10 things that have changed me since losing both of my sisters.

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1. I’ve realized the importance of life. I learned how fragile it is and how I must take advantage of every opportunity that crosses my path.
2. I think more about my future then I ever have… “who will I confide in when I am older?” I see my mom and her sisters and how close they are, and I can’t help but think how I will never have that.
3. I appreciate time spent with my mom so much more, and her strength is truly, truly inspiring.
4. It has made me question God and heaven…I try to pray to Lindsey and Ashley… but then I think.. “can they even hear me? or am I just talking to the sky?”
5. I think about my future children… they will never meet their aunts. All they will ever hear are stories… and I know personally that those stories don’t mean nearly as much as they would if you had actually met the person. I want them to love them as I did… but they won’t.
6. I HATE ‘National sibling day’ and I hate social media on the holidays…
7. Speaking of holidays… I don’t get nearly as excited about them.
8. I also have a hard time being around siblings, whether it be friends or cousins, because I see how close they are and I know I will never have that again. And when people tell me “you are a sibling to me” I smile, but I know its not the same as your actual siblings.
9. I realized that being strong is both a blessing and a curse.
10. I have a lot less sympathy for people and situations when they are so trivial.

Celebrate life.

          Hellllllooooo there blogging world! I need to extend the biggest apology for my lack of updates! Let me start my blog listing my excuses as to why I have been so lame with posting (because thats how every blog should start, right?) Okay… school.is.draining. I got a cold, like a terrible… I can’t breathe, hacking up a lung, type of cold. WORK. I don’t talk to much about my jobs/ but I have been incredibly busy… and I am partially lazy, so any down time I get, I take advantage of my sleep. OKAY.. get it over with: do I want some cheese with that wine? Call the waaaambulance. I just needed to get it all off my chest. 

        But the biggest reason for the delay, and I think a justifiable one, was Ashley’s birthday on Oct 2nd. No matter how positive I remained, it still put me in a sort of disconnect with the world. I found myself just wanting to shut my door and be by myself, allowing the world outside to rush on by, as if the four walls around me diminished time as a whole. I think it was the whole time aspect that hit me hardest. How much time has passed since her death. It is a scary thought. 

     So to avoid being a total buzz kill- I thought I would throw Ashley a birthday party. She would never want me to feel this way on her birthday… I updated a Facebook status that sort of explains my thoughts on this celebration: 

I went to bed last night dreading the mere thought of Oct 2nd, wishing I could sleep through it and just wake up on the 3rd. It is crazy how one date can have such a large impact on you… Oct 2nd is Ashley Dias birthday, a date we use to celebrate, a date we use to plan for months in advance, and now its a date that makes me cringe, makes me cry, and takes me a month in advance just to conjure up the courage to even look at on a calendar. But I woke up today and didn’t feel the usual burden, the dread I had felt last night seemed to have disappeared. Instead, I felt happy? I was confused with myself, and then the anger hit me, how could I feel happy on this day? Was I bad person for feeling so? I glanced over to my bed side table and spotted the picture of Ashley that I keep close by, my lips already forming the word “sorry,” as if she was alive in the picture, would see me say sorry and forgive me for not crying my eyes out. But my lips let go of the formation as soon as my eyes focused on the picture, sorry never came out of my mouth, and an unusual sense of calmness immediately took over my body. Its as if she answered the questions running through my mind… the last thing Ashley would ever want is for us to avoid this date, this occasion that celebrated the life she lived. She would want us to do just that, celebrate it. Celebrate all the memories she left behind, eat an abundance of sweets, all the while sharing stories of her many mishaps, and filling the room with boisterous laughs. So that is what I will do. I want to wish my sister the happiest of birthdays, and I want to do so by celebrating this day as if she was celebrating with me. I also want to thank everyone who has followed my journey since I started this blog, without your support I would not be as strong as I am right now, I would never have been able to donate my own kidney to Lindsey. So again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

     The party consisted of close family and friends, lots of junk food, sweets, and WINE (la duhhhh). We laughed, shared stories, and did everything Ashley would have wanted us to do. I am so thankful for all of the people who attended, its amazing that no matter how much time passes- there will always be people who care, and that is a really calming thing for me. So here are some pictures of the event-

Happy Birthday Angel. 

Why do I blog? And the Daunting Birthday.


