Tuesday, June 6, 2017

2 Year Transplant Anniversary Already!!!

Can you believe it's been 2 years already? Time has flown by for certain!  I'm trying to make each day count.  I owe so much to God and to my donor's family.  God has been so good to me!  I am beyond blessed!  As the saying goes-better than I deserve.  I can still recall getting my phone call a few minutes after 10:30 AM from Julie, stating they had a match for me. I remember how my heart ached for my donor's family knowing they had lost a loved one and was grieving somewhere.  Wanting to comfort them with a hug.  I remember the emotions. The anticipation of whether or not it was the moment, or if it would be a dry run.  Waking up in ICU and seeing my family.  Noticing a difference in my body upon waking up from surgery.  Being able to eat my first meal.  Getting off TPN. And the list goes on.  I don't want to go back to the old Jamie.  God has given me a second chance at life and I want to live it to my fullest.  I feel like I see things in life differently now.  I don't want to take life for granted. Enjoy the simple things and cherish moments more. There's some bumps, but they're bumps and nothing too big for God.  You take things one day at a time and realize bad days come but good days are on their way. Thank you for all your love, prayers, and support for myself and family along my journey.  Please keep my donor's family in your prayer also, especially this week. May God surround them with comfort and peace.  It's not easy losing a loved one, especially a child. 

With Love, 

When I was 88 pounds. 
A week ago.  To God be the glory!! 

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Catching up

Things have been a bit crazy and I've definitely fallen behind on updating my blog.  Sorry for the lack of updates.  I don't even know where to begin, but let's see if we can get it going...  I had the surgery on March 10, and all went pretty well besides a few hiccups. I had multiple kinks in the intestines that they had to fix and bring my intestines back up.  They also put in a chimney ileostomy again, like I had in the past.  Not sure if it's temporary or permanent. They will wait a year to decide, which is absolutely fine with me.  I need a break and left alone.   This was a lot bigger surgery than I was expecting and it took me back a few steps.  Thankful I am moving forward. I feel so blessed to have the prayers of family, friends, and even strangers.  God has brought me through and is so good to me.  My heart aches for those that I know who are struggling and worse off than myself.  I am so thankful I'm in my Makers hands and he knows what's best for me, even when I don't. I've met some wonderful people along my journey and can only pray that I can be an encouragement and blessing to them. 

We got in time to celebrate Kelsey's birthday.  Hard to believe that she turned 16 years old!   Wow!  She did get her drivers license also.  Watch out people, she's on the road!! Don't say I didn't warn ya. Ha! No, she's a good driver.  Still working on the interstate driving a lil, coming on and off the exits basically. She has become a beautiful young lady who loves the Lord and is a hard worker. I'm proud of her.  She just finished schooling for the year. 

Kailey and Matthew are doing well with their schooling. They are behind in Math for the year and trying to get that finished up.  Matthew is cleaning at a local office once a week and starting to mow yards.  That boy loves to mow and work outside. He enjoys helping Shane at the shop whenever he can also. Kailey is enjoying babysitting. She does that about 2 times a week. The kids are trying to save up their money to go to camp this July. They are excited about it. I'm so proud of them.  They are big helpers!  I love my kiddos so much!  God sure has blessed me!

Shane has moved his shop in Princeton to 611 North Plesant Street. It's behind Princeton Pharmacy. It's very nice inside.  He's doing a ribbon cutting May 8 with the city's Chamber of Commerce.  He's going to be serving hotdogs that day from noon till 5:00ish.  So stop on in and check it out! 

We just got back from Cleveland. It wasn't a planned trip.  Sunday, I went to the ER with abdominal pain, nausea, and incisional pain. The transplant Dr's wanted me there Monday am for scopes and biopsies.  We got out of the ER by 11pm,  came home and quickly packed and were on the road by midnight.  We switched out drivers two times, other than we tried keeping the car between the two lines and our eyes opened. We made it there at 8:30 in the morning. The scopes and biopsies looked alright, but with the symptoms they wanted me there a few more days.  We weren't planning on being there that long, but better than turning around and driving right back.  They did more biopsies and scopes and blood work. They also gave me mega doses of steroids through an IV  a few days and increased my oral steroids.  We don't know what is going on, but I did have a partial bowel obstruction along with the intestines pushing on the inner abdominal wall.  We got home Thursday evening. Glad to be home. Just being extra careful on what I eat right now. 

Thank you for all your prayers, support, cards, text, and emails! Also thank you for the donations you make to my funding page at National Foundation for Transplants. We still pay out of pocket expense for the hotel, gas, eats, medications, .....  What a blessing you all have been to me in whatever way you support me. A huge THANK YOU from my heart!


