I know it’s not their fault. They have held up as well as they can after being put through too much when they were just little gals. I’m not really mad at them. It’s always been easier for me to dish out sarcasm and give people shit for fun, it’s what I do. If you really know me, you know it’s all in fun and that underneath the jokes I’m really very sensitive and not at all that tough. So I poke at myself as well, calling my lungs names in hopes they will be feisty back and show me they can continue on!
I’ve been off work for four days now….and things have been busy! I had a work going away party and was surprised how many people came! I was overwhelmed by the love and support! Then my amazing sister in law and her girlfriend came into town, we had so much fun! Yesterday, I received a call from University of Utah lung transplant nurse. Their team is reviewing me for a potential lung transplant. If they feel I am a candidate, they will call me to see them in person. UW turned me down for transplant. They said I would be “too complicated”. Who me? Never!! Anyhow, I guess they felt the radiation from my cancer treatments did too much harm not only to my lungs, but to the surrounded connective tissues. But we will see what Utah says, I was also referred to Stanford but haven’t heard from them yet.
I also have an appointment at the UW Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic next Weds with Dr. Leary. I advocated for this appointment for another opinion. I am hoping that they will be able to review my case and lead me toward more aggressive treatment. I just want to start feeling better. I know this can be a slow process, but I am not used to staying so still all the time. It is not like me to sit around all day. I am going to go nucking futs soon! I do feel the opsumit is starting to work though. I am starting to feel like I have more energy and feel better in the morning. I can go nearly all day before I feel like sleeping, so that is a step in the right direction! I also feel my feistiness returning….so WATCH OUT!
I didn’t always know what I wanted to do when I grew up. I still don’t think I will grow up….yes, I know I am short, I am done growing though! However, I did develop into an adult, even though I am not “mature”. I laugh at dick and fart jokes, and what not. However, I did manage to go to college and get a “REAL job”. I became a Social Worker but not because I wanted to change the world or anything like that. I am not what most think, a bleeding heart social worker that will bend at whatever poor soul bats their eye lashes at me. I learned that the hard way as an ER Social worker, getting duped by drug seekers who knew how to turn on the tears with their stories just to get meds. Oh no, I am a hard ass, some even called me The Hammer! I believe that people should indeed help themselves, while it was my job to assist them in finding the right resources that will enable them to do so. I became a Social Worker to give back all the energy, love and compassion that my family and I were given when I was a child with cancer.
The picture above was taken in 2012. I’ve always wanted an official picture in front of the American flag like some kind of VIP! Sometimes I look at it and pretend I’m the first woman president. Most of my career as a Social Worker has been at the VA caring for our nations brave Veterans. A career cut too short, nearly making my 10 year pin. I would have been made ten years in April. I worked at the VA as an Acute Care SW, helping to ensure veteran’s were safe discharging from the hospital. Then I took on the job as the Caregiver Support Coordinator. This week I sadly say goodbye to a job as the Cancer Care Navigation Social Worker. I helped to build this new program that I hope will continue through out all our VA’s in the country. It is a new approach to cancer care and helps our Veteran’s and their families navigate what is too often a very complicated system and helps to make sure they get they cancer care they need an eliminate barriers to their care.
I never thought I would have to retire so early. However, due to my health reasons I must now take care of myself and my family. I am very sad to leave and in a state of emotional turmoil about it. I will miss my patients, my coworkers, the friends I have made and most of all the challenges. So on my last week of work, as I pack up my office, I will think about all that I have learned. I will think back to all the lessons I have be taught and patients who have touched my heart. I will thank my mentors, the wonderful supervisors (Cathy and Tom) and amazing friends I have made had along the way. It’s been a great experience. It is now time for me to put my focus toward new possibilities.