Days +247 – +257, Thursday July 1- Sunday July 11.

Thursday July 1, Day +247: Because you can never have too many cats. Ok, you CAN….but this was the look I received after getting home. Apparently my primary role involves opening doors & feeding. Cats.
Friday July 2, Day +248: Asheville HEW, enjoying a night out listening to coach & awesome musician Cynthia. What you can’t see is several of our significant others making faces at us from behind the picture taker.
Saturday July 3, Day +249: lovely sunset at White Duck Taco with Andy, Frenchie & Elizabeth
Sunday July 4, Day +250: Happy 4th! And Happy Birthday Mom!! It was emotional watching fireworks with Andy & our friends. I was grateful to be here, but thought sadly of other GATA2 folks who passed away in 2020, notably one before and two after transplant.
Monday July 5, Day +251: Andy, launching from a pad at Sand Hill. We discovered the sport/game of disk golf, playing 3 different courses in 3 days. Yes, there’s been a lot of disk golfing…but it pretty much combines my love of time in nature, with Andy’s love of pool (billiards not swimming) & his history of playing tennis/coordination sports in general. There’s also a really healthy dose of hide & seek, meaning we throw the disk way way off the intended target, it hides in the woods/lake/tree/brush/briar patch, and we seek. But then we end up hiking more, so all is well.
Tuesday July 6, Day +252: A disk we failed to find after a long throw by Andy, was discovered and returned by a Good Samaritan/fellow disk golfer. I’m thankful we sharpied our phone number on the back & for lovely humans.
Wednesday July 7, Day +253: success is setting up my Garmin InREACH Mini, and it actually working! I use this satellite device when I go backpacking as a way of checking in with loved ones & friends. I feel that same rush as when I put air in my tires or make Microsoft Teams work, FYI.
Thursday July 8, Day +254: It has been said that while backpacking, you pack your fears. I’ve always been afraid of a) getting eaten by something and/or b) getting injured/sick. As a result, my first aid kit was ridiculously heavy. Today I paired it down and got rid of most of it.
Friday July 9, Day +255. This was Friday’s workout at HEW. It was named Glen. I have a friend named Glen. I fear I will never look at him the same.
Sunday July 11, Day +257: Obligatory pre-trip photo of backpacking gear. Everything fits in my pack, thankfully, but I’m too chicken to weigh it pre-trip.

Currently I’m in Mammoth Lakes, California. It’s hot, slightly smokey and gorgeous. I didn’t even mind my 3.5 hour shuttle from Reno, as the scenery was so breathtaking, familiar mountains winking in the distance as old friends. Tomorrow I’m set to take a shuttle into Yosemite, my home base for the next (just under) 2 weeks. I’ve got a solo loop, plus a lovely grand tour of the park with Christine planned…I can’t wait.

Life has been interesting, as of late. Between trip planning, graduate school prep, friends visiting in our post-pandemic world, medical appointments and just life – I’ve spent my time doing things other than blogging. I keep reminding myself that it’s more important to DO the thing, than to think about it & then write….or not do the thing, stay home & write about that.

So here I am!

Overall I’m doing well. Physically, my body is adjusting well without immunosuppressant medications, and I feel more and more like my old self. My blood counts are surely but steadily rising, my WBC 4.5 last week even! Better yet, for the first time in months, there was NO detectable EBV (Epstein Barr Virus) in my system. Dr W nearly jumped for joy and I felt my shoulders actually relax. If the NIH could have given me a high five, they would have. More importantly, I’m feeling better, stronger, more like my old self.

I still struggle with major fatigue, though; pool league really exacerbates this I’ve noticed. During the fall term, I’ll have to figure out how best to proceed – until then, I’ll do what I need to meet my body’s needs

Otherwise, my body is doing about as well as it can, 8 months post-transplant. I’ve made the biggest changes with my skin, opting to use an oil-based toner with my moisturizer, per the recommendation of my esthetician who shaped my eyebrows. Yes, they were groomed & waxed, no – I didn’t go with her boutique suggestion, instead opting to return to my pre-transplant EvanHealy products.

So far, they feel great!

The other exciting news is that I’ve had my hair trimmed, twice! There’s something entirely wrong about growing a mullet, so I opted for the easy trim appointment. Nothing much has changed from month 6, to month 8, except that the hair I have is much more thick. Huzzah for that!

And now it’s late. I’ve been up for close to 22 hours, flown across the country, taken a 3.5 hour Shuttle,and eaten my weight in Laffy Taffy. I’ve got an 8-something am shuttle to catch tomorrow and am doing my best to keep things organized for my trip. I’m hoping to finish my trip by the 24th, so I’ll likely have a block of posts devoted to Yosemite…but for now, I’m just catching up with myself from the beginning of the month. Even my sentences feel tough to compose, so that’s my cue!

Enjoy the rest of July & thanks for reading!

  1. Have a wonderful time in the High Country!! I’ve just returned from a week of backpacking out of Vermilion “resort” in the Mono Divide region – a mix of JMT/PCT, less traveled trails and off trail hiking. Just beautiful! Fingers crossed that fires don’t mess with your trip.


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