 3 classes to catch up on.

9.) I ordered new glasses today. The cutest Coach glasses called Hilary. They fit my face perfectly. I will get them in 5 to 7 days. My prescription hasn't changed that much, only slightly, but I still need new frames.

10.) Jason and I start a new Lifegroup on Thursday. It's a small group of Christian people who get together and connect. We do have lessons to do and reading to do that we discuss, but it's mostly about fellowship. It's been awhile since we've been in a lifegroup, so we are excited... this 1st shift is giving us much more flexibility with our schedule!!! :)

I do want you all to keep my dear friend Lori in your thoughts and prayers. She is experiencing some chronic rejection that is a rare kind, and treatments are not the same as with the most common chronic rejection. Her center is in touch with Duke to figure out the best treatment plan.

I wish all of you a Happy Valentine's Day!!! Lots of love and hearts. :)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Bronchoscopy results

I just realized I hadn't posted my bronch results on my blog. They were negative for infection or rejection, which is good, but still doesn't rule out chronic rejection. I continue to have some wheezing with exercise which indicates something going on in my small airways, but other than that, I feel great. My pulmonologist wants me back in 4 weeks to repeat my pulmonary function tests again and see if my numbers have come back up. If not, he is thinking of starting me on a medication called Rituximab, hoping that it would reduce my high antibody count and therefore stabilize any rejection I might have going on. There are many other medications out there to try, so if one doesn't work, we can try another.

I was able to meet one of my CF friends on Monday. We knew each other through the internet, but had never met in person. Her name is Amy, and she had her double lung transplant at Duke 4 months after me. It was so exciting to meet her!!! We hope to meet her hubby Roger soon!

I started my online Photoshop class last week. I haven't learned a whole lot yet, but I know that it is going to be very helpful. I'm hoping to really enhance my photos with it. I know it takes years to master Photoshop though, and my old brain isn't what it used to be. LOL.

Jason and Casey are doing well. Jason is adjusting to first shift with his job! It's nice to have him home for dinner and home at night. Casey gets report cards today. She's pretty sure she has all A's. I'm so proud of her for working so hard. She is thinking now that she might want to work for the FBI instead of becoming a doctor. I don't know about you, but when I was her age, I changed my mind about my future every week or so. I never dreamed at that age that I would ever want to become a nurse. Casey's step-mom has a sister and brother-in-law who work for the FBI, so if she becomes serious about this, she has people who can tell her all about how it is in REAL life, instead of how it's portrayed on TV. :)

I'll leave you with some random photos. I hope all of you are doing well and having a great winter....

Monday, January 18, 2010

Golden Globe Fashion 2010

Isn't it nice to get away from the stress of real life sometimes and talk about something fun... like fashion? I had so much fun doing last year's Oscar fashion review, that I thought I would do it again for the Golden Globes this year, because you know me.. I've got an opinion. :)

I do try to steer away from other reviews before I do mine. I did that last year too with my Oscar review, but ended up having the same review about Beyonce's dress as Perez Hilton, whom I would like to NOT share an opinion with. Anyway, if you would like to see pictures of the dresses reviewed below, but not shown, you can go here or to your favorite celebrity site!

Picking best dressed was very hard to do. I try to pick only ONE, and this year, all the gorgeous dresses made that hard to do. When I say best dressed, I do mean make-up and hair too, because you can take a beautiful dress and ruin it with the wrong hair-do or should I say hair-don't!!! Another thing that I had to consider was not just how these women looked in pictures, but how they looked onscreen last night, because sometimes I thought they looked good in pictures, but not so good onscreen, or vice versa.

HINT: You can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

So after reviewing them all again this morning, here is my pick for Best Dressed:

Is she not perfect? Everything about this screams beautiful? Not only did she stick with her Spanish heritage on this, but the dress fits her figure perfectly. Not a lot of women can wear lines that go horizontally across the body, but Penelope sure can. The lace at the top of the gown makes this black dress seem not so typical. Black dresses can be boring, but no one can say that about this gown! Penelope's hair even screams glamour!

Now, my pick for Worst Dressed:

Can you say "OH MY!"? Chloe Sevigny is one big mess in this horrible attempt at a gown. When she was walking up to get her golden globe, the top of the dress kept blowing up in her face, and then I read where her gown actually tore onstage. Who would want to wear something like that? There are way too many ruffles on this and the "blush" color reminds me of the nightmare bridesmaids dresses in the movie "Steel Magnolias". What also made me pick this as worst dressed was the fact that Chloe has a masculine face anyway, and she chooses to pull her hair so severely back that it in no way helps her look feminine. She is young enough to have worn a nice fitting shorter gown, and to have left this dress hanging on the rack!!!

