Thursday, December 31, 2009

Kelly's 2009 Review

WOW, doesn't seem at all like 2009 has been here and gone! As the old saying goes ... "time sure does fly when you're having fun"!

Here's my run-down of Kelly's Journey of 2009 ...

January - I had been back home in NL for 8 months now ... with my new lungs. Gearing up for my 1 year post-transplant anniversary!!!

February - YAY! Made it to 1 YEAR POST-TX! Feb 22 2008 will forever be etched in my memory!

March -

April - Celebrated Darren's 34th birthday!

May - Celebrated my 32nd birthday and began a new career with my social worker degree! Exciting times! Started my newest tattoo ...

June - The entire month of June was taken up with training and orientation to my new position ... officially slated into Child Protection on June 26!

July - Began a new adventure with my job in Placentia ... Darren also started a new career path ... good things happening!

August - Headed back to Toronto for my 18 month assessment! Great news and great results!!

September - Moving into fall ... busy times with work, home life, and CF fundraisers!!

October - Not a great month for me ... remembering my mom's death 3 years ago. But we also welcomed the newest addition to the Whalen/Delaney family ... Lucas Braden Whalen!

November - Gearing up for Christmas ...

December - Planning all my celebrations for the holiday season ... and hoping this year I'll be able to fit them all in.

December 31 - unfortunately I wasn't able to successfully carry out all my December/holiday plans ... but we had a great time ending 2009!

All in all ... a great year ... lots of new and exciting things ... and lots to build upon and look forward to in 2010!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas 2010

Well, after about 455 pictures ... we got one!!  I guess attempting to take a family photo without the assistance of another pair of hands isn't such a good idea!  Nevertheless, we did get one ... and I'm pretty happy with the results!

The adventure to this single photo wasn't so pleasant .. LOL ... as you'll see from the few pics below ... it was never a dull moment with our two puggies HAHA!

HAHA, just too funny!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


As the year comes to a close, I often reflect on the past year and seriously thing about the things have have brought me joy and happiness ... and also not to forget those things that we're so pleasant, but which I gained valuable experience.

I've never been the type of person to question "why me" ... everything that's handed to me in life I take with stride. Yes, I'll often complain and do a little bitching ... depending on the situation. But overall, I manage to deal with the obstacles and come out the other side more wise.

This being my second Christmas post-transplant, I am forever grateful for the donor family that found the kindness in their hearts to make the ultimate sacrifice ... yet saved my life. If there is one wish that I could send out this season ... I would like to send out some huge hugs and kisses to my donor family and wish them the merriest of Christmases! I am so blessed to have my own family - AND a special family that will remain with me forever!


Monday, November 30, 2009


November 30 2009 - 5th sitting

IT'S COMPLETED ... well, almost :)! Today we added the shading! I just love how it turned out ... perfect Asian style tat!

We just have 1 more sitting to brighten up the colors ... and as my artist tells me ... to "tighten up" the tattoo!

Now ... on to my next piece ... :)!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Amazing Day ...

After a 'week from hell', I just received the best news ... a new 'transplant family member' who received her new lungs almost 3 weeks ago is finally on the speedy road to recovery! After some set backs, things are moving along nice and quick ... she was moved from ICU to Stepdown yesterday and now to the 7th Floor today! FANTASTIC NEWS!

I saw a couple of pictures of her and she is looking wonderful! We're only chatted via email and I have been keeping constant contact with her mother via email also ... we were hoping to be able to meet in person when I go back to Toronto for my 2 year assessment in February 2010 ... but the way things are going, she may be home again by that time ... which I truly hope she is! KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK ASHLEY!! It's amazing how connected you can become without meeting in person!

Funny, I just read back on my last comment and noticed that it will be 2 YEARS since my TX in February! That's just crazy! I can't even recall all of the wonderful and exciting things that I've accomplished these past 2 years ... there have been just so many! I am so thankful for this wonderful second life I've been given ... there are still days that I just stop and think in amazement at the whole thing.

