Unexpected Error

I just wrote a blogpost (my first one in like 3 years) it was all beautifully written and cute and poetic, and you know what happened? I lost it all.  

my app shut down. I got so frustrated. In fact I'm still feeling a little frustimagatesdss (I can't even type) - but I shouldn't be. You know, my main message has always been "react positively when unexpected things happen", so I'm trying to apply that to my technology glitch - mishap moment. 

I want you all to know that I am doing so so well! I have had my fare share of ups and downs since receiving my double lung transplant, but aren't I the luckiest Hélène Sage Campbell ever. 

So many incredible things have happened in these past few years, of course I can't write all of them out (you and I would be here for days) But in summary: 

  • Mary (my older sister) got married  
  • I moved out (I live alone and it's fun)
  • My parents got a kitten (I love her! Her name is "mittaines" she is fluffy and cute and I wish she was all mine - Of course I'm a little upset that they got a pet now that I don't live at home anymore but whatever) 
  • I'm dating this rock solid awesome guy, with a heart of gold. (Sorry, I had to, his name is Neil Young)
  • I'm trying to talk about organ donation as much as I can
  • Ellen makes me cry (I love her show) 
  • Justin Bieber's music still has me shaking my nonexistent booty! Is it too late now to say Sorry!?
  • So many great tv shows = thank you Netflix
  • I have consumed Reese's (more then any human should) 
  • Friends, Family, You know who you are, you know what this extra time has meant to me, and I never want to stop telling you how much I love you. 

 

So many incredible other things have happened, but I just want you all to know that Organ Donation works. I am breathing, loving and living because of it, and I am forever grateful to all of you who supported me! (Also, OTTAWA IS THE BEST CITY!) *opinions are my own but I am always right (haha jokes!)

Thank you feels so inadequate when it comes to addressing my donor family for the amazing gift they have given me. What an incredible gift I have received, Life.   

I love you all lung lung time!

 

me, being all rebellious sitting on a roof... Thanks Bruce for this photo

me, being all rebellious sitting on a roof... Thanks Bruce for this photo

Remember, beAdonor.ca 

Looking back and looking forward

Hey Hey Hey!

I know I have been extremely quiet when it comes to updating you all with what has been going in the past year. To say that things have not been stressful and overwhelming would be lying. When it came to appearing in person on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, I was a sack of nerves. I felt like Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice "Oh My Nerves!".

I don’t remember it happening. Ha-ha. I just want everyone to know that working with The Ellen Show was an experience of a life time. The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a big team and they are all so pleasant to work with. Ellen, luv you lung time sista! Thanks for the dance! The amount of worldwide support has been larger than life - (think of the Backstreet Boys).

My transplant is going well, and I am feeling great now, but I have had some bumps along the way. I have had a tough time balancing things in life, from advocating for organ and tissue donation to taking care of myself and medically being wise. I am bad at saying no to things. I struggle with FOMO! Fear Of Missin' Out! Now that I am feeling great, I just want to do everything that comes up! But, due to my immunosupression, I have to be very careful with the amount of things I commit to doing.

One thing I don't think I ever will stop doing is thanking all of you. To you, who have supported me and have followed my story. I appreciate all the love and endless kind messages. I am human, I have my ups and downs and there are moments when I really have felt discouraged. I have had all of you supporting me and keeping my head up when all I really wanted to do was keep it down. Without your endless positivity and consistent loving feedback, I would not be where I am today. I say this genuinely and mean every word of it. With these struggles, I am not alone, was not alone and will never be alone. We all go through different things, and it's always great to know that there is support.

During my journey, I lost friends who were experiencing the same things as me. Unfortunately, their precious gifts did not arrive soon enough. But, they never took off their boxing gloves, they were in the ring until the end.

This is the reality of transplant. Transplant is not a cure, but a treatment. Do not get me wrong, it is an incredible and magical gift! But it should never be taken for granted and should never be forgotten. It is so easy to get back into the thrill of life, to feel normal again. To forget others who are now waiting and, in their situation, are feeling the same way I did a year ago. For myself, the daily pills are a good reminder of the delicacy our new lives come with. The daily temperature readings and spirometer (breathing) tests are as well.  (Jessica Carver wrote this so elegantly in her blog)

I am so grateful for life and honestly, I am PUMPED about living it! I am moving on to support the Give2Live Campaign. Check it out at Give2Live.ca for more information. It was created to help transplant patients and their families as they wait for the life saving gift, a life changing organ.

I would like to introduce a very important person when it comes to the awareness of my story. My webmaster, Taber. He has been an absolute GEM and has gone above and beyond in so many ways. He created alungstory.ca and maintained it all as a volunteer. There are so many things that went on behind the scenes and he is one of the many but a VERY important one. I see it fitting he concludes this blog post with an explanation of where things are going, and where the motivation for A Lung Story came from.

Taber!

Hello everyone, my name is Taber Bucknell and I am the website administrator of alungstory.ca.

Alungstory.ca is about to transition to supporting Hélène in her key role with Toronto General Hospital’s Give2Live.ca campaign. I’ll cover the changes you will see on alungstory.ca at the end of this blog entry.

Before that, I thought you may be interested in how alungstory.ca started …

In May, 2011 an anonymous donor gave $10,000 to the Pastor of Community Bible Church – Stittsville (at the west end of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) where my family attends. There was a condition on the $10,000 gift; to "pay-it-forward" in the community. On Sunday, May 29th, 2011 Pastor Steve Stewart gave at least one $100 bill to each family in the congregation in attendance that day, along with the assignment to "do something good". All one hundred $100 bills were distributed.  As a result, over the next few months there were fundraising garage sales, bake sales, and other events. Each event was facilitated by the $100 bill in seed money. (By the way, the total raised by the various events over tripled the initial $10,000 and was spread over multiple community and charitable causes.) I wanted to try an online assistance project with my $100.

On the Monday after I received the $100 bill from Pastor Steve, two of my coworkers at Canadian Coast Guard donated an additional $180 even before my online “pay-it-forward” project was picked!

A need for an online initiative became clear in July, 2011. Hélène Campbell the bright, talented, creative 20-year-old second daughter of family friends had increasing difficulty breathing. Any physical activity was very draining for Hélène; something was very wrong with her health. As you know, Hélène was eventually diagnosed with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Her only option was a double lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital (TGH). In January 2012, Hélène had to move to downtown Toronto to be close to TGH while waiting for donor lungs to become available. Her mother Manon took an unpaid leave from her job to accompany Hélène. Her father Alan and three siblings stayed in Ottawa. The province covered Hélène’s medical expenses but not Manon and Hélène’s living expenses in Toronto. I wanted to try raising some funds online to help them with those expenses.

In early November of 2011 the $280 total seed money I had set up http://alungstory.ca. The site hosting provider for alungstory.ca is Squarespace.com, and they have provided outstanding customer service! I found Squarespace through "This Week in Tech" (TWiT.tv), a technology podcast network I listen to.