       With Ashley’s birthday coming up in October, it got me to thinking about why I started this blog in the first place. I sometimes feel like the purpose has sort of been lost in translation, between all the pointless rambles and current favorites, so I wanted to take this opportunity to dive back into those overwhelming emotions I was feeling back in the Summer of 2012… the emotions that pushed me to start this blogging journey. 
      On June 14th 2012 I witnessed one of the most terribly chilling moments of my life, my sister taking her last breath. I can’t form words that can appropriately depict the rush of emotions that burned through my body. I was 22 years old, starring down at Ashley’s lifeless, stiff body, as the doctors told us “there is nothing more we can do…“- was this a feeling of sadness? anger? For the first time in my life I was introduced to this new feeling, a feeling of complete hopelessness. 
      I walked out of her hospital room, unable to continue looking at this unfamiliar body laying in the hospital bed in front of me. I mindlessly began walking down the the sterile, emotionless hallways of Cleveland Clinic, each fluorescent light seemed to flicker along with my constantly changing thoughts. Thoughts about what I would do next. About other people who have dealt with situations like this, situations where, at such a young age, they had dealt with so much hardship… but all these situations I was thinking about, ended the same… these people all fell into drugs or alcohol, or shut themselves off from the world. I had just watched my sister die, would I be another person to add to that list of, “oh her? yeah she went downhill after that tragedy, she just couldn’t handle the pain.” Would I fall into that dark hole? I began to just accept that fate, I mean, how will I continue my journey of life knowing there will always be a huge chunk of me missing? 
      I wish I could give my readers a better understanding of how I was feeling during this time. I have always enjoyed writing and being able to bring my words to life, allowing the readers to feel as if they are experiencing exactly what I am writing about… but I have nothing for this situation, no elaborate explanations, no big, extravagant words… all I can seem to conjure up is that it sucked, and absolutely no one should have to experience that type of pain. 
       I somehow ended up back by her room, standing at a halt by the door way. All the limp bodies, crying inside her room were a blur to me, my vision was tunneled towards my sister’s body, and it was the only clear thing that met my eyes. At that moment, I knew I had to keep fighting, I knew I had to stay as strong as possible. I can’t tell you what changed my thoughts, or how I was able to come to that conclusion- I like to think it was Ashley helping me along, transitioning over the strength she held onto for so long, to me. I stopped looking at Ashley, that wasn’t her anymore, and walked into the room, over to my mother. I picked her up from the chair she was hunched over in, and wrapped my arms around her as tightly as possible… I became the rock for my family that day. I knew we couldn’t fall apart. 
     So I started this blog to explain my story, and to help teach people, through my own hardships, that things can get better. Your days won’t always be filled with darkness, and you will eventually find a reason to smile again. There are days that are still a struggle for me, but I have grown to understand that, that is only one day- it won’t be like that forever. 
      Feel free to reach out to me at any point if you are dealing with something difficult- no hardship is too small, I am always here to listen. If you would like to read more about my story check out the about me here.

Misfortunes of MacKenzie- Take 2.

To take a look at my first Misfortunes of MacKenzie, click here

        I am sitting down at my usual spot in the Starbucks on cambridge street in Boston. I have free time before my next class, and between seeing my surgeons who saw me butt naked when they removed my kidney, walk in and out to grab coffees, and the screaming children throwing tantrums on the ground… I had to tune it all out…so I put on my head phones, and got to writing. Here is another episode of, ‘ The Misfortunes of MacKenzie.’  
I woke up late today, ok-ok… everyone does that some times- so no big deal. When I saw the time on my phone as I rubbed my groggy eyes, I immediately hopped out of bed in attempts to get ready as quickly as possible- which really means pick up the outfit on the floor… yeah… the one I wore yesterday (hey,drastic times call for drastic measures) and then I ran a brush through my hair…wait no, I quickly decided to skip that part since I now have shorter hair! So, instead, I just threw it up into a ponytail and was out the door. 
         When I reached my car, I was relieved that I had five minutes to spare! You would think, after all the misfortunes I have encountered, I would know to never get ahead of my self…but clearly not. I reached towards the handle of my car, a smirk on my face that was screaming with pride for beating the odds and getting ready in time, when I realized my doors wouldn’t open. They were completely frozen shut. I was pulling them as hard as I possibly could…and BEFORE you start laughing at the thought of little, weak me pulling on the doors like a ten year old, I do actually have some upper body strength- but those doors wouldn’t budge. So I got all dramatic/temper tantrum like, as I slipped and fell into the snow the was up to my shins- I am sure this was an attractive site to see. Finally, the passenger side door flew open as icicles flew along with it. I climbed through the passenger side to get over to the driver seat. As soon as my butt hit the seat, I hit the gas, and raced to the train.. I couldn’t miss it! (Mom I am just saying this to emphasize the story, I was driving calmly and within the speed limit- you know me, I never lose my calm…right) Anyway, I made it in time to catch the train! Great! Except, here is where the misfortune really begins.
       As I boarded, I was greeted with glaring eyes, eyes that were pretty much screaming “DON’T SIT NEXT TO ME.” Unfortunately, the train was jam packed and I had no other choice then to sit next to someone. I took the first seat I saw available, which was next to an older gentleman. I quickly realized that I had made a terrible decision. I was sitting right in front of a seat that consisted of three toddlers and a mother that looked desperate for a glass of wine. Each one of the toddlers was screaming. One child was even banging his head on the back of my seat… and I know I am not a mother, but I don’t believe that is all that great for his head. Obviously, no matter how annoying it was, I understood that these children were young, and screaming is what they do… but gosh, at 7AM… I wanted to join the kid and start banging my head against the seat to. 
      The screaming went on for another five or so minutes, and then came the silence! Right as I let out a sigh, again- I getting ahead of myself, I heard an “oh no..” come out of the mother’s mouth. Then came an immediate light tap on my shoulder. I turned around to face this distraught woman, “I am so sorry, my son just threw up… and it went under the seat.” MAYBE YOU SHOULD HAVE STOPPED HIM FROM BANGING HIS HEAD ON THE SEAT… of course I didn’t say this to her, she was obviously sorry… so I looked down to see throw up below me, I told her it was okay…. I am thinking my facial expression may have been saying something else, but there was nothing I could do. I just stood up to change seats, dragging my feet along the way to get what was on it, off. Luckily my bags and such were on the seat with me, so only the soles of my shoes had the bad luck this time. Of course I walked around the rest of the day thinking I smelt like child vom, so that was wonderful
          But how this story really becomes humorous, for you guys, not me, is that this is the second time this has happened to me. Yes, the second time that child vomit has landed on me at the most absurd time. The first time was when I was on my way back from Alabama, I was with Soraya… you can ask her about this story for a more laughable version- she loves it. I had made the flight reservations (so it’s really her fault for leaving me with that job) I picked the cheapest flight I could find- which ended up being the worst possible flight’s, yes flight with an s, you could imagine. We left Birmingham, landed in Atlanta… had to stay on the plane for thirty minutes to let some people off, and allow more people to board. We then took off again, this time landing in Orlando Florida… and again, had to stay on the plane… some people got off if it was their destination, and some people got on. Most of the people who got on in Orlando were families with young kids- as they all wore some type of disney memorabilia. After the stop in Orlando, we then made one more stop before Boston, in Newark. And again, we had to stay on the plane while others got off and on. Right as those wheels touched the ground in Newark… the little boy behind me threw up everywhere. This time however, it got all over my things. My backpack was covered in “Disney fun.” That family was getting off in Newark… so they escaped with a quick, and embarrassed “sorry” as the exited the plane. I sat there in awe… not sure what to do about the mess. Remember how I said I picked the cheapest flight, it was on the cheapest airline- Spirit. Never heard of them? Yeah, I am not surprised. So I brought my back pack into the bathroom to wipe it off, and then just waited until we reached boston- where I practically ran to the closest shower. Soraya couldn’t contain her laughter.
Oh life. 

