Sunday, 13 June 2010

100th post - how far we've come

On Saturday morning Will and I went on a 10 mile cycle ride. We made a funny pair: Will was fully kitted up and riding his transplant-gift-to-self super fast racing bike (as he says - "all the gear, no idea") and I puffed along behind on my beautiful Cambridge-cliche Pashley Princess, which is built for ladies not for speed. Here are a few photos.

Mmm, a hot look I think you'll agree...

All I need is a terrier for the basket...

Later on, we did a bit of shopping in town and came back via the adrenalin-packed "Town and Country Fair" on Parker's Piece. While sipping half a pint of cider each and eating strawberries and cream in the sun, we read that Piper, a prolific and articulate blogger from New York, finally got her new lungs. She'd had something like 5 or 6 dry runs, including a 'damp run' where she got as far as being sedated before they decided the lungs weren't up to scratch. Something about the combination of Piper's great news, our morning cycle, the sunshine, and yes, perhaps the cider, brought me to the edge of tears, and I felt acutely aware of just how far we've come.

This time last year we were struggling to come to terms with the transplant idea at all. I've just been looking back at photos from last summer's holidays and remembering how much Will was struggling. He was determined, but just so compromised. Then we went through the unreality of being listed, the paradoxical hope that lungs would come soon but preferably not today or tomorrow, then the panic of the call and sheer other-worldliness of the surgery itself.

But then those first three weeks - the hardest days of all - and the first three months, which were only a little less hard. To start with, it was simply a question of getting through each day, trying to believe that when we went to bed we were one day closer to something better. I was scared most of the time and Will was in pain and not sleeping and on the edge of losing belief. Jim and Tori are about 3 weeks post-transplant now, and reading their posts reminds me of just how hard that time was. It really doesn't feel like there will ever be light at the end of the tunnel.

But there is light. To start with, there'd be tiny flashes every now and then. Then, around the 3 month mark, it was like someone switched on a light bulb. A pretty low wattage one to be fair, but light there suddenly was. That light grew slowly brighter over the next three months, but I was still scared. But yesterday, I realised that I am actually not that acutely scared anymore. It's taken nearly 8 months (and don't get me wrong, there will be more bumps and hard times, and I'm not blind to the challenges ahead), but... can I say this outloud?... not sure... I'll whisper it... I finally believe in these lungs.

It is a truly miraculous thing, organ donation. It really works! It gives life! Live Life Then Give Life! Yesterday, while I was gardening, I was listening to Will sing Schubert. We went to the gym together and he lifted weights and he ran and he rowed and he has muscles in his legs! After work today he played table tennis. There is so much out there to fit into the days. I wonder how Will's lungs feel about these activities - have they sung Lieder before? Are they missing clubbing or motorbiking or playing rugby? It's so poignant that the ultimate gift - the gift of life - is given with no conditions attached. The tragedy and generosity and wonder of that gift is incomprehensible.

This 100th post is sent out into the ether with gratitude, awe and an enormous virtual hug for those stuck in the transplant tunnel waiting for the signal to change.


  1. Vicky, thankyou for your really moving blogs; it seems as though things are getting better at last. You have both been positive and funny when life must have been scary and difficult to cope with and by now you must deserve some ordinary, boring life. Do come and sing if you can; Dec 5th and 11th are the "final concerts of the current Jays.
    Claire V

  2. More tears at my desk, Vicky! But tears of joy for you both, and emotion for the new lungs that have found their own new life along with Will's and yours. Let's face it, you don't need them when you're gone so, like a piece of no-longer-needed furniture, you might as well put them on Freecycle/join the transplant list!
    Enjoy the cycling - if you're doing ten mile trips then that's a round trip to ours for Pimm's! :o)

  3. there's an idea!

  4. Well, as soon as the wind gets back in the South so it warms up (and makes the Pimm's-soaked return journey easier for you!) we'll get something in the diary. Lovely!

  5. Congratulations to you both. I'm very happy for and proud of you.

    Also, try to videotape Will singing Schubert if you can. That sounds fun...

  6. Fantastic writing Vicky and WONDERFUL to hear about all this, including the 'healthy illness'!! Heaps of love to you both XX

  7. vicky and will....yet again so so very moved by your writing!!!
    and feel the need to tell you we think you're amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!...vicky get that new helmet on your head ..we need you to be a 'road safe' pashley princess!
    lokk forward to seeing you tomorrow!

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  9. Great blog Vicky! It seems like this process is so slow but really, it's only been a few week! Amazing journey! So nice to hear that you are both enjoying Will's new lungs! I can't wait until I can post our first long walk or pictures of US, TOGETHER, playing in the snow with the dogs! Thank you for the encouragement! Best of luck to both of you!