An EXCITED 16 year old

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Heading for Cleveland soon

Next week, March 10,  I will be having surgery to have either an ileostomy or colostomy placed. I've been waiting for this to happen since December since it was discovered that what is left of my native colon is now diseased.  I'll be in the hospital for a week then have to stay at the hotel for 2 weeks.  So if you don't mind, pray that all goes well and I have a speedy recovery.  

Kids are doing well.  They are staying ahead with their school which they are all glad of so they don't spend their summer doing school. The girls have a youth conference coming up for church in a few weeks. They are excited to be going.  It's a time they have to grow closer iin their walk with God.  
Kelsey just finished her last driving course this week. She'll be getting her license at the end of March.  Watch out people!  Don't say I didn't warn you lol! No, she's a pretty careful and cautious driver. 

In April Shane's Shine Shop will be moving to a new location in Princeton!!! How exciting! It will be on Pleasant street behind Princeton Pharmacy and Carquest.  Things are going well and this year will be his upcoming 10 year Anniversary. 

In December I wrote my donors family asking them if they'd be willing to have direct communication without having to go through the organ procurement organization.  The weekend of Valentines I received a letter stating their contact information and I signed off mine to them.  I sent off my first picture to them.  I can't wait to for the first card directly to me, so I can know more about my donor and his family.  

In February the youth did a Valentine banquet at church as a fundraiser.  They fixed bruschetta and salad, toasted raviolis, spaghetti and meatballs or chicken fettuccine and breadsticks.  They decorated in Italian theme and we ate by candlelight.  At home for Valentine's Day we ate on my Great Grandmas china. The girls helped me fix salad, chicken with BBQ sauce, cheese and bacon, and topped with sautéed peppers.  We also had cheddar biscuits, asparagus, Parmesan noodles, and for dessert we had Oreo dessert parfaits. 

Thank you so much for all your prayers!  I know I'm not fighting this alone, God is right beside me each step of the way.  Also I know that I have the support of you all through your prayers, love, text, emails, and cards.   Thank you!!


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Reporting From Room 419

Happy 2017 to you all! The year went by fast! I hope that you all had a wonderful Christmas! We had a wonderful time with family and friends, enjoying Christmas music, hot cocoa, and car rides to see the lights around town. Sitting at home and enjoying the lights glowing in the room. I enjoyed baking cookies and sweet treats with the girls. We waited till the week of Christmas to get my shopping and wrapping done with the help of the girls. What a blessing they are. They are at the age they want to wrap and decorate the packages themselves. They even helped me send out Christmas cards. We even went Christmas caroling to one house by accident but found the correct one to sing to. Most of all in the midst of it all we still found the joy of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. God manifest in flesh, came to earth as a little baby to save us from our sins. What a hope we have in Him! 

 I made a return visit to Cleveland at the beginning of December for a road bump. I had to get some testing done once I got back home. Unfortunately the test shows that what is left of my native colon is diseased so I will be needing to have the colostomy back. The transplant team is booked till March, so I have a ways yet before surgery. I am on the cancellation list also just in case there's one. 

I am currently posting this from a river side view at KSB room 419. I started having sinus pressure and a headache on Wednesday evening. Things continued to get worse and I had a low grade temp all day and night Thursday. When I called Cleveland Friday morning they said to go to the ER. So when I got there and had blood test run, CT scan of chest and sinuses, influenza swab, and strep throat swab. The ER Doctor said that the CT results showed pneumonia and a sinus infection. I was admitted and put on 2 IV antibiotics and breathing treatments and 2 breathing appliances to help open up the passages. Not a good way to start my year off, but I have much to be thankful for through it all! God is still Great and has brought me through another test. There's a song that's been going thru my head today and the chorus goes, "I know that I can make it. I know that I can stand. No matter what may come my way my life is in His hands. God is so good to me! I'm so glad that my life Is in His hands." And now 'm getting out today!

 The kids have definitely enjoyed having their Christmas break time. Back to school for them today. I think they are sorta ready to get back into some routine again. Matthew enjoyed helping Shane at the shop a little last week. They all enjoyed late nights and sleeping in. Matthew has a little cleaning job on Thursdays and Kailey babysits once a week. Kelsey has helped Shane a few times at the shop. The girls are taking piano lessons and are enjoying that. They are realizing the importance of practicing. 

 I can't thank you enough for all the cards, emails, texts, monetary gifts, and most of all the Prayers! Words can't express our gratitude for the love and support you have shown to us. Thank you so much!  