At alungstory.ca’s launch Hélène’s story was summarized on the front page. There was a blog where Hélène and her mom could go into more detail about the medical and life effects of needing, and eventually receiving, a double lung transplant. A PayPal button enabled site visitors to donate funds to assist Hélène and Manon with living expenses in Toronto. There were a few links to organ donation registration sites, especially beadonor.ca. Alungstory.ca included Hélène’s (@alungstory) Twitter feed and Flickr (photo) feeds. There was also a French version of both the front page and the blog.

Alungstory.ca also enabled the Campbell family to easily update family and friends about Hélène’s condition.

The moment alungstory.ca launched, at 11:18 PM on November 25th, 2011 the Facebook "like" button count on the front page immediately started to climb. In 24 hours the "like" count was approaching 100 as friends and extended family rallied around Hélène through the website.

At Hélène’s initiative in January, 2012 the mission of alungstory.ca dramatically expanded from assisting the Campbell family with relocation expenses, to also focusing on the cause of organ donation registration. The support for organ donor registration received from Justin Bieber, Ellen DeGeneres, the media, and you(!) is reflected in over half a million page views of alungstory.ca, from 167 different countries, as of April 18th, 2013.

The volunteer team behind alungstory.ca grew to include gifted videographers, French translators, people helping me with contacts received through the website, and others. I thank the alungstory.ca team so very much for their help!

Alungstory.ca will soon start to pivot to better align with Hélène’s support of both organ donation registration and for families affected by the need for an organ transplant. Hélène will be blogging at Give2Live.ca using Tumblr, therefore this blog will go quiet while she does so. You will see redirect links from pages on alungstory.ca to Give2Live.ca pages where appropriate. Some alungstory.ca content and formatting will change. Alungstory.ca will continue to preserve the record of Hélène’s remarkable journey to breathing with new lungs. For instance, the timeline page at alungstory.ca will remain in place as part of that record.

Thank you to everyone who has visited and continues to visit alungstory.ca. A huge thank you to those who donated funds to help Hélène and her mom with their relocation expenses in Toronto!

The tag line at the top of alungstory.ca is currently "Help Hélène breathe - A journey". Thanks to the incredible kindness of a person who registered as a donor, and the donor’s family, Hélène can breathe again and her journey continues.

Taber Bucknell
Website administrator at alungstory.ca

It feels like yesterday

My name is Hélène and I was listed for a double lung transplant at Toronto General Hospital on January 21, 2012, and RECEIVED my gift of life on April 6th, 2012. Hard to believe that was a year ago!

Wow, time flies! and a whole lotta things have happened this year!!

These new lungs have given me a second chance to live and laugh with the ones I love. That includes you! People wonder how I manage to stay positive through these tough times, well, I believe there is  always a silver lining in every cloud and I have a lot of hope. I love life and am so thankful for what I have! :) the hope of everyone around me, and the endless blessings played a HUGE part in my journey for new "blowers" as my friend Jess would say. :)

People who know me well understand that I usually find the humour in things, and particularly in my health care.

I want to take this time to show some love and support and let you all know how grateful I am of all your endless LOVE! The support I’ve received has been overwhelming!

I think everyone should wear green for today (or whats left of today) because green is the color for organ donation! Tweet a pic of yourself in green with the hashtag #BeADonor and lets see how many greenies we can get!!! Wearing green is always a good thing, don't worry, your eyes will pop.

I wish to apologize for the lack of updates, but just take it as a sign that I have been busy busy and doing some great things that I was unable to do before; like jog!

I want to Thank everyone who’s contributed in some way towards my journey for new lungs and how you have continually followed up!! I am so ecstatic about life and I am loving the fact that I can dance the night away!

When you see me walking down the street, feel free to stop me and have a quick dance! The best thing we can do is spread love and hope to those around us. Organ Donation saves lives and I, along with THOUSANDS of others, have benefited of this gift of life.

If you aren't yet a donor, consider it ;) you can do it, register at beAdonor.ca and you can save lives like mine!

I would also like to take this time to thank my donor and their family. I know someone is morning the loss of a loved one, but know that I have breathed easier because you made such a selfless decision. I was able to witness my friend's wedding, dance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, spend Christmas with family. and watch my friends receive their precious gifts of life.

I am still so sad about my friends who passed away waiting to receive their gift. I will continue to remember them.

Keep an eye out for the launch of the Give2Live Campaign challenges coming your way!

I will always love you LUNG Time!

Thank you, for such  hope, love and life (and for allllll the Reese's AND BOOSTER JUICE!!)
xo

Hélène


It's what's inside that counts. Be an Organ Donor & Give Blood.

Oh happy day

Oh happy day …

To all of you that continue to send us positive thoughts, words of encouragement and prayers, thank you!

Yes, the past few weeks have been challenging for Hélène and our family. It may still take some time before her level of energy fully returns and her kidneys regain their function. But, we were so encouraged to find out that her kidney troubles are not related to her anti-rejection medication (Tacrolimus).

The initial kidney biopsy report indicates that Hélène has Acute Interstitial Nephritis. In other words, her kidneys are inflamed. Two of Hélène’s medications are known to potentially cause this type of reaction. We also know that once those medications are stopped, her kidneys will most likely regain their normal function. So as you can imagine, we are very happy to hear this good news!

We have shared before, how the life of a transplant patient is not always smooth sailing. Yes, it can be quite bumpy, especially in the first year.  Adjustments to life style and medication treatments are frequently needed. And, every person’s body responds differently. To this reality, we have been well prepared. We are very thankful for all the excellent health care professionals that we’ve encountered.  Merci!

From the outpouring of tweets and Facebook messages, we can see that many of you are in for the ride with us. This kind of support is of great value and we are so appreciative. Hélène has repeatedly said that it lifts her up.  She is so thankful for people’s kindness (and so are we, her family). 

While experiencing these bumps and challenges, Hélène brings us back to reality with her words: “Hey, I’m alive!, I’m breathing without oxygen!, I have a second chance and I owe it to my donor and the donor family!”

As some of you may know, she has named her new lungs “Grrratitude: Attitude with a little Grrr”. They are a true gift and, seeing how Hélène daily lives by that principle of grrr…attitude humbly reminds us of the real values of life.

Manon

My Summer Vay-Cay!

Hola mi amigos,

Let me start this post off with a ‘lil’ welcome back ;).  I have not blogged since June 20th. Now thats what I like to call a dry spell...

My ‘Dance card’ has been pretty full lately, but that does not mean I won’t be dancing with Ellen DeGeneres... They still plan on having me shaking and groovin, its just a matter of health. I want to dance at my BEST. Ya know?

Remember those essays you had to do when you got back to school after summer vacation? well, here’s mine ... 