There were a lot of black dresses last night, flesh colored dresses, and yes, some very bold colors too. I thought there was a lot of glamour there! Shorter dresses are acceptable at the Golden Globes, because it is a less formal event than the Oscars, but I do think they should be left to the young girls, not the older ladies. This leads me to this critique.....

Julia Roberts - Um, what was she thinking? I love Julia, and because of who she is, she can mostly get away with anything, but I'm wondering if she just picked a cocktail dress from 10 years ago out of her closet and threw it on before coming to the award show. I'm also wondering if her twins did her hair, or if she just decided to wake up and not do anything to it at all. She is a little old to be wearing a short dress like that to an awards show in my opinion. And what about the gold accessories? Haven't I seen that necklace somewhere before? Like I said, this must have already been hanging in her closet.

Jennifer Aniston - WOW! The picture I found of her on the red carpet wasn't so great, but I'm thinking that's because the rain frizzed her hair up a bit, but by the time she stepped onstage to present, she was stunning and perfect! I know she wears black a lot on an everyday basis, but no one can say anything bad about this black number she had on last night. I even loved the slit, which can't be pulled off by just anyone. It fit her gorgeous body perfectly and wasn't over or understated. Jen, even though you didn't get it right last year at the Oscars because of your little-girl hair-do, you got it perfect this time around.

Kate Winslet - She wears blues and grays a lot. This gown wasn't bad, but I think it could have been more striking. She wears it well, but the navy color is kind of dull, and there really aren't a lot of embellishments on it. Just kind of blah to me!

Reese Witherspoon - I do believe this is the best I have ever seen her look! She is in the best shape of her life, and it shows! The only picture that I found of her is here. Doesn't she look stunning? (As opposed to her mess of a dress last year at the Oscars). Her hair, make-up, figure, dress all scream glamour and beauty. It's a simple, but yet elegant gown, and the one shoulder number gives it that little extra pizazz it needed.

Kate Hudson - Unbelievable gown! I think this is one of those that people are going to either love or hate. I love it!!! The updo, nails and accessories are perfect. I have to say I wasn't that fond of her shoes, but I'm not that fond of most celebrity shoes these days. Personally, I never would have picked a white gown for her, but I couldn't be more happy with it!

Maggie Gyllenhaal - Again, loved it! Peach? Who would have thought peach? But it's perfect! I like the different lines of the dress, and the fishtail at the bottom was just right. She wore it so well! And her skin tone went well with the color. I do believe she could have done a little more with her updo, but she still looks better than I've ever seen her look.

Mo'Nique - She looked fabulous in gold! The diagonals across the top of the strapless dress were beautiful, and this entire dress draped her frame beautifully. I was so happy she chose this. I also like her hair pulled back, but do think she needed some large earrings to complete this look.

Sandra Bullock - Ewwwww! What cheap material did they use to make this see through number? From her neck to her waist was ok, but the rest, including her hair was horrible! Did she have on a mini-skirt under the sheer outer layer of this dress? It sure looked like it when she walked onstage. I think she could have pulled this color off beautifully if the gown were made out of something other than craft paper... or whatever it is.

Halle Berry - Perfection! She wore the black and gold well, and has the perfect body to show off a little cleavage. I like the way the gown showed off her curves too. It was a stunning gown with the perfect embellishment of gold lace. And I love her hair short again, without those hideous extensions. If anyone can pull of this hairstyle, it's Halle!

Sigourney Weaver - I loved this emerald dress on her. It was perfect for her age and figure. The overlapping "folds" of the dress gave it some nice lines. Her hair and earrings were also perfect. She gets an A from me for sure!

Drew Barrymore - This flesh colored number was beautiful. It had quite a few embellisments, and even though I could have done without the little thing on her hip, I still love the dress on her. She looks elegant! I just saw a picture of her with the tips of her hair colored black, so I was afraid of what she would look like last night, but she was gorgeous. I love the beaded overlay on this dress. I also love her understated hair.

Heidi Klum - Well, she's never my favorite on the red carpet, but I must say, this year, she did look nice. It's not something I would ever choose, but the light blue/grayish gown fit her perfect and I loved the off-the-shoulder look.