With Love,

Sunday, November 13, 2016

It's fall ya'll

Hello! Wow, time's sure flying by! We have made a couple trips to Cleveland for appointments. The kids all came with for one of the trips. We had some fun family time together. One request they had was to stop at Albanese (the gummy bear factory). It was a quick trip, but glad they were all able to go with and wonderful memories were made. 

I continue to have a few bumps along the way but they are just bumps in comparison to life before the transplant. They ordered a few tests and lowered some of my meds which I'm thankful for. We were just there for another appointment and hope to not have to come back for 3 months. Especially since we are going to be having some cold weather with white and icy stuff on the road. 

Tis the season for carmel apples, sweater wearing, leaf raking (not leaf burning though...it makes me sick), coffee, apple cider, and hot cocoa drinking, soup eating and chocolate chip pumpkin bread baking. The crisp air and driving around and looking at the trees changing. Wearing fuzzy socks around the house. Eating baked oatmeal and malt o meal for breakfast. Baking and maybe eating some pumpkin cookies with a carmel icing. Reflecting more than normal each day of Gods blessings. So much to be thankful for! Count your blessings name them one by one. 

 November 8, Shane and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary! God blessed me with a loving, caring, Godly husband. When we said our vows to each other 20 years ago we had no clue what we would be facing or lied ahead or that we would have 2 of our 3 children born with breathing problems and need to be taken to bigger hospitals and in neonatal intensive care. But looking at them now you would never know that they had health issues. God is good!! I never would have dreamed of Shane having 2 car detailing shops (1 in Princeton and the other in Peru). God is good! I took my health for granted not knowing that one day my stomach and my intestines would quit working and that I would need an intestinal transplant to survive. God is good! We have been through a lot together but during the good times and bad times God has carried us through together. There's no one else I would want walking through life's journey with but him. So glad to have him by my side through the thick and thin, ups and the downs and in betweens. I love him forever and always.

Thank you for all of your support to my family and me, whether it's been through prayer, love, or financially. Also thank you for the cards, text, and emails you have sent.  Some have asked for my email.  It's on the upper right, but I'll put it in this post also... j-pennington@live.com I give God the glory for all that He has done in our lives! So thankful to all of you for your continued support along life's journey.  Don't take one day for granted.  Enjoy the simple things in life.   


Matthew's new business 
The girls at Presti's  Bakery in "Little Italy"
Old Fashion Sunday 

A break from the Clinic in Cleveland 
Kailey turned 13!  How can that be? 

Monday, September 5, 2016

The journey continues

This is a much needed update.  I have had good intentions of updating it, but you all know how things can change.  Thanks for your patience in waiting.  I have had a tiny scare in July with a spot on my leg that looked like a bug bite.  It got bigger and I was sending pictures to the transplant team to keep in touch.  They didn't like the looks of it and rather than see a dermatologist locally, they called me on a Thursday evening a little after 6 and asked for me to be there by Friday morning for an appointment.  So, quick packing and lots of night driving we arrived at 3:30 in the morning. To check into the hotel and catch a few winks. Got up at 8 for an appointment at 9 with dermatology then the transplant team. The dermatology team biopsied the spot and put 2 stitches in and on my way I went.  Stopped up for the appointment with the transplant team. We basically had to wait for the biopsy results to know what it was and how to treat it.  Thankfully it came back as a bug bite and my skin was inflamed around it from an allergic reaction.  We've had to go back for monthly biopsies, scopes, and appointments.  I just had my last one last week due to a scare that put me into the hospital at KSB for a couple days.  I had a few issues that were concerning enough that I had to have the NG tube down my nose.  No fun at all!  I tried to have them call my GI doctor there to put it in, but he wasn't on call.  The nurse got it in but sure didn't help having that in and a migraine going on at the same time. By the time they got me a bed upstairs I was not feeling great. I kept feeling worse.  By the time I was evaluated by my primary Dr and the resident things were going worse and they had been in contact with the transplant team.  The plan was to get me stable, then transfer me out to Cleveland.  I am so thankful for all the prayers, because God changed things around for me and stabilized me to where things got better.  It took me back a few steps but things are doing better and I am so glad.  After I got out of the hospital, I had to go to Cleveland to make sure there was no rejection with a scope and biopsies.  All checked out well.  Thank you, Lord!  I have so much to be thankful for for sure. We got home on Saturday and I had an envelope waiting for me from LifeBanc.  It had another precious card from my donors family in it. It was perfect timing.  It was a beautiful note from them.  I would love to meet them when they are ready for it.  Please continue to keep this precious family in your prayers.   I appreciate all the prayers for me, but also for them as they move on without their child. 