What I did over summer 2012 - by Hélène Campbell

My summer really started over the weekend of July 14th. That is when I got permission from my doctors at Toronto General Hospital to go home!! Not just to my temporary home in Toronto, but to home home, in Ottawa! Good Ole’ Alfie’s Stompin Grounds!! There I was, let free, to be at mi casa at Lasta :)

Momma Lion (otherwise known as my mother, Manon) and I packed up our things in Toronto. I am sad to say I left some things behind, but like Arnold Schwarzenegger once said, ‘I will Be Back”. I took my Reeses Peanut Butter cups home though.

I was looking forward to going back to Ottawa, but as happy as I was to get back home, there was some sadness. My memory of details there had sharpened, things like the interior of our temporary Toronto home. But more importantly, of the remarkable people I met. So many very kind strangers who treated my mom and I so well; neighbors, storekeepers, burger restaurant employees (you know who you are ;) ), deli employees, taxi drivers, physiotherapists, nurses, doctors and everyday people on the street who recognized us. On Monday, July 16, as were leaving, literally “a man on the street” said “hey, aren't you the girl with the lung transplant?”. When I said “yes” he wished me good luck and said that my story gave him a reason to quit smoking. That was neat.It was going to be so different this time, and I knew it. I could go to my room without wheezing! My breath was still taken away as I opened the door to my bedroom. I found out you can cram quite the amount of people in my room.

July 18th My family attended a news conference at the Government Conference Center in downtown Ottawa. My mother and I received such a warm welcome! I was super honoured that the Minister of Health, Leona Aglukkaq, attended and announced $10 Million in government funding for Transplant research in Canada. Thats So Exciting! Thank you to all who supported and helped out with this! (Ottawa … I love you!)!!

Then, I kind of dropped out of sight. I tweeted about putting out the garbage, then I didn’t tweet for about three weeks...  One of my followers asked me if the garbage man took me with him... hahah! 

I had an intense schedule before I left Toronto. Medically, there were tests and then my usually physiotherapy. With the organ donation awareness side I had been quite active, attending a number of events. When we came back to O-Town, I began my recovery. I needed to rest (and so did my mom!).

My family has a trailer we go to. I spent a lot of time up there in July and August. I was even there last week. Chilly, but I loved the colors. Being up there is awesome and is a huge part of my second chance at life. I can swim, hike, canoe, etc! I can do them all now in moderation. Sometimes, I could be very quiet, do some reflecting, and concentrate on resting. A big change is that I can sit near a campfire now - a definite no no when you are on oxygen...

Of course being back with my family has been WONDERFUL!! I missed them so much. They are all so strong. We are a family of six, I have two sisters and a brother plus my mom and dad.  It is so nice to just be together, even if we don’t say anything. I can say the same thing when it comes to being with my friends here in Ottawa. I missed people so much.

I really enjoy just walking, which was very tough stuff before my transplant! My sisters and I go for walks and it means so much. I also volunteer to take the neighbor’s dog for a walk. I’ve only done it once though so I’ll have to pick that up!

So what about my recovery? I am recovering from the double lung transplant fairly well. All transplant recipients expect some issues. There can be issues of organ rejection or infection, and there can be issues with the anti-rejection medications (I am down to about 30 pills a day!). In my case there is a problem with my hemoglobin; the red blood cells that carry oxygen around the body.  My new lungs are doing their job of making the oxygen, but my blood isn’t doing a good job of carrying that oxygen. They think it is due to the kidneys, I am not worried because my doctors are working on it. If you see me in person I look pale sometimes and I get tired easily. So, I have to be careful to rest enough and, interestingly, drink enough water and juice (yum). Having spiffy water bottles is my new thing...

Transplant recipients have to maintain body strength through physiotherapy, it is part of the recovery process. I love to go to the gym at 10am...that way I can watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show while working out.. Pumpin That Iron boy! Arm wrestles anyone?

I wear my Reeses T-shirt. It creates an image of a laughing orange blob on a treadmill. ;) Its pretty awesome.

I got to do a lot this summer, went to some weddings, swam (another “could not do” before transplant), and broke the sound barrier with my friend Felix Baumgartner... well, not the last one … but you never know. ;)

As the summer wound down I started getting busier again. I’ve been doing some speaking at about organ donation awareness at a few events. I really enjoy doing it.

I am also writing a book about the last year; because let's be honest, it's a bit of ‘alungstory’. Writing a book is a whole new experience for me and it has its challenges. I’ll promise to do my best to deliver a story that will express grrrrattitude (attitude with a little “grrrr”).

As I have said before and will say again … I don't want to stop my campaign to raise organ donation registration awareness. I not only want to help people on the organ transplant waiting list but also to honour the gift of a second chance I received from my donor. In Ontario alone there are, right now, over 1500 people waiting for a second chance at life through an organ transplant. Every three days one person on the transplant waiting list dies. I am sad to say a very dear friend of mine, who was on the transplant list, passed away in July; she was 20-years-old. I am dedicating this post in her memory. She, along with many others, fought an amazing fight and kept hope until the end. 

Love You Lung Time

Hélène

 

In Memory Of L.M.

Ma chère amie, je t’aime de tout mon coeur. 

1991-2012

Happy Humid Heat wave, homies

Yesterday, while George Marcello was in Emergency with a setback on his post transplant journey, his Torch of Life Relay came to a finish at Queen’s Park. I was concerned really about him, but knew he wanted the message he cares about to get out through the event. I had the privilege to carry the Torch of Life from the Toronto General Hospital to Queen’s Park with Khaled Khatib and Olivia Hubert. I gave it to a construction worker on the way, we even had one doing the dance while we walked by. We passed the torch to one of my great friends Nancy Salvalaggio, who is waiting for a double lung and liver transplant. I met her in the treadmill room.

My groovy friends and family from Ottawa surprised me with their smiling faces and amazing banners in front of the TGH. They were here, in Toronto, ready to walk by our side and promote the importance of being a donor. We hung out in air conditioned comfort for the afternoon. It made me realize how much I miss my core group of friends  – I’m looking forward to walking the bicycle friendly streets of Ottawa again with friends and family.

These guys made my month!! (And it has been a bigger month than usual – from Justin Beiber, MMVA’s, to the Diamond Jubilee Gala…) Another highlight was the chance I had to spend time with Taber, my glorious webmaster and de facto manager, alung with his delightful family. We kept them up late and threw off every routine their family has. 

MPPs Lisa McLeod, France Gélinas and Health Minister Deb Mathews gave great speeches in front of QP and survived the blast furnace heat. We retreated inside where a press conference featured Khaled Khatib, Marsha Gladstone, a Rabi, a Marriott Inn manager Beth, and a Toronto police chaplain.

People have been inspired by my story and I in turn am being inspired by others’ stories.

So, I get asked, “How are you doing?”

I’m still not a transplant Jedi, but my “powers” are increasing. I can handle stairs, walkup long ramps, walk at a regular pace, eat 3 WHOLE slices of pizza…

I have not regained my love of coffee – hard to imagine, but true. But I’ll still grab a “coffee” with you sometime.