Emily Blunt - Another chiffon gown! The chiffon overlay MADE this pink gown though. It would have been boring without it. She wears it well, but I must say, her hair is another bed-head for the night. Why put on a beautiful gown and do nothing with your hair? Anyway, she's still a pretty girl, and worthy of a look!

Mariah Carey - Do you want to even go there?? She was my second choice for worst dressed. I have no problem with her having a little weight on her body. It's who she naturally is. BUT I do have a problem when she wants to show the world all she's got!!! Some people (like Halle) can pull off the plunging neckline, but when you have boobies that are as big as Texas (because of surgery I'm sure), you don't need a neckline this low. The dress also looked about 2 sizes too small for her, as do most clothes that she wears. Uhhh.. her hair was nice though!

Jennifer Garner - Speaking of boobies, she is one celebrity who proves to us that you don't have to have fake ones to look good... even great!!!! I loved her gown last night. The neckline of this sparkly, taupe dress was beautiful and unique. I loved her hair down in the back. I mean you don't always have to have an updo as Jennifer Aniston has already proved for the past 10 years with her same hairstyle. Anyway, Jennifer G's earrings were perfect and so was her make-up. When I saw her on the red carpet, I was stunned by how gorgeous she was, but when the camera zoomed in on her during the show, she looked almost skeletal to me. When did she get so thin??

Fergie - Well, stilllllll speaking of boobs... haha! Anyway, her periwinkle (reminds me of the crayon) dress was gorgeous. I would love to buy it for Casey's future prom. The waistline was so stunning and would flatter almost any figure. I do wish she would have had somewhere to put her large breasts other than right under her chin, but still, she looked beautiful in the gown. I would say she's a bit overtanned, but she's always like that, and her hair is always down and a bit messy, so I won't criticize her on that.

Elizabetta Canalis - In case you have no idea who this is, it's George Clooney's current flavor of the month. She's an Italian beauty!! I did like her dress. It was a fleshy colored number that had a very unique waistline. I liked the criss-crossed, peek-a-boo waistline a lot. It accentuated her beautiful figure. Her hair was down with loose curls and just gorgeous. The color of the dress couldn't go more perfectly with her skin-tone.

Cameron Diaz - Ok, I have mixed feelings on this, because the lines of the dress, the waist-line, the neck-line ALL go perfectly with her tall thin frame. BUT the material reminds me of the 80's bridesmaid's dresses we all hated. I'm glad she went bold with red, since there didn't seem to be many red dresses at all last night, and she can rock some red lipstick, but the material is all wrong. Satin doesn't photograph well either.

Gabourey Sidibe - The emerald color is perfect with her skin tone. The material of the dress flowed nicely over her larger frame. And the beaded waistline was gorgeous. The only problem I have with this dress is the fact that it makes her look much older than she really is. It's very matronly, and she is not. I wish she would have done an off the shoulder, or strapless gown instead. And I also would have skipped the necklace.

Nicole Kidman - Yuck! All the way around. Why does she continue to wear dresses that make her look even paler than she really is. These nude colored dresses she keeps choosing are hideous. I didn't like anything about this gown, including the material, the gathering of material at her hips, or the neckline. I also didn't like her updo. Come on Nicole... you are gorgeous.. show us next time that you are!

Jane Lynch - She reminds me of a big gallbladder for some reason. This being her first awards show EVER, you would think she would have wanted to make an impression. I like the tiny belt at the waistline, but that's it! The material, color, and neckline all scream CHEAP PROM DRESS!

Marion Cotillard - Well, once again... I hated it! What's up with her slip showing beneath the slit in her gown? And the lines on the dress looked like they were designed by someone who had a bit too much to drink. The color could have worked though. It's a unique ultra deep aqua. My brain isn't working enough to come up with the exact color. A few more accessories would have been nice too.

Christina Aguilera - I loved this corset-type blushy/fleshy colored dress. It was very, very unique, but she looked divine in it! Her little tiny frame didn't hurt her!! I loved her short bob too. It completed her elegant look.

Diane Kruger - Well, I also considered her for worst dressed, but then again, I didn't expect anything different from her. Being the girlfriend of the Fringe hottie Joshua Jackson, you would think she would dress a bit better than she does. The color was great, but that's the only thing that was. The neckline reminded me of icing on a very bad cake! And what was up with the white, out of place bow-like contraption at her waist? Her hair was also a greasy looking mess.

