Wednesday, December 30, 2015

On the Radio - My 2015 Song of the Year

This marks the fourth time I've chosen my "song of the year"-- a song that was new (to me) and resonated with me more deeply than any other. A former student and her college radio show get credit for introducing me to the the song I chose this year, as was the case in 2013. At some point I need to write a post about that song snd the other previous too. 

Regina Spektor is perhaps most well known as the singer songwriter responsible for the tune which opens each episode of Orange is the New Black. The song I heard on my student's show several months ago begins with a somewhat morbid and esoteric verse, but some of the lines reflect my reality from two years ago: a young guy walking though a busy store with oxygen is not wholly unlike driving a hearse through a crowd. This verse ends with a lyric about disease affecting loved ones. It was about then that this song "hit me," and it didn't let up. 

While the chorus replays one of those odd events in life that I've always found fun to analyze and appreciate, and enjoy even more in my post-transplant life. 
But it is the second verse that locked it into "song of the year" territory. As someone whose heart literally pumped someone else's blood, who was one room down from a man my age fighting to survive every day following a heart transplant, Spektor's depiction of what "life" is speaks to me on a very literal level, as well as an emotional one.

 I fought back tears writing this, just as I do each time I listen to "On the Radio."  Here is a link which includes lyrics if you'd like to hear my "Song of 2015."

Friday, December 18, 2015


     If you are a user of Instagram, but you'd rather not add another person to follow (i.e. me) you can search the hashtag thanksnewlungs and you will see all the posts I've made that are relevant to my transplant experience. Most of my posts fit into that category, as I created my Instagram account to be an extension of the blog. 

     As I head into our school's holiday break and near the 16 month anniversary of my transplant, I hope to move closer to my goal of finishing the book I'm writing through this blog. Wish me luck on wrapping it up in early 2016!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Another One Year Ago Look-Back...

     I owe a debt to Mark Zuckerberg.  Not a monetary one-- he doesn't need more money anyway-- but one that stems from the awareness Facebook provides via it's "Today in the Past" feature.  Yesterday it reminded me that one year ago, I was at the high school where I worked for 10 years at a silent auction / jewelry sale fundraiser to raise proceeds for Gift of Life Michigan.  It was an incredible experience to see so many people come together for an excellent cause, especially because it was being done in my honor.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

New, Cool, and Never Before...

Yesterday I received an e-mail letting me know that the University of Michigan Transplant Events Center had added a page devoted to my transplant journey.  I am remarkably honored to have, for the first time, a web page that features my name in it!  (I'm not counting the one I had to make for a class in college, which was just a loose collections of Simpsons references and a link to Eastern Michigan University's newspaper, The Echo.)

Friday, December 4, 2015

YouTube featuring MeTube

     In case you are one of the 3,000 plus people who didn't already watch this video via my wife's footage of it, or the official version which the University of Michigan Transplant Center posted, OR you are one of the handful of people who wants to watch the video again because you can't get enough of me, the Transplant Center has posted the official video to their YouTube channel.  In the margin to the right, you should see a link to a video featuring Kyle Clark, who received a pair of "reconditioned" lungs using the cutting edge XVIVO technology.  He and I will meet for the first time when we team up as Batman and Spider-Man this summer to thrill the Camp Michitanki kids.  I am hoping we've both rehabilitated our upper bodies enough by then to bench press each other, or at least have an arm wrestling contest for the ages!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Hashtags Told Me So

Yesterday, every time I looked at social media or checked my e-mail, I saw a reminder about #GivingTuesday.  It seems after the worldwide push to buy things on the Internet at low low prices on Cyber Monday, people thought it would be a good idea for the following day to focus on being charitable and other centered.  #othercentered  ;)

     While I feel like this blog is in many ways one long endorsement for why people should become organ donors, today I'm asking you to consider joining the #GivingTuesday cause.  This is an interrelated two-part request.  The first is a request for your time.  If you aren't already a donor, I hope that you will take a few minutes and Google how to become one in your state / province / country.  In Michigan, the process to sign up can be done entirely online and takes only a few minutes.  If you are already a donor, my time-related request is that you take a few moments to ask someone you love, or someone you work with, or a stranger, (bonus points if you can find one person who fits all three of those descriptions!!!) if he or she is a donor, and if not, encourage them to become one. 

     The second part of this request is that you tell your loved ones about your desire to be a donor.  This is not a legal requirement, because your decision is your decision, but telling the people you care about can make the whole process easier to digest and deal with should your family one day find themselves grieving your loss.  I know from talking to several different donor families that they feel their loved one "completed her journey" or "fulfilled his destiny" because they their sister, son, husband, or mother had spoken about the desire to be a donor, and then saved and improved lives when their organs were matched with people in need.

     I know it can be hard to take hashtags seriously sometimes, but perhaps #GivingTuesday can prompt a Wonderful Wednesday, and by the weekend, "sudden surge in donor registrations" will be "trending" on social media.