I've met so many wonderful and amazing people and wouldn't change any of it for the world ... I miss my CF and TX family :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Natalia receives her call!!!!

I've started following Natalia's blog and watched her story on CBC - it's quite amazing how some people touch others lives.

I pray for each and every CF and transplant patient that I meet - Natalia being no different. It's somewhat of a understanding - as all our stories are similar and we often share experiences - good or bad.

I didn't think that I would be posting so soon - but Natalia has gotten THE CALL!!

After a few hours wait to see if the lungs were suitable, Natalia has now entered surgery! I pray that the surgery is a success and that this amazing woman is able to become the mommy that she's prayed of being!

Sending positive thoughts and lots of strength you way Natalia!

Natalia's Story

Well, it seems that CBC is doing an absolutely fabulous job of covering CF, transplant, and organ donation ... I AM SO IMPRESSED!

Natalia is another CFer who has been placed on the transplant list and is awaiting new lungs ... CBC's Mark Kelley has documented her story in a 3 part mini-series On A Mission. Unfortunately, as of the last airing (Friday, Nov 20), Natalia has taken a turn for the worst and is now on a life saving (temporary) device - Nova Lung. This is only a temporary solution to keep Natalia alive as her own lungs have stopped working.

I'm praying that new lungs come quickly for Natalia - as her strength and determination remind me of myself. I just love her statement that new lungs WILL come - and YES they will Natalia! A girl after my own heart!

This is yet another amazing story of life, strength, and determination ...

Natalia's Story: On A Mission

Friday, November 20, 2009

Where has the time gone?

I've been so engulfed in 'life' that I've totally forgotten about my blog! I am going to try and post some past events and important dates ... finding the time is going to be an issue!

I've learned a few things in the past couple of weeks ... something that I had thought that I understood - not so! Being from a small town with only 80+ CF patients, one is often isolated and ignorant to the terrible things that this disease brings with it. Yes, I've learn of CFer's who have lost their battle with CF, but apart from my cousin in 1991, I haven't really been close to anyone. Not by choice ... but just the nature of this disease and the geographical issues. This has all changed since beginning my transplant journey.

I've met some of the most wonderful people ... and have had some great losses within these past 2 years. Something that I've been pretty sheltered from.

Living with CF hasn't been easy, but it has been a blessing (in disguise). I would not be the person that I am today if it were not for this 'horrid' disease. Life is unpredictable during the best times ... let alone tossing CF into the mix. Obviously I WANT a cure, but to be honest, I wouldn't change anything at this point! Strange hey? It's quite hard to explain - unless you've lived it and loved it!

I know my journey with these new lungs has just begun ... I've been able to do so much within the past 21 months that I would never have been able to do before. I know sometimes that I take things for granted and that I often feel invincible ... but for me, that's a part of survival.

For me, I've lived one journey, now I've been blessed to be able to experience another ... sometime not a lot of people have the opportunity to do ...

Monday, November 16, 2009


I've been following a blog entitled "65 Roses" since early 2008, when I was waiting for my transplant in Toronto. Unknown to me, Eva has documented her story through CBC New Network and it's airing TONIGHT!

I'm excited to see how her story has been documented - as often times the 'real' story isn't told ... rather, the airing of our stories turn more into nice, frilly, pretty stories. Who, living with CF has EVER described our lives as that???!!!

This, if anything will be an educational piece around CF, transplant and organ donation ... PLEASE WATCH!


Wednesday, October 14, 2009




Not exactly the picture I wanted to come home or wake up to today!  Yesterday we had a terrible wind storm that took out a tree that was on our neighbour's property.  Lucky for us it decided to come down across our driveway and tearing the power lines, cable and telephone off the house ... YIPPEE!

The pictures above is the aftermath, following some clean up ...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Close Encounter of the MOOSEY-kind

Typical September morning ... or so I thought!

Darren had been traveling back and forth to St. John's for work for over a year now ... but this morning would prove to be something totally different!

I hadn't expected the day to be any different until I got a call from Darren on his cell about 35 minutes after he had left the house ... all he said was "I hit a moose".

