369) Weekly Report 3

June 21, 2009

Weekly update: While preparing for writing this blog this morning, I nourish the yard [our watering days are Tuesday & Sunday] and to tell the truth, I haven't really been watering at all yet this year. And, the yellowing of the front yard outside of the shade canopy of our oaks plus the last week's 100 + temperatures finally got to me.

Yesterday Liz and I worked on transplanting some of the plants that have outgrown their pots and decided to put our new Carolina jessamine in some large pots rather than planting them down the hill where we really want them. It is just to damn hot to keep them watered until the heat wave subsides... and that may be in September the way this weather is turning out. Our plan is to grown this vine up the back gate archway and keep it trimmed so it doesn't completely overgrow the whole fence. I like the idea of seeing out into the creek bed. A special thanks to my transplanted gardener and FB friend, Gene Bozarth, for encouraging in the direction of getting back into my landscaping and lawn work... since he has been doing his gardening post-transplant for some time now. I did, however, with Lizzie's directive, wear my medcare vinyl gloves.

Also, this morning, while busying myself around, waiting for each setting of the sprinklers, I happened across another kidney blog by a guy who is a Certified Coach and NLP Trainer, ', 'Coach Richie', and read his most recent post, "Leave the Past in the Past" a good read with good ideas about how PKDers, and I would add, dialysis patients too, can leave their past experiences of pain, discouragement, and dis-ability in the past, and live in the present... describing his taking "
many years of understanding, and retraining my mind to change the equation to “doctor” equals “healing!”[...rather than "pain"]

I now have good rapport with all my doctors, and I like to think that they don’t cringe when they know I’m coming in to see them.

Negative medical events that happened in the PAST to you or family members happened…in the PAST!

They don’t equate what will happen to you now or in the future."

...Yet, it might not have to take many years.. we basically can all reframe past negative experiences from our 'younger and less experienced' self's remembered responses to negative events. After all, didn't most of us think of shots as BAD as kids, and now, as adults, we accept that they are good for us. Coach Richie also describes "re-imprinting" which, as a coach, he can probably guide his folks through competently...

Re-imprinting is a conversational hypnosis activity in which the guide takes the person back through their earlier negative imprints, which are powerfully negative or positive experiences that are the building blocks of our current personality. So, when we are anchored into the strengths and resources we have as adults today, and taken back with those resources to a time before each imprinted experience, we can re-experience that event with our present self's resources. For many of these experiences, our present self has all the resources it needs to relive the past experience without having the same negative reaction that was imprinted. In fact, the event is re-imprinted... which, when lived through again, up to the present, makes the necessary adjustments along the way such that our notions of our history are changed. Very cool process actually...

Friday: I was in Wharton for two consulting (TA) gigs [cultural competency & play therapy] at the Texana STAR Program. I met a woman who has had kidney problems throughout her family and we had a nice conversation about kidneys and Bar Mitzvahs, which overflowed to the whole group at lunch and several folks expressed interest in this blog. There were questions about my time on dialysis, taking anti-rejection meds* forever, and healing from transplant. Several folks were surprised about my being up and traveling just 3 months post transplant... another counselor reported about her two friends with transplants; one doing fine and one not doing fine.

I gave them my google label "jack's kidney"...and, according to my FEEDJIT, one of them spent almost an hour perusing it yesterday.

Zoomed back up to Austin and got home about 7 pm... just in time to take Shayna and Liz to

Shabbat Services: ...Kerry Baker's last service as Rabbi of Kol Halev... about 100 or so people were there, including old founding members, new members, and friends of the congregations, like Margo. This was a heartfelt time, remembering the 12 years with Rabbi as our spiritual leader... and I really can't imagine what Kol Halev will be like without him. Some of our friends are leaving the congregation and looking into other congregations, but Liz wants us to stay on, at least through this year of Shayna's Bat Mitzvah, since it is still our Congregation from her perspective; and the only congregation Shayna has ever known. In his last talk with us, Kerry asked the congregation to think about two passages out of Deuteronomy... one thgat describes all of the children of Israel as holy, no matter what... and one later in the Chapter that describes the process of being holy as Jews, suggesting to many of the congregation that it is not enough to simply BE Jewish... one must also ACT as a Jew, including the inner evolution of becoming Jewish... seeing the process of spiritual growth. My own thoughts were that the author is like a salesman, highlighting the product (Jewishness for Life) and then what one must do to possess this Jewishness. Thankfully, there were some Jewish scholars (at least to my way of thinking) at the service, so there was quite a bit of discussion about the meanings of these passages and what they bring to the congregation today... on Kerry's last service. Toward the end of the service, Shayna said my dad's name during the Mi Sheberakh, one of the central Jewish prayers for those who are ill or recovering from illness... and I was proud she thought of that.