Toni Collette - Loved, loved, loved the dress, even though it sort of reminded me of Jennifer Aniston's at last year's Oscars. It was a gold beaded number that fit her nicely, had a beautiful neckline, and hung on her tiny frame perfectly. I also loved her updo with a few curls escaping it, creating an elegant and perfect style.

Courteney Cox - Love her in black! Her black hair and black dress go beautifully together. This dress was nothing special, and very understated, but elegant and beautiful on her. I loved the sparkly waistline. Without it, this dress would have faded into the background. I don't particularly like the part in her hair, but come on.. it's Courteney.. she could be bald and would still be just as gorgeous.

Amy Adams - Ok, it's hard to look good in an evening gown when you are pregnant, but I've definitely seen celebs pull it off before. I was happy that she didn't wear a skin-tight dress like some pregger celebs wear, but still... couldn't she have done better than this? The color was just... well... boring. I know red-heads love green, but this is an atrocious color green. The little broach on her dress makes her look 60 instead of the 30ish she really is. The lines of the dress are horrible, and her handbag is not cute at all. I do, however, love her shoes!

Glenn Close - Her long, black, sequined sheath was to die for! Perfect for her age, figure, and body-type. I also loved her hair. She rocked the red carpet!

Anna Paquin - All I have to say about this dress, is maybe she recycles gold, and then melts it down for a red carpet nightmare!

Kristen Bell - I'm glad she went with a shorter dress. It's not too short, so still elegant, but she's young enough to pull off the shorter length. I didn't care for the color (can't tell if it's white or a light blue), and I really didn't like the style that much, but she still looked pretty. I do like her simple necklace and hairstyle.

Anna Kendrick - I am torn! When I look at her I see elegance, but then again, the dress is a little too much for her petite frame. She's a tiny little thing, and it almost overpowers her. I am glad to see a young actress dress like she belongs in Hollywood instead of a Vegas show, but still, I think she could have done a little less and still looked as glamourous.

Tina Fey - Think "Mary Poppins went to prison". This was a nightmare. A complete and total disaster. She is trying to look 20, but in reality looks older than she is in this horrible thing that someone apparently called a gown. And what's up with her shoes? They are not only ugly, but don't go with the gown at all. I love a nude shoe with a black dress, but not with a black and white dress that is so busy, you could get lost in the Twilight Zone just looking at it.

Zoe Saldana - This girl could wear anything because of her slender figure, but she chose this? Why? I love the color on her. It's one that I don't believe has been worn recently at an awards show, but the dress looks like they kept running out of material to make it, and just kept reattaching more as they found it. Her hair is also just blah! I expected more from this cutie.

Julianne Moore - Grandma's dress gone wrong! First of all there is a seam running down the middle of the dress. There is no shape at all to it.. that's what makes me think that they took a big piece of material and sewed it together however they wanted. And then took a big fluffy strip of material and made a neckline out of it. I do like the charcoal gray color on her though! And those earrings... didn't we some similar on Angelina at the Oscars last year? You can't pair beautiful expensive emeralds with a pillow-case.

Sofia Vergara - I loved this dress! The color, the shape, the train, the neckline all work. I like how they incorporated a little burgundy into the the neckline of this grayish blue dress. Simple hair and accessories complete the look.

Ginnifer Goodwin - Did she get this dress at Forever 21? It looks so cheap! She could have pulled off a short dress like this, but it doesn't flatter her hips at all. From the waist up, it's cute, and the color looks great on her, but as far as the dress goes, those are the only pluses. I do love her shoes, hair and earrings though!

Lea Michelle - Even though I think this black ball gown is more suited for the Oscars than the Golden Globes, I think it's beautiful!! Everything about it screams Old Hollywood, and she wears it well! I love her hair and jewelry too. She did well by going with no necklace on this one!

January Jones - Barf a maggot!!! Can I say that on here? She is horrible! I bet Ashton Kutcher was glad he dumped this girl after seeing her last night. Everything from the ruffles on the dress (can you tell I don't like ruffles) to the school girl headband, make her a train wreck!

Heather Graham - When I first saw her on the red carpet, I thought she looked nice, but the closer look I got, the more I disliked this whole look. First of all, she should have worn color.. not black. Save the black for those with a better skin tone. The sequined gown wasn't ugly by any means. It would have looked great on Courteney Cox or Angelina Jolie, but not on Heather. Her hair was also so severely pulled back, that I thought her eyes might pop out of her head. Her boobs were lopsided, and her accessories were greatly understated.