My recovery is now taking centre stage, as I’ve asked that there be no media interviews, etc. for the next few weeks. My Toronto Bucket List awaits.  And if anyone is concerned that it may contain crazy or dangerous exploits, don’t forget, Mama Lion Manon is still my 24/7 support person.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you George - get well soon. 

lylt

Hélène

¡Hola Amigos!

I chose to greet you in spanish because it makes me feel smart, and euro cup starts today, OLÉ! 

I must admit, I am rusty when it comes to writing. Wow, I haven’t posted a blog since March 18th.

You know the stage in life where you “look back at where you were a day/week/year ago”? Well, I am definitely going through it now. 

Thursday, April 5th I didn’t think I would make it through the following weekend. April 6th, Good Friday, I got new lungs and here I am writing about it today. What a miracle to think of where I was 10 weeks ago... In our home in Toronto with my mom, and marvelous as she is, so were the delicious Reese’s I was devouring. I had a supa hawt pair of plastic Nasal Prongs attached to a compressor I referred to as ‘Darth Vader’. Vader was providing me with Oxygen, keeping my saturations stable. (I always knew there was good in him). Things like breathing, walking, even talking were feeling harder daily. I don’t know about you guys, but I get goosebumps just thinking about the difference between then and now and how sick I was. I will always be greatful to that amazing family (there are many others like this one) who, in such time of grief, decided to act selflessly and donate their loved ones organs. Because of them I am alive, dancing with my family and enjoying life with all of you today.

These days, Mumma Campbell and I have been keeping busy.

I am taking my pills daily. I have been Pumping Iron alung side at least 90 individuals who have either received lungs or are still waiting for their pagers to go off. These spectacular, strong, individuals make their way to the Treadmill room 3 times a week. As a lung patient, in order to be on the wait list, we have to do physio and it is cruicial after transplant. One of the Physio therapist likes to 'up' my workout for fun, so watch out, Ottawa (especially Barrhaven Dairy Queen, Riverside Dialysis and Cedarview Alliance). When I get home, I’ll have guns of steel. I have also been doing weekly bloodwork, chest x-rays, pulmonary function tests (to measure my lung function which has gone from 32 to 43 in 4 weeks!) and clinic appointments. They have all been going very well and the Transplant Team at the Toronto General is da best when it comes to informing us about the progress. 

Lately I have been watching Star Wars. As you know, my home oxygen was referred to as Darth Vader. Well, my oxygen provider took ALL my oxygen away just this week, (NO MORE OXY = BIG STEP) so I had to replace Darth with The Real Vader. I am going to use a quote from Star Wars that is the perfect example of progress after transplant. 

“Impressive... *deep breath in, deep breath out* Most impressive… *deep breath in, deep breath out* But you are not a Jedi yet!” - Darth Vader 

In the words of Vader (then tweaked into my own words), my recovery has been amazing. I have been feeling remarkable and can do so much more then I could, but I am not a 'transplant Jedi' yet. The process is not an Instant Snap back to life as soon as they ‘put’ the new lungs in. Nobody becomes a Jedi simply by visiting Yoda. You have to train, and get stronger and stronger and eventually, you have the ‘force’ and strength to do things and live life ‘like a Jedi’, or in my case a normal life. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, I apologize. My analogy wont make too much sense then. . What I am trying to say is, I need to keep up the physio and activity, because transplant recovery is slow and progress comes with time.

As eager as I am to go back home, I understand having to stay here for an extra few months. I miss my extended family and all my friends but boy do I ever have the best support there ever was. And Thank goodness for Skype!

 I want to let you know I have been so blessed by the endless love you all have shown our family, it has kept us going. I have been so fortunate and am so thankful to the Donor Family, as well as the medical team over at the Toronto General.

I am going to need a glass of milk now, Just ate a 'crunchy reese' yep. they exist! (Thanks Hersheys!)

LYLT, have a wonderful weekend (enjoy a reeses if you can...and watch starwars)

Hélène

 

ps Remember to register as an organ donor today at beadonor.ca and give blood, its whats inside that counts.

Health Updates

Since having the medical background, I’ll bring you up to date on Hélène’s health. Unfortunately though, I don’t have her great sense of humor or her ability to make play on words (she takes after her father that way).  

Hélène’s pulmonary function has gone from 26% in October 2011 to 20% just two weeks ago.  Recent tests show that it is no longer just a question of lung capacity. Her lungs have also lost some of the ability to do the proper oxygen exchange. The team as communicated to us on various occasions that this means Hélène has very little reserve.

Progression of Pulmonary Fibrosis means that Hélène’s lungs are getting more scarred. This scarring causes the hardening of the lungs. This also means that her heart is working harder not only at getting enough oxygen to the rest of her body but also at pumping the blood through her hardened lungs, facing resistance. Over time, the heart’s effectiveness also starts to be affected by the persisting resistance. Hélène’s latest echocardiogram shows some early signs of the heart being affected by this.

Hélène’s focuses now have to be on maintaining her physical shape through her exercise routine established by her medical team and preserving her energy more than ever before in order to not increase the demands on her heart. This will help with her recovery process after the surgery. Let me tell you that she’s very diligently been working out her muscles to prepare for that Sprint (a good comparison made by a dear friend of ours). In fact, she does not hesitate to point them out (her well-developed muscles) when talking about her physiotherapy and its benefits.

It goes without saying that her positive attitude, her joie de vivre and her love for Reese have all remained. In fact, they may even be stronger than before. I’m sure that seeing so many enthusiastic supporters of the Organ and Tissue Donor awareness Campaign in Ottawa had something to do with this.

Way to go Ottawa! You did such a great job in supporting the Torch of Life relay last Friday.

We love and miss you!

H&M (Hélène & Manon)

Bonjour!

When I got that call about a week ago, a couple things went through my mind!

"Oh no! I haven't been able to blog about the gifts from my co-workers yet!" Then I thought "Man, I was supposed to make cupcakes this afternoon with one of my breathless sisters this afternoon!" (My friend from the transplant program) and last but not least, I thought  "Ah! I won't be able to go to the Hunger Games Premiere!"

It would have been a very valid reason to miss out on those opportunities. But the reality of waiting is you never know when it will happen until it happens. Even leading up to the very last moment. The surgery had been planned for 7am and at 6:58, the Dr. said 'Sorry Hélène, the surgery has been cancelled.’ I had been warned that they could cancel and immediately I knew it wasn't my time yet, they weren't the perfect match.

I felt sad, but not for myself. I was grieving with the family who had just lost someone. A ton of people were supporting our family during the False Alarm. Mauler from the Hot 89.9 Radio Station got his followers in Ottawa and many more to send us encouraging tweets all day. The encouragement and the gorgeous sunny day was the perfect reciepe to not feel down. Thank You Mauler!