I have some ask about my donation site.  It is still up and going. We appreciate any and all helps that goes towards to traveling, hotel, and medical bills.  God is so good!! 

The summer has flown by!  I have enjoyed grilling, eating fried green tomatoes, squash, zucchini, corn on the cob, cucumbers, summer walks in the evening, a couple bike rides, and the energy to enjoy life.  I am thankful for good air conditioning also! 

On September 11, it will be a year that I've been home from Cleveland!  It's so good being home, cooking in my kitchen, eating as a family at our dining room table, sleeping in my own bed, being together as family, going to our church, and go out in the community.  I still have to be careful and protect my miracle by wearing a mask just so I don't pick up anything. 

The kids have started school and getting back into routine with it.  They are working hard and staying ahead.  Hopefully we can stay that way.  Kelsey has her driving permit and doing pretty good on her driving.  Yikes!!!  Time is just going too fast! Kailey is taller than Kelsey and Matthew is catching up right her.  We are blessed with three wonderful children who love God, hard working, fun loving,& big helpers.  

Thank you for all your love, prayers, cards, and support you continue to show to my family and I.  I am forever grateful to God for all he has done and so blessed!   

Enjoy each day to its fullest!

Mathew and I on a date together 💗

The girls

She's driving 😁😳😜

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Celebrating a Year

It's time to Celebrate!  Hard to believe it's been a year already! Doesn't seem possible that it's already here! We went to Cleveland on Tuesday of last week for appointments.  I had an appointment Wednesday at the Headache Clinic for my migraines.  I'm still having them and the Doctors feel that it is from the prograff which is my antirejection medication.  I never have had a migraine in my life before transplant and now that I have, I feel for those who fight them on a regular basis.  Mine hit about every 2 weeks and usually my level is high. The Doctor did change up my medication before seeing him so we are gonna just keep things the same for the time being. I'm thankful that with the new medication it's kept me from having to go to the ER with them.  On Thursday we got to the Clinic and did our routine labs.  Afterwards I usually have my scopes and biopsies in another building, but this time in as scheduled to be in the Crile Building where I have labs so we went up there and waited for awhile.   A good long while, but when they took me back they were ready for me so that was nice not having to wait even more.  By that time it was lunchtime and I was hungry so we headed to grab a quick bite at AuBon Pain.  While in there, I got a phone call to come to Clinic.  They were ready for me.  I had a cake (of course chocolate) for the Doctors and Staff.  The check up went well.  I was still tired from the scopes and was trying to think clearly.  They are very pleased at how good things look and are going.  We got promoted from every 2 months to every 3 months.  Yea!!!!  There are a few things that I need to do for my 1 year transplant which I'm able to schedule at home.  They want to check my hips to be on the safe side with my being on prednisone and having bone pain also then follow up with a bone strengthener.  After all of that, we got a few quick pics, cut the cake, and visited for a bit with those who could.  They had a card and gifts for me and then down the road we started.  But not without stopping in Little Italy to pick up a pizza from Mama Santas to eat on the way home. Yummy!! 

A year ago yesterday is the day I received the call!!  What memories and emotions flood through me.  Please keep my donor's family in your thoughts and prayers this week. I have heard from them by a card thru LifeBanc but we still haven't disclosed our information to each other.  I'm so thankful for them reaching out to me.  I can't begin to imagine the heartache their family has gone through this past year.  So while I celebrate my First Transplant Anniversary, there's a family broken hearted. Thank you for keeping them in prayer with me also.  

We have reminisced and gone thru pics on phones of today, June 6 & 7. The day was long, testing, prepping, phone calls, praying, tears, smiles, anxious, exciting, nausea, vomiting, anticipation,waiting, more praying, nervous, trying to remain calm for three precious kids crying....and yet through it all God surrounded me with His peace.  I am so thankful to God for what has taken place within a year.  I feel like I have my life back. I still have issues now and then pop up, but would rather have them than throwing up over 8 times a day and being on TPN still.  So grateful to God, my donor's family, my Transplant Team, my Family, my church family, friends, and a caring community.  I have not walked this alone but I have had many people praying all over the world for me. You have shown your love and support to me in so many ways through prayers, phone calls, emails, cards, texts, meals, gift cards, and my funding page.  My heart is overwhelmed by the support you've shown when I look at cards and emails just from last year!   God is so faithful and and good to me.   I feel so blessed, beyond blessed!!

Last year after the transplant, in ICU.

Celebrating at our local Steak House....Prime Quarter. YUMMMMM!

To God be the Glory!  What a Miracle in a year!