Have I ever been “normal?” I’ve always liked to make people smile and laugh. I’m the baby of the family – the entertainer. My kids are impossible to embarass because they grew up with me as their dad. I had no problem wearing the goofiest hats in public. Or, when walking together in a public setting saying, “let’s all walk like we are from the Ministry of Silly Walks,” and then starting my own weird walk. (see below)
I have no problem making a fool of myself to get others to laugh. I remember a youth leader conference where I came upon an empty table with a chair behind it. I sat in the chair and convinced my five friends to get in line for my autograph. The goal was to see how many others would join the line. My friends died laughing watching me sign for the people who lined up after them! They’d walk away looking at my scribble trying to figure out who I was.
I don’t think I’ve ever been “normal” but I guess I have been “normal” for me. But a lot of my normal has changed. I’m talking about the normal routines, bedtimes, trips, work, and general activity.
Now I have a new liver. I have to discover my new normal. I am learning new things every day.
For example, did you know that I’m 65 times more likely to get skin cancer than the average population? My anti-rejection medications make me very sensitive to sun. Some say I need to avoid sunshine like a vampire in twilight. SPF of 50, hats, long sleeves, pants and no beaches for me. Part of my new normal.
Daily medication for the rest of my life is another part of my new normal. Frequent trips to the transplant center for checkups is also part of my new normal.
Now I have to avoid sick people whereas I used to visit them. New normal.
My new normal also includes a new vocabulary. Wherever I go from this point out, I’ll have the opportunity to encourage people to be organ donors and I will tell my story.
My calendar has a new holiday on it. May 7 will be my day when I have the anniversary of receiving the gift of life.
In my new normal I’m not sure where employment stands. I am on disability right now but I certainly don’t want to stay there, if possible. I read a statistic saying that only one of every six liver transplant recipients are able to return to full-time employment. I want to be that one. Plus, statistics lie.
Is my new normal worth it? This weekend I looked at dogs at the dog shelter, went to a wedding, went to a reception, went out for ice cream twice, spent the day at a cookout with my family, watched some men’s league baseball, and fixed my grill. YES! My new normal is totally worth it. I will adjust.
My other normal remains the same. I’m still just as goofy as ever. I’ll still work to make people laugh, still wear silly hats, and do my darndest to embarrass my kids. My sisters and I will laugh until we cry and I will celebrate that every time it happens.
My end-stage liver disease normal was filled with pain, hospital stays, missing out, and continually being reminded that death might be right around the corner. It was filled with my only hope being a transplant.
My new normal is life! I think it’s life abundant. In fact, I’m sure it’s abundant life.
What’s your new normal? Is a major change coming just around the bend? Hang on, take heart, and don’t give up. You might just, like me, discover that your new normal and your new perspective is something that you love.
Life is good!
John 10:10 A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.
THey say attitude is everything. I think b/c u have so many other healthy areas of ur life, u r able to bounce back better than I have…my crisis has been losing my job. Thats another blog, I might start. Thats a journey of its own and full of I think more disappointments at least when ur sick, there are things in ur control…this medicine does THIS, walking makes THIS STAT better. In the world of the unemp, u can do a million things and nothing will chg a thing. : (
Im still waiting to see what my new normal is, and Im shocked at how easy uve been to go thru all the adoption/recovery stages. Even setting ur new normal. Thats huge b/c some people just look at the old normal and get down (like when I remember how I used to shop at Nordstroms not the second hand rack). Accepting that and even proactively setting stuff up …ur amazing. Really.
Anyway, I thought of u today again, b/c theyre “making livers” in Japan.
(Dave w’s friend)
Normal is in the eye of the beholder. Keep being yourself, whatever that means!
Sounds like you take after your parents. I remember in our adult Sunday school class we had a good laugh almost every week about something they said or did. Laughter is the best medicine as the good book says. Mary McGaw
Hey pal, this was doubly refreshing. You getting back to you supranormal normal self sounds and feels real good.
I’m in my chemo chair catching my second of three-week dose for advanced prostate cancer. You triggered the happy laugh you were looking for and a broad smile for my own new “normal.”
You are an amazing writer and I hope to read a book you will write about this journey. As far as the sun goes, both LL Bean and Land’s End make clothing that protects your skin from those bad sun rays. Glenn bought a shirt like that at the LL Bean outlet the last time we were there. If you had a few shirts/pants like that.. and they have hats too–and since you’re not opposed to goofy hats.. you’ll be all set!
So happy for you that you are recovering so well!
Following your progress on FB. Went thru serious drug regimines for HCV since 98′. Finally cleared this year as undetectable. My new normal includes re-evaluation of everything. Life is never as precious as after the consideration of losing it prematurely. Time is precious, and with new energy, I try to invest wisely instead of spend suffering fools or my own foolish pursuits.
Family time, ice cream, doing guy stuff again, and savoring whatever time the good Lord gives, all good….oh and the dog thing…an excellent decision as well!
Roger and I can relate to what you wrote about, after his accident we had to learn that we had a “new normal”, and I have to say normal is always changing. We have, for the most part, learned to enjoy each day whether it is quiet, crazy or anything in between! Keep on keeping on.
Denise St. Pierre