When I first got the call, I called home to let the rest of the family know. The phone rang and rang and I kept planning what I would say 'Guys! I got the call'… But after about 20 attempts, there was still no pick up. We eventually had to ask someone to go over and ring the doorbell. It turns out our phones back home kick in to 'Night Mode' so they're quiet between 11 pm and 5am. Things are getting smarter and smarter; maybe a little too smart. I suggested they plug the old rotary phone in. When those suckers ring, they are always heard.

A week before the ‘false alarm’ call happened, my co-workers sent me absolutely amazing heartwarming gifts, which brought me back to where I was a year ago. Where was I? I was working. Working as a Part Time Clerk with The Ottawa Hospital, in The Dialysis and Nephrology Unit at The Riverside Campus. (Love You With All My Kidney) I was working, or as some say 'blizzin', at the busiest Dairy Queen in Barrhaven. (Missin Blizzin and Dipping Cones) And I was occasionally volunteering at Cedarview Alliance Church. (Tante Lisette - I’m Alive)

A huge chunk of our family's ‘rock solid supporters’ come from these three places. I am honored to have met with such amazing people on such a regular basis. I’ve been surrounded by a love from such a powerful family, who have made me who I am today.

From the long lasting loving family over at Cedarview Alliance, to the amazing staff at Good Old Dairy Queen Barrhaven to my many magnificent second-mothers who have managed to support my crazy mannerisms over at The Ottawa Hospital. I have always felt so supported and loved. I always had a reason to keep smiling, laughing and loving, and why would I ever stop.

I guess what I am trying to say is that the people you see every day really do make a big difference in who you are and how you handle things down the road. They help shape you into who you become. And just because you see them all the time doesnt mean you shouldnt stop and take the time to let them know how they have impacted you. Maybe it sounds silly but I wish I had done it more often!

LYLT 

Hélène

ELLEN, DAVID AND I ARE SO EXITED FOR TOMORROW YOU HAVE NO IDEA!!!!(ITS THE HUNGER GAMES PREMIERE) 

quick one

Hey,

I am going to blog a few things.

I got a wheelchair, and it is bringing sexy back.

My Reeses are disappearing, and so is my memory. Thats never good, I keep accusing my mom of eating all the Reeses when really its just me... Haha just kidding. Guys, Reeses. They are Fantastic!

I want to thank my mom. She is the best support person I know (for me). She worked for The Ottawa Hospital 25 years as a Registered Nurse and was a clerk 2 years before that, when it comes to this stuff, could it get any better then that? She is my rock. Shes a great mom, my family is my rock. Without her (and my awesome dad) we wouldnt exist. She deserves an award. Mom, LYLT!

Taber, My Webmaster and Manager, who put this website together not really knowing what it would entail (none of us did!), but boy oh boy is he ever amazing, and every time I thank him, he is so humble, accepts no credit and gives it back to God. Wow. What a blessing he and his family have been. Thank you Taber, LYLT!

My great friend Kelly Logan, who put together the facebook Be An Organ Donor Group and took time out of her insanely busy scheduele to put together the videos we sent to raise awareness. It took her many sleepless nights, and she even took a road trip out to Toronto to make this awareness possible. Without her time, effort, selflessness and stamina, things would not have happened as they did. Thank you Kelly, LYLT!

OF course there are a milllion of other people I will mention and thank alung the way but for now, those are the 3 people and 1 comfort food I am mentionning today. But I still LYLT!

Hélène

ps  TOMORROW IS JUSTIN BIEBERS BIRTHDAY! :D TWEET  "HAPPY BIRTHDAY" @JUSTINBIEBER

 

LYLT

I keep hearing the saying. “If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all”

How many of you practice that. I know I do. Now I shouldn’t be mentioning that after a dry spell of almost 2 weeks of no blog posts. You are all going to think I have nothing nice to say about being out here in Toronto. That’s not true. I have so many great things to say; if I had the energy I would be telling you about everything. Trust me, I want to. I am considering hiring an assistant so they can do the work while I eat Reeses! Haha! 

I’m off the antibiotic. I have restarted my physio, 3 times a week, and every Wednesday there is a support group, where patients on the wait lists and their support people can have a chance to talk. We meet and speak about anything and everything. I love it. I dont really have much of an appetite, but thats where the reeses, doritos and ketchup chips kick in.

Although my activities have been a little more limited due to my current health situation, I have not let it get me down. I will be honest, I don’t like not being in control but I am learning. It is all about compassion, patience, appreciation and most of all, I am learning about pride. I am a little too proud to admit I need help. I appreciate my walker and it’s a beauty but I have made the decision to get a wheel chair as well. I will be able to do that much more.

Last weekend my family came down to visit and it was absolutely wonderful. It was hard to see them leave, but I know they’ll be back soon (as soon as they show off their new clothes they’ll be dying to come back and get some more). Mary (my older sister) bought me a beautiful Owl Necklace and whenever I wear it I think of her.

It was Elizabeth (my younger sisters) 18th Birthday, we went to Potted Potter; (a Harry parody) and it was great. I honestly never thought I would say this but laughing is exhausting. I love doing it so I won’t stop. I have trained myself to laugh on the inside, so I kind of just sit there and shake – or it kind of looks like I’m hyperventilating. People are going to think I am a suffocating robot with nasal prongs.

When I was in the hospital around Halloween my brother told me to about The Hunger Games. I finished the book and will be taking David (my brother) to the Premiere of the movie, compliments of Ellen DeGeneres.  (THANKS ELLEN! CANT WAIT) David and I don’t know what to wear yet. He’s going to be my date. I am looking forward to that.

I want to say thank you, again, for the endless support, love, and encouragement. I am surrounded by kindness and positive energy. 

As you all support, love, pray and hope for me to get my lungs, I would like to dedicate this blog to every one waiting on the list, alung with me. I know this support is magnificent and so I am using the support I have to support others. Payin it Forward. 

LYLT (love you lung time)

Hélène

Ps – I think I’m getting a cold, oh no. On the bright side – Ellen DeGeneres surprised me, took my breath away and talked about Organ Donation on her show. Since then, Trillium has seen an increase in numbers - woohoo baby!! What a fantastic person Ellen is! She has an awesome team working with her, they must be so busy. We have been getting such encouraging positive messages but I really want to emphasize that it wouldn’t have happened without the support of everyone.

We’re all going to dance together when I am healthy and up and running ;)

That’s a promise

and Thank You Ellen DeGeneres, on behalf of the world

My Favorite Quote

“Success” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

To laugh often and much;

To win the respect of intelligent people
 and the affection of children;

To earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;

 
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;

To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. 
This is to have succeeded.

I keep thinking back to that quote. I love it. I was volunteering in a kitchen at a summer camp and there were twins who were selective mutes. She and her sister would not talk to anyone but their siblings and other girls their age. In the real world, they chose who they spoke to. But at camp, they began to speak with counselors and others; it was so cool for me to see that at the age of 15. At the end of the week, one of the girls gave me a bookmark. The bookmark (apparently she found it and wanted to give it to me) had that quote on it. She smiled and said, “This is for you”. I remember reading that quote and thinking wow. This is my favorite.