In ending, Kerry brought his family up front and expressed his sadness about moving on, as well as his excitement about new beginnings... one for him and one for us who remain... challenging the congregation to re-build Kol Halev in a way that reflects what the congregation wants and needs to continue. The closing song was led by Amy the Cantorial Soloist, and perhaps written by her... and had some memorable verses, as follows:

"Bar mitzvahs and weddings
And 3am calls
The good times and bad times
You've been there for all
We've loved Rebbe's tisches
And 45 minute d'vars
Torah study on Tuesday
And the sermon on Star Wars...

You led the discussions
Without any notes
You know all of Austin
And that's not a joke
We'll miss you, for sure
Group Aliyot
And Ask Da Rebbe"

There was a special sweet oneg afterward and lots of tears and hugging. Reminds me again... Everything changes... change is the only constant...

DAD Report: As of Friday, my dad is still in the hospital in SA and the only ongoing news of his situation comes from Michael, via Carol... who calls Mike for reports (she is now the "communicator" ala Satir... the role my Mom played before she died... part of the reason communications between dad, Mike, and me have suffered). Added to our dad data bank is the info that dad is still in the hospital because they're 1) continuing to treat the edema in his legs and, according to Mike: 2) he also has had a bad reaction to some meds for depression... and, he should be stable and out any day now. My info is via Liz, via Carol, via Michael... and, I think more and more that our conversation may have been convoluted via the mis-medications... although I cannot throw out the idea completely that people's beliefs drive their sensitivities...

As all things seem to have some sort of serendipity... and I had been drive-time pondering my dad's condition and how to stay in touch while respecting his need for privacy. Then, on Friday, in Wharton, in an activity I gave the counselors to draw a map of "who you are and where you came from", there were three maps and their corresponding stories of histories of serious divisions between the generations of participant's families; either due to marriage outside the faith or the ethnic group... and these stories informed my own one [divorce outside the belief system], so I listened carefully for ideas and insight. One person, whose map was one of perpetual connectedness through all the generations of her "family" brought her to comment how difficult it is for her to work with families where there is a breaking of the ties... of where the parent wants to throw the child away... and the rest of us nodded in relation to that disclosure, understanding too well that client's distress. Although I don't really believe in the concept of "transference" I must admit its fleeting image crossed my mind right then.

The earlier part of the week is just a blur now... so, remember folks... "all the blessings already are..."

* Related to the question of current meds: right now I am taking:
  • Neoral ~ 1 - 100 mg @ 8 am and 8 pm
  • Neoral ~ 1 - 25 mg @ 8 am and 8 pm
  • Myfortic ~ 2 - 180 mg @ 8 am and 8 pm
  • Valcyte ~ 1 - 450 mg. every other day
  • Norvasc ~ 1/2 - 10 mg @ 8 am
  • Synthroid ~ 1 - .25 mg @ 8 am
  • Multivitamin ~ 1 @ 8 am
  • Paroxetine ~ 1 - 20 mg @ 8 am
  • Crestor ~ 1 - 10 mg @ 8 pm
  • Sensipar ~ 1 - 30 mg @ 8 am


Anonymous said...

Hi Jack

I just wanted to congratulate you on your transplant. I just heard, I've heard you've got a lot of work to do now with the new kidney. alot of meds and dr appts but all that I bet is alot better then going to dialysis 3 times a week I'm sure its worth it. Well take care of your self and good for you.

Ana R.

Jack Nowicki said...

thanks for the note and encouragement Ana! Actually, now that I'm post 3 months post there are decreasing doctor's appointments and the meds are leveling out (see post for list). Meds are a lot less intense than meds on dialysis, when I had to take binders after every time I ate! And there are less of them too. JN