Hi and I hope this finds you enjoying your week and the start of the month of May. I have many things to catch you up on so this will be a bit of an all over the place life lately. This post is filled with highs and lows, good things and hard things. It truly feels like a synopsis of what life feels like most days. Holding all the things at the same time and trying to do the best that I can to be a good mom, daughter, friend and human rather imperfectly.
A SPECIAL VISITOR
My mom was here visiting for a week. She had an endoscopy procedure scheduled at Duke along with several routine post-transplant follow up appointments. I have mentioned this before but my mom will be under the care of the transplant pulmonology team at Duke for the rest of her life. The first year after transplant can be a little tricky as the body works to heal from such a major, invasive surgery. It is also a challenge to get all of the medications and dosing just right so they keep a very close watch on you. It’s been hard on my mom but overall she’s doing really well. As she gets further our from her transplant, the frequency of her visits should space out significantly.
We were in Durham for three nights but my mom got to spend a couple nights in Charlotte before and after our time at Duke. Finn was thrilled to have her with us (as were the pups!).
We were hanging out in the back yard one afternoon and I had gardening gloves on to pull weeds. Finn asked if I had gloves for him and I said, “no but maybe we can get you some.” The next thing I knew he came outside wearing one of my winter hats. He said it was to “protect his head” haha.
There were also a lot of treats during Meme’s visit and Finn was down for it! 🙂
THREE DAYS IN DURHAM
While we spent a lot of time at the outpatient hospital clinic, my mom and I were able to get out and have a little bit of fun too!
One day we took an afternoon outing to Eno River State Park. While my mom isn’t quite ready for any sort of intense hiking (yet!), we did enjoy casually wandering around. It was a gorgeous day and we visited at a time when the park was uncrowded.
We also ate a whole lot of delicious food, which I will share in my next recent eats recap!
We will be heading back to Duke early June. While this transplant journey is a hard one with many twists and turns, we are so grateful for the extraordinary care that my mom is receiving at Duke…and that they gave her a chance to receive the gift of a lifesaving organ transplant.
April was National Donate Life Month and they had this sign up in the main lawn in front of the Duke Medicine Pavilion as well as a huge painted sign in the grass. We took photos in front of sign because I wanted to do a post on Instagram for National Donate Life Month to encourage people to sign up to be an organ, eye and tissue donor.
WEEKEND WITH FINN
We dropped my mom at the airport around noon on Friday. I didn’t take any photos the rest of the day but we took a short trip to the playground and went on an evening walk with Virginia, Stella and the pups.
We had a lazy start to Saturday morning and played with toys and cars for about an hour while I drank my coffee.
Next up was a birthday party at My Gym for a friend of mine’s daughter. You guys, it’s the saddest birthday story. This was supposed to be her 3rd birthday party but they postponed it twice due to covid and it ended up being her 4 and a few extra months birthday party. Well, one hour before the party she started vomiting and wasn’t able to come to her own party. Can you imagine!? My friend came and hosted the birthday and her daughter stayed home with her husband as it was too last minute to cancel or postpone again. Ugh, I hate it for them.
Since Finn got his exercise at My Gym, I was able to easily convince him to ride along for a stroller run when we got home. I have a post coming up about how to keep older toddlers/little kids happy in the stroller!
We had a super fun and casual Saturday night in downtown Matthews. It’s a very family-friendly and charming suburb of Charlotte that’s an easy 10 minute drive from my house.
We planned to grab pizza for dinner but there was a 45 minute wait for a table so we wandered down to Grace O’Malley’s for drinks for the adults and playtime for Finn. Finn was on the border of hangry so it was amazing to find other kids and corn hole for him to play with. It totally distracted him from the wait for dinner.
Once we were seated at The Pizza Peel, I think Finn’s dinner dreams came true. He had a kid’s cheese pizza and a side of French fries. Pizza twice in one day (he had pizza for lunch at the birthday party)…living the life!
The evening ended with ice cream at Artisen Gelato. My idea of a perfect Saturday evening.
I didn’t take any photos on Sunday. We had a super low-key day that included a morning walk with the dogs, cleaning, organization and laundry, a Target run and a quick stop into J. Crew for an outfit for Finn’s four year photos. We shot them on Monday evening with Amanda James at Glencairn Gardens in Rock Hill.
Mandy has been shooting Finn at different age milestones since he was 10 days old! She is so talented and I treasure the way she has documented Finn’s baby and toddlerhood and our relationship. I can’t wait to see these.
REST WELL, SWEET SAM
It breaks my heart to share this news but my parents lost Sam just a few days after arriving back home in Florida. This sweet boy made it through nearly seven months of living in a hotel with my parents through my mom’s transplant journey. He became the mascot of the hotel and the staff loved him. He got so much love and affection from them, they helped walk him when my dad had long days at the hospital and they even got donuts to celebrate his 15th birthday on March 17.
Sam was a constant companion for my mom through her waiting when she was so sick and so tired, and the greatest company and comfort for my dad during the 39 days my mom was in the hospital. Sam was always there waiting when my dad returned to the hotel after long hospital days.
My parents said he did great on the 12-hour drive home to Florida. He was eager to go on all of his normal walks and check everything out when they arrived home but also began acting a bit off and getting sick. They took him to the vet where they found that he had a large mass running from his esophagus down to his chest which was most certainly cancer. The vet wanted to keep him overnight to give him some meds, and then my parents planned to bring him home for a few days. Unfortunately, he declined so quickly that they made the difficult but compassionate decision to put him down the next morning.
I have tears streaming down my face as I type these words. Dogs are so incredible, strong and selfless. We all believe that Sam held on until he got my parents back to Florida and knew all was okay. He got to see all of his stuff and his home one last time and then he let go. I am just so grateful that they all made it home together.
Sam lived 15 amazing years, 8 of which he got to spend with my parents in Florida after they adopted him. We will always hold him dearly in our hearts.
And with that, I’m signing off. I plan to be back to a more regular posting schedule in the weeks to come.
Big love to all,