When I read it I still feel the same way I felt reading it for the very first time in 2007.

just a little something I wanted to share,

Helene

Howdy Do?

Howdy Do? - Someone I have never met taught me that saying. It sounds so positive and upbeat. I like it.

My health this week has been more of a challenge; I am not feeling as well. They put me on antibiotics and asked me not to do physio. I always feel cold. We are noticing some signs of a decreased oxygen intake. As a result I require a higher level of oxygen and now I feel short of breath doing some things (which I didn’t before).

For example, I tried to make coffee this morning, simple right? It took so much out of me to brew coffee this morning I couldn’t believe it. I enjoyed making coffee for my mom today but I think that is the last cup of coffee I make until I get my transplant. It was delicious though – a little strong; I think I put in 5 gracious spoonful’s of coffee grind instead of 4. I lost count.

I love my walker because it’s a seat 24/7, put on the breaks, and sit down. My walker has the label treadmill on it. Not too sure why. I didn’t put it there, I think my walker is up to something.

My week was :( health wise and emotionally, at times, it was :( too, but my spirits are up :)

I received a package yesterday with a card (of all days to receive this gift – yesterday was the perfect one. Trust me)

This is what the card said.

 “Hi Helene,

Thanks for your love of Reese! We do hope you enjoy this care package and that it might brighten up your stay in Toronto. Bon Appétit! 

You are truly and inspiration!

Lisa, On behalf of Hershey Canada”

It turns out they have been reading my blog and know I love Reeses. Talk about a great reason to keep smiling! Check out my tweet for the picture of the package they sent me. It will be mixed in with all the other @TheEllenShow #BeAnOrganDonor #GiveBlood tweets because we are still trying to get Ellen to talk about organ donation and giving blood. Imagine we did? If we did, I wouldn’t be able to do it without all your help. 

love you guys, honestly I have the best support in the land

Helene

Ps, I should start sharing my Reese Bars eh, its DeGeneres thing to do.

Also, I had a dream I went to the Juno awards and met the Queen. Boy oh boy did she love my dance moves. The chances of that happening are well; it won’t happen at the Juno awards because I cant leave Toronto and the Juno awards are in Ottawa this year. Shucks.

 

Busy Busy Keeping Busy

Wow, another week, gone. Here is mine, in a nutshell.

 

Monday: My day started with a wake up call, it was a lovely radio station, otherwise known as the hot 89.9. Poor Mauler admitted to ignoring his family for the weekend because he was so dedicated to tweeting about the campaign. Mauler! You are a machine! I bought a new coat, jeans and a scarf.  We went to Ikea and Costco. Got a few things to make the apartment a little homier, and bought some food to make my belly a little happier. Got a few calls from the media, the most interesting one was from Germany.

 

Tuesday: I met my medication specialist, and then I met with the transplant coordinator. On the way home I bought some boots to match the coat I got Monday and I got a fierce hat to give my new look that final touch. Now I look Supa Hawt! I spoke with Kelly Logan on the phone – trying to scheme our next big move.

 

*There may have been some additional snacking on Reese bars here and there, the occasional coffee break on the side, and me on my phone*

 

Wednesday, I met with Lisa MacLeod, my MPP and got a tour of Queens Park. She really is awesome. After meeting Lisa, I went to the hospital and met the surgeon, Dr. Pierre, and found out it was his birthday. Together, we signed the transplant procedure papers so the listing became official. After leaving the surgeon I boogied on down to Physio. It went well, was busy but good. I remind you it was Robbie Burns Day; a swig of whisky was a must. I am a Campbell after all.

 

Thursday morning, bright and early, I went to CBC. I did an interview, it was live and everything. Early morning glory! I like being up early. When I got back, I took a nap and then had breakfast at a place called Breakfasts. Then I had physio and got a walker! I was so exited! I love my walker. Its blue. I will post a picture of it on Flickr. It’s my baby; I have a license to drive it… By the time we got home, ate dinner and settled down it was late. Diner was tasty - always is (thanks mom) I relaxed, worked on my Final Cut Pro lesson and couldn’t stay up, so I went to bed.

 

Friday morning I spent hours on the phone with Bell – got my Internet service figured out and they came to install it yesterday – wooh wifi. I also got to meet Ronnie, CEO of Trillium and Leona, the wonderful person in charge of media relations over at Trillium Gift Of Life. It was neat; I got a tour of the place. Ronnie must have read my blog. She gave me Reese bars! I saw the room where they get the calls and met the team that works with the registries. They are doing an awesome job! It’s a cool place to work.

 

Weekend was a good time for us to catch up on a few things and rest. Yes, I do need to rest every now and then, so does my mom. It was also great to reconnect with a friend from a few summers past. We got to spend time with our friend Jen from Gracefeild and made new friends who kindly took us into their home. They made me feel like family, and their food was an open invitation to never leave. That was a blessed Sunday

 

Monday morning came faster then I wanted it too. I had (what I thought) an early start to my day; I was at the hospital from 730 – 1230. Long hospital days, I see this beginning to become a pattern. They took a picture of my belly, and then sent me off to physio so I worked out. I had a really bad headache. I usually do, but yesterday it was worse then usual. Manon and I went home and I took a nap. Then we got a call and before we knew it we were on our way to do a remote interview in studio for CTV. We got home just in time for the Bell guy to set us up with wifi. Then we made dinner, my mom wanted to check skype out and so she called the family. I was so tired I was falling asleep in the chair. My father (and brother) can testify. I went to bed. I was asleep by 9. Good thing because I had a big day ahead of me.

 

Tuesday aka Today was a nice long day. I woke up at 5 am and Mom and I left the apartment at 545. We had a driver – company car (ooh fancy) that brought us to the CTV studio in Scarborough and took part in the Canada AM news. I was there with my mom and joined Ronnie and Bev. They looked absolutely lovely. The conversation we had with the driver on the way back was most interesting. I really love meeting and talking to people. If I had a job where that’s all I did, I would never wish for Friday. We got back around 9 and it was time for breakfast. NEEDED COFFEE BADLY* Right before leaving for breakfast someone called asking if we would be home in a couple hours to receive a delivery. We arranged to be back for a certain time because we did not want to miss (what I thought) the sears delivery. Breakfast was delicious, and we were back in no time. I was reading an article in Macleans when there was a knock at the door.

My mother answered the door and I could hear a lady speaking French and I thought it was one of my aunts, surprising me. So I got up and started walking towards the door. To my surprise, it was not my aunt who had just walked in. It was Justin Bieber’s wonderful Grandparents. We had a lovely visit and, to my mother and I, they felt like family. Their compassion towards us, and their wish for a great outcome was uplifting and was way beyond anything I could have asked for.

