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Saturday, February 25, 2012

Love, Dying and Organ Transplants

What does relationship have to do with love, dying, and organ transplants? This powerful Facebook post from our daughter who is in the end stages of PSC, a liver duct disease, illustrates the importance of loving relationships at times of crisis. I shortened it a little:

Hello everyone! Enough cannot be said about the power of love and prayer! As many of you know, I'm not afraid to die. It's just that there's so much to live for. It's a very strange sensation to wake up where you didn't expect to be and be told that, instead of day 4, this was actually day 11....and then to see the faces of such dear loved ones that I don't see in that setting or don't even usually see that time of the year.

Many of you asked questions about being a living donor and several even made the phone call to UCSF. We, all my family and I, thought that I would probably be kept there until after I get a new liver but things are often not what we expect. I'm now in a new phase, however, that includes trying to recover from what just happened and, although not really possible, trying to minimize the risk of it happening again. I'm also not allowed to be left at home alone, which is especially hard to wrap my mind around. I was alone when I started vomiting blood and I managed to call 911.

A lot of you know I have had four people go through the donor evaluation process. I don't know what the final chapter to all this will be, but I do know that I'm becoming bonded to many heroes! It's quite an overwhelming feeling!

Please know my faith is strong as I hope yours is. Yet, I also know that community is an essential part of wholeness and survival. I don't know what I'd do without each of you! I pray that I will be allowed the privilege of giving back some day soon.

I love you all so much!
                        Janee' skydives on her 50th birthday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Couples and Crisis

Crisis can put tremendous pressure on relationship. Sleep deprivation, fear, poor eating, lack of exercise all combine to make decision making difficult and patience short. For the past two weeks our family has experienced this kind of stress as we watch our daughter struggle to hang on until she can get a liver transplant.

What to do? If you have developed good relationships in the family, you will be able to talk about your feelings. You will find strength in connecting to other family members who are experiencing the same feelings you are. You can share how you are dealing with that. Men and boys tend to handle feelings differently than women and girls, but they do have the same feelings.

Couples need to remind each other that more than ever they must be aware of their tone of voice. Talk about how you plan to manage impatience and angry feelings. Hug and comfort each other and above all talk respectfully to your mate. What a blessing it is to be able to support one another even when you feel absolutely helpless.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day the Day of Love

Today is Valentine's Day, but today our family is gathered around our dear daughter, Janee', who has been struggling for years with a liver duct disease called Primary Sclerosing Colingitis. She badly needs a liver. In this case living donors can give a part of their liver which in my mind is the ultimate gift of love. So far, we have had 5 loving people volunteer. For one reason or another none of them has worked out. In the meantime Janee' s disease progresses and we worry about running out of time.

Janee' s room in ICU is gathering valentines. I know she feels the love of so many friends and of her family. She remains upbeat and hopeful, but it is hard to deal with the pain. She stays in touch with what her body needs. If strength of will is the most important answer to cure, she will certainly get through this. She has hundreds of people praying for her.

When you take time to prioritize your family, you will have what Janee' has--a warm blanket of love wrapping you up in shared hope of healing and support. Soul mate relationships do not belong exclusively to couples. Soul mates come to important relationships when love is given high priority.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Can Rivers Be a Part of Gender War

Because we have been discussing Gender War recently, a San Francisco Chronicle newspaper article titled, "Even Rivers Wander Through Gender Wars" caught my eye. According to Maine freelance writer, Susan Farlow, Germany's Rhine River is generally considered a male river. It branches off into the Moselle, a female river.

The Rhine, a powerful river with swift currents, got its name from the Celtic word "renos", meaning raging flow. The Moselle has been considered feminine at least since the fourth century. It flows slowly through the town of Koblenz and winds through hillsides covered with vineyards.

In the United States we don't have to determine our rivers' gender. Unlike German, French, or Spanish, the English language has no masculine or feminine articles so nouns are neutral. Interestingly, on today's noon news there was a story about the big uproar over the Lego company's new legos designed for little girls. It has girlie figures who are designed to be played with in a domestic lego setting. Apparently, the legos marketed to boys are designed to build things.

In my limited world of sand-play therapy, I found girls often chose figures to make sand trays of gardens, imaginary beautiful places, treasure, homes for cute tame animals. Boys, on the other hand, usually chose action figures or fierce animals and waged battles. If they put treasure in their sand pictures their sand figures fought over it. Their sand tray stories sounded very different than the girls'.
The girls' stories might show conflict but the resolution was peace and safety. Boys often ended with blow-ups and destruction.

My limited access to children's play may not be worth much, but it makes me wonder if gender war comes naturally and each side needs to understand the differences in a way to make them assets instead of liabilities.