He wasn't making much sense at this point, which worried me TOTALLY ... I could hear him hustling about in the car and there was some background noise, but I couldn't hear if he was actually OK! He told me that someone had called the ambulance, and until I made him have the person call out to me on the phone, I really didn't know if help had been called!

I waited over an hour ... for a 20-23 minute run to the hospital. I started to get really scared that something horrible had gone wrong. I was constantly asking the nurses at the ER to check to see where the ambulance was ... no luck! FINALLY someone told me they had tracked down the ambulance and that they had been dispatched to a incorrect location! VERY GOOD!

They finally arrived and I was faced with a little bit of a shock ...

Darren had quite a few bumps and bruises; not including the cuts, scrapes and embedded glass! Luckily he wasn't in too much pain and after getting cleaned up ... he wasn't too shabby for what had happened.

I didn't get to have a close look at the car until it was towed back to Carbonear ... another lovely shock!

Our little Cavalier Z24 was demolished! The docs told us that if Darren had been driving with his seat in the full upright position, things would not have turned out like they had ... luckily, Darren always drove with his seat reclined a little ... something that saved his life!

The moose had landed on the driver's side roof area and needless to say, he didn't make it ... the rest of the car was pretty much in perfect condition!

As you can see from the bottom pic ... Darren didn't even have enough room to move his head from side to side while he was in the car! Thankfully someone was watching over him that morning!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


September 15 2009 - 4th sitting

It's been a long wait since my last sitting and I was getting a little anxious in wanting to get my tat completed.

I'm so impressed with the way that it's turning out ... today we completed to coloring and added some of the shading. Looks like I have 1 or 2 more sittings to have it completed ... oooohhhhh, can I hold out??!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


July 11 2009 - 3rd sitting

What can I say ... I'm LOVIN' it! I just got back from the shop and had to show off the colors that we added today!! I don't think I can stand the wait to see the finished piece!

... looks like a start to a back piece :)!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


June 27 2009 - 2nd sitting

Ok, so I'm continuing with completing my newest addition ... after sitting # 2 we have the flowers completed, some blue added, and some of the shading completed ... it's really starting to shape up!!

... stay tuned ...

Saturday, May 30, 2009


May 30 2009

Time to do something for ME again ...

For those who don't know me too well ... or may not know this little tid-bit, I am a tattoo junkie! I honestly think that my dream job would be working in a tattoo parlor; covered in tats; and lovin' every minute of it! Crazy you may say ... but I really don't think it's too far fetched ... :)!

It took me over a year to decide on this particular tattoo. All my tats have special meaning for me and were never a spur of the moment decision ... well ...

This tat has special meaning ... the Phoenix representing re-birth and a new life ... pretty self explanatory don't you think!

I had the outline completed today ... CAN'T WAIT to see the finished piece of art!

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Beginnings ...

Yes, my lung transplant was a huge transformation and new lease on life ... but it seems that I'm coming across lost of changes this month ... and all for ME for once!

I made the decision to try for a new job ... not that I hate my current one, but I think it's just time for a change ... well, another change.  I applied for a semi-government position back in February 2009 and have been awaiting the results of the competition ... until today! 

I had a call a couple of weeks ago to do a telephone interview ... and was notified that ... I GOT THE JOB!!!!  I actually started today with orientation and training ... and can't wait to sink my teeth in!

... and, apart from my new job, I've made the decision to start a new tattoo!!  Stay tuned for the design and results!!

Wish me luck ... I'm going to need it!

Sunday, February 22, 2009


WOOHOO!! 1 year down ... many, many more to go!

We made it!! Yes, it's been 1 year since my double-lug transplant and I'm feeling great! Just 1 year ago ... right now, I was being prepped for surgery and awaiting my "new life"! Little did I know what a wild and wonderful year it would become!

To celebrate ... as I always do, we decided to have a HAPPY 1ST BIRTHDAY LUNGS party! It was down to the crunch, but I wanted a cake ... and a GOOD cake at that! I had an idea in my head, but because of work and the fact that I'm not a baker/cake decorator, I sent Darren on a mission with a tiny picture/drawing of what I wanted my cake to look like.