Christina Hendricks - Loved it!!!!! The color was amazing with her red hair. It was a very light peach. Even though this dress had some ruffles on it, they were at the hip where they should be, and the nice diagonal lines of this dress greatly accentuated her figure. She couldn't have picked a better dress!

Jayma Mays - Did she make this dress in her 8th grade Home Ec class? The top looks like they just threw some white ribbon across a plain black dress to spice it up a bit, and the bottom looks like she was caught in a spider web prior to the red carpet. Can I say anything nice about her look? Yeah, her hair was nice and elegant.

OK now let's talk about my "House" girls.. You know, the girls from the show that SHOULD have won last night, but was once again beaten by some show called "Mad Men" that I have never watched, and don't know anyone who has... anyway... here they are.....

Olivia Wilde - Just a reflection of beauty, but she usually is. After all, she IS married to a prince. It's not hard to look good when you have a figure like she does, but she was just perfect. This shimmery, metallic number flattered her figure and had great lines. The plunging neckline isn't too severe and I love the way it lays around her neck. The diagonal drape across her mid-section makes her tiny waist look even tinier and gives her hips a nice, curvy look. She is auctioning this dress off for Haiti too!

Lisa Edelstein - This silvery gown was perfect on her! The color went so nicely with her skin-tone and hair color. When I see the picture here, I don't like it as much as I did when I saw her onscreen. It really did flatter her figure and looked age appropriate. I love the lines of the dress, and the clasp at the bottom of the neckline. Her hair and accessories all added to her look.

Jennifer Morrison - Ok, I was bragging about my House girls last night until I saw Jennifer. I can't think of one time on the red carpet that she's looked nice. She always chooses the wrong dress, either looking like a tramp or just a hot mess. This time, I'm not sure what to call it. I think of a very busy sewing machine when I look at her. The color could have worked with her skin-tone and now blonde hair, but the ruffles make it to difficult to see past them and even look at the rest of her. Poor Jennifer.. get a new stylist ASAP.

Ok, I would love to hear your opinions. I'm not sure I have as many readers as last year when I did the Oscar review, but if you are one of my FB friends without a google account, I do allow anonymous messages, so you don't have to sign up for an account to comment. I hope you have enjoyed this. I really do like critiquing all the Hollywood celebs while I sit on my sofa in my p.j.s.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Bronchoscopy number 486

...Ok, not really, but sometimes it feels like it. I have had many of them since my lung transplant over 8 years ago, but not quite that many (I don't think).

I went to Duke yesterday for another bronchoscopy (biopsy of lungs) and a visit with my lung transplant pulmonologist. I had some acute rejection back in October and did some IV steroids and a prednisone taper for it. I went for a follow-up bronch in November, and everything came back clear. No rejection or infection. This was to be my last follow-up bronch due to the rejection, and then I would just go back to my yearly bronch like normal.

Before my bronch yesterday, I had blood work, pulmonary function tests (pfts), and an xray done. My pulmonary function tests were down quite a bit since my last visit. My total lung capacity was only down about 4%, but the number that indicates how your smaller airways are working was down 17%. I had my bronch, and just like last time, had an allergic reaction to something. I believe they have switched the medication that numbs the back of your throat, because the meds they use to sedate me are still the same. Anyway, on top of the sedating medications, I had to get 50 ml of IV benadryl. The rest of the day is a little blurry, because of all of that.

After the bronch, I saw my pulmonologist, and he explains to me that my blood work shows that I have bone marrow suppression. This means that my blood cell counts are really low... both red and white. I'm even more anemic than I was at my nephrology appointment last week, and my white cells are down even lower too. My pulmonologist believes that the combination of two of my medications are doing this, so he has discontinued one of them. It is the medicine that prevents me from getting CMV or cytomegalovirus. Because I was CMV negative at the time of my lung transplant and my mom was CMV positive (in other words, she had the virus sometime in her life, and I hadn't), it put me at risk of developing the virus. For someone healthy, this doesn't mean much, but for someone immunosuppressed, it can cause a lot of problems if you get this virus in your lungs or intestines. I have had it in my blood twice since transplant, but it was treated with an IV medication. Now that I won't be on the medication to prevent it, there will be a chance of me getting it again, but that's the chance my doctor is willing to take, because bone marrow suppression can be much worse and can keep me from fighting off ANY infection. The other med that was aiding to this suppression is one of my anti-rejection medications called Cellcept, and especially because of my recent rejection, he did not want to discontinue that one. He is hoping that my counts will be up in a few weeks.

