Journal Entry: Thursday, Redondo Beach, CA
So today my three-day journey ends. I leave the conference refreshed, with new confidence, a new attitude, and new friends. Honestly, I didn’t know how I was going to fit in. To my surprise, I felt at home—actually, better than at home. I felt this is where I was supposed to be. I felt safe, safe in the arms of experienced people who had stories like mine, if not worse. I wasn’t the only one running to the bathroom…
A Look Back: Sunday
Mariyah (my fiancée /caregiver), her beautiful, spirited daughter Annie, and I got in Sunday evening, June 25. The hotel was beautiful. Our room was a little far, but worth the walk. We checked in and hit the beach. We found a fresh seafood restaurant, Captain Kidds. You can pick out your own seafood and they will cook it right there for you. As we ate dinner, I gazed out the window and thought, “Wow, the Oley Foundation picked a beautiful place.” The weather was perfect, and I was surrounded by fresh seafood. Mmmm. We turned in early so we could be up and ready for registration.
The next morning I meet Cathy Harrington at the registration table. She greets me with a smile and says, “We have been waiting for you. Glad you could make it.” Lisa Metzger greets me with a warm smile, too, and makes me feel comfortable instantly. I receive my name badge with my green ribbon for first-time attendees and a brown ribbon for being an award nominee. Now you can see who is actually here for the conference by show of the name tags. I take a minute to look over the schedule, and I am overwhelmed by all the information. Mariyah tells me to take a deep breath and relax—we made it! Everything will be OK.
And everything is better than OK. I have met some amazing people who are Living, living Life to the fullest. In the past seven years, on more than a few occasions, I was told of the five-year mark—meaning statistically, after five years of HPN my mortality rate goes down. I didn’t really listen to that too much because I believe when God calls, He calls! Meeting people who have been on TPN over twenty years with very few blood infections and normal liver numbers inspired me to live each day with passion. I met people like the beautiful Lynda Bosworth, who has that movie star quality about her. Lynda and I met after an inspiring breakout session and and we instantly made a connection. Her sister was with her, and you could see and feel the love they share. Her sister said, “She is a movie star,” pointing at Lynda. To myself I said, “I knew it.” Lynda began to tell me her story. Lynda and her husband were on a picnic in the Arizona desert mountains when their jeep hit a rock and flipped over. They were stuck in the desert for four days. Theirs is a story of perseverance and true love. It was featured on a reality show called “I Shouldn’t Be Alive” (Animal Planet). The title of the show was “Till Death Do Us Part.”
Thank you, Oley Foundation for a wonderful time. And a special thank you to the sponsors and the people who donate to the Oley Foundation. We might not have been able to make this trip without an Oley travel grant. I appreciate you and I thank you. We are patiently waiting for next year…
LifelineLetter July/August 2012