Living in a rural community, we often don't have the luxuries of a bit town ... but we make due ... and in fact I was TOTALLY impressed with the wonderful job that the ladies at Powell's Supermarket did, and how my cake turned out!!!

Needless to say, not only was I (and my "buddies") the talk of the party ... but my cake too! Can't wait for next year .. how will I out-do this???

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

1 YEAR ASSESSMENT (Feb 22 2009)

I can't believe that 1 year has passed since I received my 'gift of life'!  It will be exactly 1 year on February 22 that I received my call and was transplanted ... thus starting or shall I say, re-starting my life!

Darren and I are heading back to Toronto on February 21 to start the assessment process.  I'll undergo test upon test to make sure things are still fine and that there is no infection or rejection.  We have a busy week ahead, but it will be great to check-in with the Transplant Team and Clinic, meet some old friends, and see how the "new transplants" are doing.  

Oddly enough I'm looking forward to the trip (and the tests) ... so far things have been great with my 'new additions' and I'm hoping that things will continue to stay stable.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentine's with my sweetie ...

Valentine's Day 2009 will be extra special!  I have to laugh as I'm writing that statement, as each and every event since Feb 22 1008 are EXTRA SPECIAL ... but this is one that both Darren and I can enjoy together ... alone ...

We've planned a little 'outing' to Skipper Ben's B & B in Cupids ... just a quite and relaxing evening with some great food and music.  Instead of trying to beat the crowds on Valentine's Day (Saturday), we decided to get ahead of the crowd and celebrate on Friday night instead.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bye, Bye Baby Bertha ...

Lil' Bertha
October 13 2003-January 13 2009

It's breaking my heart to write this ... but we've lost our Lil' Bertha.  She died of right-sided heart failure caused by pulmonary hypertension on January 13 2009 @ 2:00 PM.

Bertha came to us as a rescue pug with her companion, Molly in November 2006, following the death of my mother in October.  Both Molly and Bertha became our "pride and joy" immediately after arriving in their new home.

In November 2007, just a year later, I had to be listed for transplant and didn't really know what to do with my babies.  We wanted to take them with us, but didn't want to put them through traveling and living in Toronto ... after all, it's no Newfoundland!  Luckily, their previous owner and personal friend volunteered to care for our "babies" while we were away.  It was the thought that these two precious girls were waiting at home for me that motivated me to recover and get back to Newfoundland as soon as possible ...

We picked up our "babies" when we returned to Newfoundland in May 2008 and spent a wonderful summer and fall with them.  Bertha in particular, just loved dressing up for Halloween and loved opening gifts at Christmas.

Just last week, the two girls decided that while we were away, they would get into a bag of garbage we had ready for the trash.  For the next day or two, Bertha wasn't herself ... but she had done this before and wasn't showing signs of any strange symptoms.  She was eating, playing, sleeping, etc.  the same ol' Bertie we were used to.  

On Saturday, January 10 2009 things turned for the worse.  Bertha wouldn't eat.  I tried feeding her all her favorites (chicken breast, carrots, rice) ... but she wouldn't eat anything.  At this point she wasn't her same ol' active self either.  We made a trip to the vet.  He thought the same that we did ... that this was just an upset belly.  He gave her a pain killer and some antibiotics and told us that she should be feeling better within a few hours.  This was 11:00 AM.  By 2:30 PM things turned bad ... Bertha started breathing differently, collapsed, and upon us reviving her, couldn't stand.  We had to carry her to the car where we immediately took her back to the vet.  Upon arrival, he wanted to keep her overnight for observation and to do some additional testing to see if she had a blockage (from the garbage).  On Monday, January 12 2009 he preformed the ultrasound and by fluke, noticed that her heart was enlarged.  As he was busy with surgery's on Monday, he was going to repeat the ultrasound and forward it to specialists outside of the province.  He warned us that right-sided heart failure is more serious than left-sided, and that there may be a chance that there would be no treatment for her.  He was optimistic though that he would try some drug plan and/or surgery.