Experiencing such moment’s make for unforgettable memories.

What great support! I have much to be thankful for.

 

Helene

 

 

Hello From TO

The goodness chart

55 Reese cups x 51 grams  (2805)    

26 Reese bars x 120 grams= (3120)

2 Reese Cups king size x 68 grams= (136)

2 Reese Big Cup bars x 79 grams= (158)

1 Pack of Reese Hearts x 161 grams = (161)

1 Pack of Reese Minis x 43 grams= (43)

1 Reeses Pieces x 260 grams= (260)

total of 88 bars

6680 grams of reeses peanut butter cups

That gives me 14.726879 pounds of reeses peanut butter cups material

 heheh

Wow guys, that’s a lot of peanut butter cups for the average person to consume. It’s a good thing that I am no average person. I will have you know, these cups will be gone in no time… OK, easier said then done. If my donor has a nut allergy I will develop it post transplant. Interesting stuff huh? That’s my bit of information/fact of the day.

Thank you so much for everything to everyone back in Ottawa. I miss you all so very much. 

So, a lot has happened since my last blog eh.

I went from living in a city of Sens fans to the city with the most Sens haters.  Don’t worry; I’ll be repping the 613 in the 416 ;)

I went from living in a suburban home in farrrrhaven, with a family of six, to being an only child with my wonderful mother as my support person in an apartment located downtown Toronto, while the rest of the Campbell Clan carries out their lives at home.

I will have to find new New York Giants Football fans to watch football games with and it is looking like I might be skyped in for a Super Bowl Party.

I will be missing my sister’s high school graduation (maybe they can skype me in for that too…) and I will most likely miss my friends wedding. This kind of stuff happens, we can’t control everything in life even though we wish we could.

I get to discover Toronto and will be riding the subway from one end to the other. TTC + HC = T2HC2 = An Adventure1/2

Who knows what I will find when I get back to Ottawa, maybe my family will have a dog that barks to make up for the lack of noise now that I am gone, and I hope to find a Jacuzzi in my backyard. (Hint hint)

We launched a campaign that was successful. We teamed up and asked Canadian pop star Justin Bieber to help us out by tweeting #BeAnOrganDonor to help us raise awareness about Organ Donation. Something I suggested on the #BeAnOrganDonor facebook group a friend of mine started. I got a positive response from people among the group. My friend Kelly Logan thought the best way to spread my idea of collectively bombarding the star with tweets asking him to raise awareness about being an organ donor and giving blood would be to make a video. She was right, since the video was posted Tuesday, it has been viewed over 24 000 times. The word spread like peanut butter and people rallied together and we got a response.

 Online registrations went up over 600% on Thursday – before Justin Tweeted!

We accomplished what we were looking to accomplish but it does not end here. It is the beginning. It’s been like throwing rocks into a calm pond. Throwing one rock creates ripples and that’s kind of what happened. Someone messaged me this and I was encouraged “… My little cousins (biggest bieber fans) are freaking out and telling all their friends about organ donations!”

This is the kind of response we wanted. Guys, we did it. As a team, we used social media, put it into use and for a good cause. I am sorry to those who got in trouble with their teachers in school or approached by your bosses at work for being on your phone, but it paid off.

I am settled in Toronto, unpacked the last box of things today, the Box Of Reeses. I already ate one, so I will have to make adjustments to ‘The Goodness Chart’.

I have already said Home referring to the apartment and am sleeping better here then I have been in Ottawa. I was not sleeping well for the longest time. It feels good to sleep, let me tell ya.

I am almost done Ellen DeGeneres’s book for the 16th time… Ha-ha, just kidding, more like for the 8th time.

I miss the drop-ins and having to hear “this is a long distance call” every time I call someone like my grandma just to say Hello reminds me that I am four hours away from home.

Miss you Ottawans, especially Mary, David, Elizabeth and Alan.

 Hélène

Xo

And in the words of Canadian Pop Star Justin Bieber, who is now following me on twitter, and for whom I wish to thank for helping us out,

Never Say Never

 

*quantities stated above in “The Goodness Chart” may now be different due to ongoing consumption *

drrrrinng

Hey!

I got the call from my transplant coordinator today and found out that I am possibility 1, which is “Yes, you are a transplant candidate and now is the recommended time for you to be on the list.” (The 4 possibilities are listed in the blog “Now… We wait” written by my wonderful mama). The next step is to relocate. Then I am to meet with a surgeon, if I feel ready sign some papers and then I will officially be on the list.

This means I will be making my way down to Toronto and I will stay there until I have new lungs and am healthy enough to leave the GTA (which could be anywhere between 3 to 6 months post transplant). I will be leaving Ottawa Thursday morning. This gives me time to pack and hopefully enough time (I say it is not but my parents think it is) to stalk up on Reese Peanut Butter Bars. (best bars ever!)

 I’m feeling really good about this. I am one-step closer guys! Woohooo!

 I had a good day.

First of all, you can never go wrong when the first thing you smell in the morning is bacon. Mom, I love you. After some of that delicious yumminess I had Spanish and I learnt that “Puedes comer una vaca?” means “Can you eat a cow?”. That will be very useful when I am a candidate on ‘El Bachelorro’, which is the Spanish version of the bachelor by the way. (ha-ha just kidding)

Then I did my daily finger exercises, which involve typing away on Facebook (also known as some social not-working… oops I meant to say social net-working). That is when I got the call. I filmed it even ha-ha!

 I spent the next little while calling a few places to make some final appointments. I also called my good friend Ellen DeGeneres and Oprah. We bonded over our obsession with Colin Firth… Sorry guys, I am getting a little carried away here…

 I was in the middle of a Skype call with Vince when my oxygen provider came to the door.  Hats off to Ian M, my oxygen guy over at Motion Specialties. Honestly, if it were not for him, I would not be breathing so well! He has been on top of things since day one. He is the kind of person that if asked to deliver a television, he would not only install it, but he would bring over a blue ray player and some planet earth so you could really enjoy your new television. See what I’m getting at here? He is awesome and I will be sad to leave him but it is for a good reason. We got to enjoy some apple pie, vanilla ice cream and earl grey tea today.  We have had many visits like today’s in the past but it hit me today that I will not be getting them as often in Toronto. I really want to take this time to thank you, Ian!

After Ian left I had a surprise visit from two super smiley girls, Liana and Chantal. Just seeing them made me so happy, and on top of that joy they brought me a French vanilla from Tim Hortons. One of my favorite things, I had not had one since November – when they were 1$ for a medium (such a good deal!). It made me so happy! I love moments like that. I wanted to teach them how to play cribbage but for some reason (especially after a French vanilla) my ability to focus was diminished, and so we just talked and talked.

My cell phone rang and it was my Respirologist. I was thrilled to tell him “I’m going to the center of the universe on Thursday!”. I haven’t talked about him much in my blog but he plays a huge part in this whole journey. He has been there for me since meeting me in Emerge and he is the reason things have been moving so swiftly and smoothly. He really is great, big hugs! 

