What do you want to be when you grow up?
I was around 13 yrs old when I knew what I wanted to be.... a pilot. I wanted to join the Marines or Air Force and fly an F- 4 Phantom, or fly a commercial jet around the world. For a few years I lived, breathed, ate, and dreamt about fighter jets, airplanes, and flying around the world. When I turned 15 my parents gave me flying lessons. It was the beginning of a dream come true. Within weeks I was flying solo. I'll never forget the feeling upon take-off. As I pushed full throttle I could feel the sweat dripping off my face and body. The Cessna 152 lifted and it was the most ridiculous feeling of freedom one can ever experience. I turned left, was downwind, then base, then final... perfect landing! An adventure for sure. Two years later, my true passion, my love for travel, well, it took over. I made the decision not to pursue being a pilot. I love my job and here I am today. For me, to travel is to live.
For those close to us, you know Kevin's sister, Lauren, is my best friend (I know I'm lucky to have my best friend as my sister in law). We grew up together. As long as I can remember I can picture Kevin with an instrument in his hand. In elementary school I played the clarinet, Lauren the violin, and Kevin the trumpet. As we grew older Kevin clearly was a musician. I remember parties where he played guitar. I remember Lauren complaining to me about how loud her brother was playing music in his room. When Lauren came home from college, I recall going to see Kevin play gigs at clubs when he was in a band. I actually recall one night eating dinner with his family (we weren't dating yet) and Kevin talking about his dream of music, it was his life. A few more years go by and by 1997 we started dating. Music was (and still is) his life. We move to Los Angeles to pursue his dream and mine further. His first orchestra session was in Seattle....I was unable to attend. I watched video of it and cried tears of happiness for Kevin. About 10 months later his second orchestra session was here in Los Angeles on the Warner Bros. lot. Our twin boys were only 5 weeks old. I drove them to see Kevin in action at the session. I was in awe, I was witnessing his dream come true. A 72 piece orchestra playing the music he composed, the music I had heard over & over again from his studio while pregnant....it was thrilling for sure. He loves his job. Music is his life.
Why am I sharing this with you post transplant? What's the relevance here folks? Encouragement. It's that easy. Our parents encouraged us to follow our dreams. That if we set our mind to it, we could achieve anything. That they were behind us 150%. No matter what.
You know one of my favorite quotes is this one: "You can have, do, or be anything you want."
My next favorite quote I used three days post transplant: "If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain."
On the road to achieving our goals, our dreams...both Kevin and I have had our fair share of rain to get to where we are today. The entire time our parents would hand us that "umbrella of encouragement" telling us we can do it. Never give up.
Living with an LVAD, living post transplant.... we absolutely had our fair share of rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, you name it. Our parents, friends, family, and everyone at Cedars Sinai Medical Center handed us that umbrella, told us our situation was temporary, that our normal was just around the corner. We grabbed it and as you all know our story, we never gave up. No matter what bump in the road presented itself. It's just not the way we were raised.
So you see, no matter what your situation may be, it's really all up to you. My little family of four is the perfect example. Dreams really can come true, it's up to you to grab the umbrella. And it's up to you to believe you can do it....where there is a will, there IS a way. Giving up should never be an option. Make it happen.