We visited Bertie Monday evening.  As the vet brought her in, I knew my little baby was so sick.  She managed to wag her little curly tail as us, but as I took her in my arms, she just collapsed with weakness.  She could barely hold her little head up.  She was struggling to breath, and I knew that I did not want her to suffer.  Even if surgery was an option, I knew she could not survive it ... she was just too sick.  I wanted to know the results of the ultrasound that would be preformed on Tuesday, but Bertie couldn't live like this ... not since she was such an active puggie.  Just looking at her in my arms broke my heart ... but still I hoped that there was something that could be done.

The ultrasound was preformed on Tuesday, January 13 2009 and results forwarded to the specialist.  As we were awaiting a response, the office called to tell my husband that Bertha had collapsed ... Darren immediately called me, and as he was doing that, they called again with the bad news ... that they had attempted to re-start Bertha's heart, but that were not successful ... Bertha had passed away @ 2:00 PM, January 13 2009.  

We visited our baby to say good-bye.  We're told that she didn't suffer and that it was very sudden.  From the look on her face and her posture, this was indeed the case.  From what I can tell, and in my heart, I know she died peacefully.  Thankfully we were able to visit one last time with her the night before and give her some last cuddles and "loves".  Bertha was 5 years old.  We still don't know what caused this heart failure.  She didn't show any symptoms of anything wrong (until last Saturday).  We are awaiting the results of the ultrasound ... just for my piece of mind if anything.

I've owned and loved pugs since 1992 ... and have gone through the loss of my first 2 pugs.  But this was something different ... Bertha just touched a piece of my heart that no other puggie has.  In addition to that ... this was so sudden!  

We miss you baby Bertie, but know that you're not suffering now.  You'll always hold a special place in our hearts ... run and play freely my sweetie.  

Lots of love ... mommy xoxo

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Time flies when you're having fun ...

I can't believe that 1 year has pretty much past already!  Darren and I have been in the process of booking flights and hotels for my 1 year assessment coming up on February 22 ... and just got confirmation from "our hotel" that we're back in our same ol' room ... where we spent 3 months of our lives in Toronto!  Kinda bitter sweet if I do say so myself.

I don't have any tests or my schedule as of yet ... but I'm anticipating that there'll be a few more tests than the usual check up ... and that's expected.  I've been feeling great since I've been transplanted ... apart from the tremendous weight gain!  Not that some of it wasn't welcomed ... but I got a little carried away ... now I'm stuck!  I really didn't ever think that I would complain about being over-weight ... it's a nice complaint ... sometimes .... LOL!  Problem is, I've been told to eat pretty much my entire life.  Living with CF, one always has the issue of lack of weight gain ... so we're constantly eating.  Now that I'm transplanted, my lungs do not have any strain, thus my body isn't working overtime to breath!  That being the case, I'm still eating the same amount that I did eat pre-transplant ... but of course, that's a bit too much for my "new body"!  Along with the meds ... I really have my work cut out for me to loose a few pounds ....

Good news is that I feel totally healthy ... but with that I have to be careful!  I may feel 110% ... but I can very easily catch a cold or flu ... and that can turn fatal!  So far Darren and I have been able to avoid and fight of any "bugs" that have come along ... just pray we can continue to do so for the winter season!!  

Saturday, January 03, 2009

2009 - New Year's Resolutions

Well, it's 2009 and almost a year has passed since I was transplanted!  I've always made some silly and often unreachable resolutions ... but this year I actually sat and thought long and hard about a few that I could accomplish ... here goes:
  • Begin and stick with a exercise program ... not only for weight loss but also for increased lung function
  • Live each day to the fullest ... don't sweat the small stuff
  • Have fun and enjoy ME!
There ... short and sweet ... lets see how well I fare with these ...

... Oh, I'm also going to attempt to keep my blog updated ... more regularly than I have ... I didn't want to add this one to my list ... as it's something that I can't totally commit to ... he he!