That’s my day so far, which brings me to now. I am going to be busy the next few days – packing and all that fun stuff.

Hasta pronto bebe~ 

Helene

 

 

(I was supposed to post this yesterday!)

Hey

Wow, time flies when you are having fun. It honestly feels like a month went by since I posted that blog entry.

I have lost all track of time. I haven’t updated my calendar yet. My whiteboard still says it December. I won’t bore you with a day-by-day summary of “what I have been up to” but I am proud to announce that since that last blog entry I found my cell phone. It was in the couch. I always seem to lose my phone right after putting it on silent. If you try and silence something that likes being loud, its feelings will get hurt, and it might run away. True Story.

Boy oh boy, confessions with Helene… Without a schedule to follow and deadlines to meet I find myself falling so far behind in my list of personal MUST DO’S BEFORE I HIT THE RAOD, JACK. I am hiring my parents to make me a ‘life at home’ schedule because I need one. Real bad.

I had a lovely 3 week holiday, it was busy (in a good way), but its over now.  I need to get back to a structured kind of busy. I could accomplish more in a day when I was working 12 hour shifts. I need to get back into the habit of waking up early, going to bed early (not the 2 am kind of early) and doing my exercises. I will try and explain my exercises another day.

I have been so busy with the hum and drum of the holidays that I have not had the time to think about “el phone call” - the one from the transplant team in Toronto. I am aware that I could get a call at any minute and I know that I might have to say ‘goodnight’ and go, but that’s not keeping me from living in the moment here.

Today I went to CBC Radio Canada’s studio and did an interview for an episode of “C’est Ça La Vie” with an amazing team of people. I had a blast, got my make up done (I felt young and beautiful again, the lipstick smelt like vanilla). It was such an awesome experience, and it was in French. I got to speak with Marcia (the interviewer) after the show and it was so encouraging to speak with her. She mentioned how being positive is encouraging. People can’t control their sickness but they can control how they react to sickness and that’s what makes all the difference. She supa right!

I have not really had the time to worry or wonder about Toronto because I have been laughing like a silly goose. I mean it. Between family and friends and Ellen Degeneres I am a laughee mcgee. I am reading Ellen DeGeneres’s book “Seriously…I’m Kidding” and I can’t stop nodding my head, thinking to myself “Ellen, I think that too!” and laughing. I picture Dori from Finding Nemo whenever I read it. (pixar you should have made a sequel).

Anyways, gotta run, Spanish class starts in 4 minutes! hasta pronto,

Helene

ALSO, if you have a minute check out the wonderful song a girl I went to highschool with in grade 8 wrote for  me. I didn't have classes with her but I would occasionally spend lunch with her and would talk to her when passing her in the hallways. She wanted to help so she wrote a song and its on iTunes and she has asked that all the proceeds go to a lung story. I dont want to promote it for my proceeds, I want to promote it because I want to pay it forward. How awesome and generous is it of her? She has talent and her heart is awesome. That stuff inspires me! Laura, You rock!

http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/right-side-single/id494150699

Cadeau

Happy New Year! 

Can you believe its already January 2nd2012? I Campbelieve it! Time flies. This year is going to be very different from the last one; I can surely say that much as it already is. First of all, you can always find me, I am no longer driving (the streets are safe again), my room is clean (for now), I lost my phone, and I am blogging! Quite the opposite of last yearHa ha

 I promised people I would blog as often as I can, so I am making it a New Year resolution. 

 I always try to sum things up in one word, so for the year 2011, I think it would be wise to use "erratic" to better describe it. I could never predict what my next move would be. I thinkit’s been a really big reality check though; as much as we try to control our lives, we can't always do it.

I got a car, a part time job, drove to New York with my family all crammed in a Mazda 5, learned Spanish in Spain, took the train from London, England up to Scotland, tried black pudding, met some very interesting people, found out that I had bad lungs, and fell in love with a body pillow called “Sir Loin… If my 2011 had a tagline, it wold be "expect the unexpected"  

I think I could say this even without the health changesIt’s funny, my grade 8 English teacher once said "your lives will not be determined by what happens to you, it’s all about how you react to what happens" -v.rod. I can't remember why he said it, but I emailed it to myself and found it going through my old emails under 'fav quotes'.

 Little did I know that I would be putting those words into practice… I know that what I’ll say next can sound very corny; a positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events, and outcomes. I've been living it! Being happy, is a catalyst, a spark that creates extraordinary results. I am walking and talking proof.

 People have been so positive and so supportive toward me in such an uplifting way. I wouldn't be who I am without each and every one of you.

My dad’s grade 4-5 split class made a gingerbread village for me and named it "Helene's House of Hope". They each wrote encouraging letters; some even included riddles and puzzles to keep me busy. They also made a response video with the help of the amazing 'Mme Awesome'.  

My respirologist showed this website to his children, they decided to draw me a lovely picture of a colourful fish and wrote "Hope you feel better soon Hélène" and I have not even met them yet. I do have a beautiful picture of them posted on my white board, next to their fish drawing.

I have received many encouraging words, stories have been shared and I wish to thank all of you who have written to me through the website.You are part of my support network which is the best!  You guys are amazing! Friends - old and new, family - from far and wide, coworkers and managers - from Barrhaven Dairy Queen (we be blizzin) to The Ottawa Hospital staff -Riverside Dialysis Unit, Riverside Nephrology and HDU Departments, General Campus:  Dialysis Unit, PACU unit, Respiratory/Thoracic/Neuroscience /6N and C2 Clinics; many of you don’t even know me but have worked with my mother many years ago and for your kindness I have no words; to all of you out there that have taken the time to read my story and then had enough courage to share with me your story, to The Children Hospital of Eastern Ontario staff, to friends and neighbours, to our church; many of you have reached out and have encouraged us in so many ways. Of course, I will not forget Taber Bucknell (and his family), my webmaster. Without his dedication, excellent work ethics, expertise and love for our family, this site would not exists.  People from all over have rallied together and keep being so helpful and awesome during this timeIt’s so encouraging. 

 Many are asking "what can we do to help"? So what I’m now answering to them is that “I am  trying to raise awareness toward organ and blood donations and  would like to get morepeople to sign their donor cards! Be a donor!" It’s not something we think about until it involves us one way or another. Bruce Deachman wrote a magnificent 12 parts series on this subject for the Ottawa Citizen and called it "the Gift". I have cried reading each one so far. It is about people who have gone through this process of either donating from a loved one or receiving a second chanceI have been blessed to read about it and to know that this could also be my story one day.  His title "the Gift" sums up this series so wonderfully. Give them a read if you have a chance, and if you're like me, grab a box of tissues :) You can visit the writings at:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/topic.html?t=keyword&q=the+gift

 

Love ya lung time,

Hélène