Now concerning my smaller airways and my lower pfts, he is thinking we might see some rejection or infection on this bronchoscopy. The results will not be back until Monday unfortunately. If it is a negative bronchoscopy (in other words, nothing shows up), then he thinks this is probably just continuation of my chronic rejection, which started back in 2007. Chronic rejection can progress at different rates, and differs from acute rejection in that acute rejection is usually taken care of with a round of steroids, whereas chronic rejection is very unpredictable and can be slowed down, but not really stopped for good. You can have a sudden drop in your lung function and then stabilize for years, or it can be fast and you can lose all lung function over a period of months. My chronic rejection has previously been treated with Cellcept and Azithromycin. That seemed to stabilize everything. Now that my lung function is dropping again, if the doctor suspects it's the chronic rejection doing it, he will decide on a course of treatment. I asked him yesterday what that might be, and he said he won't make that decision until my bronch results come back.

This is just going to be a waiting game to see if my blood counts come back up, and to see what my lung function does. I recently started exercising again, and it seems that every time I start to get in shape again, something sets me back. I'm going to attribute that to being allergic to exercise!!! :) Just kidding... I won't let any of this stop me from continuing my exercise regimen. I will post again on Monday after I get the results. Love to all!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1st blog of New Year!!

Well, even though it was quick, we had a great Christmas. Casey got her iPod touch she wanted, so all is right with the world. LOL. We really do want next year to be all about giving to those in need and not to those who aren't in need, so that is going to be planned immediately, so that friend and family aren't shocked in early December with my idea. :)

We were able to go up to my hometown to see my grandparents and extended family on my mom's side, and to see my Dad's side of the family too!!! It was a great day. I love them all SO much, and I can't imagine not having all of them here.

We finally got our tree down and the house clean yesterday. It is amazing to have my house back. I'm not sad at all that the holidays are over. However, I am very saddened about my dear friend Angela's family. Her mom isn't expected to live another 48 hours. I just can't believe it's real. I truly hate cancer!!!! Please keep Angela and her family in your prayers. They are struggling as you can imagine.

I wish I had some monumental awesome thing to tell you, but I really don't. Casey is back to school and had a great, but cold day. She was glad she wore her long handles. :) Her school was really cold she said. She is in a geography bee on Wed, but hasn't done much studying for it. We will cram tomorrow night.... hmmmm... reminds me of my college days. LOL.

Jason goes on 1st shift on the 17th. It's a 10% pay cut, so I feel I need to find some kind of work to help get that back. Just not sure what to do. I'm not comfortable enough with my photography yet to charge for it, but I do plan on taking a Photoshop CS4 class soon, so that will definitely add to my photos. Still loving my 50mm f/1.4 lens. :)

Casey has several things she wants to do this summer, but it would take her away for 6 weeks. I told her she could do 2 out of the 3, but she isn't sure which 2 she would choose. I feel bad, but I LOVE my summers with her, and don't want her gone the entire summer. We will see what she decides.

I am flabbergasted... my hair has already grown about an inch. My hairdresser has always told me that my hair grows fast, so that's really good, b/c short hair is SO hard to take care of. I have naturally curly hair and when I leave it curly I look about 12. If I straighten it, I look my age, but it takes so long to fix. I can't wait until my ponytail is back, but am just thankful it's coming back at all. :)

To all my friends who don't have facebook, you don't realize how awesome it is to connect with those you haven't spoken to in 20 years until you get on there. I do wish you would all join.... believe me, I'm on there everyday and many times a day... haha!!!

I am ordering new glasses this week. Mine are old and worn out. I also go to Duke on Thurs for a much needed kidney tx appt. Oh for those of you who don't know tx=transplant. I always abbreviate without thinking of those who don't know that. I will go again the next week for a bronchoscopy where they biopsy my lungs to make sure the rejection is still staying far, far away!! I know it is!!! :)

I have many friends in need of lungs. I hope that you will keep all of the people in your prayers waiting on lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines, pancreas, eyes, tissue, heart, etc. There just isn't enough going around, because there are still those not signing their donor card. What a WONDERFUL last gift you could give someone!!!!

Ok before I go, I must shout out to Kristin, Nicole, Rhonda, Anne-Lewis (who turned 40 on Sunday), and Trenda who are my most dearest friends from VA. And also big prayers to one of my besties Angela, who's mom is in the process of dying as I write this blog. I can't tell you the sadness I feel. :(

I am looking forward to the new year. I hope all of you are too!!! Love to all!!