Hope you enjoyed that little story! 
I have a giveaway coming up in the next day or so, and I am in the midst of filming a really cool video for you guys! So stay tuned. 

My first give-away to show my appreciation!

HOW TO ENTER: There are three different ways to enter this giveaway, but please only enter one time, using one of these ways… 
What to do: You can like the most recent status update on the BreatheEasy facebook group, which is located here: facebook.com/breatheeasywithme (in order to be counted you should like the recent status talking about this give-away)! 
OR, you can leave a comment under my most recent blog post located here, at breatheeasywithme.blogspot.com, by posting a comment that says enter me… make sure to add your e-mail so that if you win, I will be able to contact you. 
And the last way to possibly enter, leave a comment under the youtube video, located on my main youtube channel, saying enter me!
The give-away ends on Friday the 31st! THANK YOU!

Now what?

        I am going a little stir crazy…I mean can you blame me? My doctor repeated.. “you can not drive for two weeks….really, you CANNOT drive.” WHAT? surely he is mistaken…I mean that’s a long time to not have dependent access to the outside world. But his repetition on this topic crushed any thought I had of him uttering a mistake. “You must also really relax, not a lot a movement, just rest for two weeeeeks. Really take it easy.” Huh? But there are many things to do, I thought.
        So in short, no one should have worried about me going under the knife for this kidney transplant, they should worry about it causing death from boredom. I never thought I could HATE sleeping so much. I also truly believe I can recite most lines in most T.V series and movies, since you know, I’ve watched them all on repeat. 
        But through all this down time, it hit me… it’s done. The worry, the stress, the confusion, the desperation, all of it is done. After two long years, or a year and a half… that has felt more like two years… the transplant took four hours, and now its done. Funny how long the waiting process was, and how quickly the actual procedure goes. But…now what!? Erica Ricci from fox asked me that question last night… now what? And it got me thinking. Of course I already planned what I would be doing after this with work/ which is pretty much what I was doing before it happened, but it got me thinking… now what ’emotionally?’ I can now wake up every morning and NOT think about the hospital. I mean, do you guys understand the last time I stopped thinking about hospitals? Or the last time I stopped worrying about my sisters lives?… that was four years ago. Ashley got sick- and the constant, and very daunting worry, started right when the doctors said “a redo double lung transplant.” So this feeling, its peculiar. This feeling where I wake up and say… “well now what do I worry about?” Well thats just it, I don’t have to worry. I no longer feel like a 50 year old woman who has worries of LIFE or DEATH every time she stretches in the morning. I am twenty three years old again. Most of my worries are trivial to those past worries. It is refreshing. It is wonderful. But it is getting some taking use to.