Day +300: Are You There God? It’s Me, Min.

Day +300. 10 months post-(second)transplant. We’re here. We’ve made it. Still alive, still breathing. In some ways today’s milestone is more significant than say, day +100 or day +180 because today means that I’ve survived the equivalent of a normal gestational period for a human. My body, the one I was born with which isn’t quite the same now as it was back then, has lived through an entire pregnancy cycle’s worth of time with a completely new immune system. The implications of this are staggering. Sobering. Exciting.

I could spend the rest of this post talking about how I’m still recovering from the H.flu pneumonia and parainfluenza 3, which almost took me out for good. I could give my musings about how Ricky and I are moving in together this week taking a huge next step in our relationship. Or I could update you on all the things I’ve injected back into my life to try and gain a sense of normalcy and productivity in an attempt to give my “second chance” at life more meaning. But, I can save all those for a conversation over coffee or a beer. Today, I want to celebrate the people in my life because without the immense team of people who have supported and encouraged me the past two years, I know I wouldn’t be the (almost) healthy guy sitting here typing his thoughts in a somewhat coherent manner. I digress.

First and foremost above any friend or family member, my Ricky has been an unconditional, unwavering source of support during my darkest, scariest hours, and trust me, there have been a few. From being with me on many difficult hospital nights to helping pack and move me into and now out of my current apartment, Ricky’s been the brawn and human tissue through so many major highs and lows. I really don’t know where or who I’d be today without him. ❤

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I want to thank my wonderful SF family. My roommates Chris & Danika who have been so patient and supportive during my second transplant and recovery; Susie & David who are the most outdoorsy, goofy, and loving people I know; Connie & Alicia who are OG Bay Area friends & fellow theater lovers, respectively; Matt O. who always know how to snap me out of a funk with the best Asian food in the Bay and movie nights; Isaac who shares a love and appreciation for all the nostalgic things of our childhood + science; Ilana for her calming presence and unconditional acceptance, flaws & all; Ryan who continues to show me that you can love and pursue more than one passion; Matt C. who sure can throw a fun game night and is always up for Musical Mondays; the wonderful members of the Weissman and Walter labs at UCSF who have all been more than understanding and supportive of my recovery often times telling me to slow down and take care of myself; and so many, many other wonderful people! If I listed everyone this post would read longer than a Genesis genealogy.

I also want to thank my loving non-family family. Bekah with who I communicate without words, but primarily through music; Jenn C. who really is my sister from another mister and has been a constant rock through all of my adolescence and adulthood; Katie & Amanda who have been nothing but supportive and unconditionally loving; my friends on the East Coast: Momo, Steph, Brennan, Dimp, Jason, Steve, my Abbeys around the country – you guys have been the core foundation of a lot of my adulthood and miss you all so much!

This post is reading more and more like an Oscar acceptance speech, so I’ll end here, but you get my point. It really takes a village to both raise a child and support someone back to health! I’m so incredibly grateful for all the wonderful people I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with in life, and for everyone who has reached out and provided support to me one way or another. I’m humbled and honored to be able to continue on this journey. It’s been such a rollercoaster of an adventure with so much more yet to come! #wintheday

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Day +282: Homestretch.

Day +282. Sixth day of fighting off this sickness and I think we’re finally making a breakthrough! Here’s a quick update of the past few days:

I was discharged on Tuesday, after being in the hospital for 4 days, with diagnoses of haemophilus influenzae (h flu) in my lungs aka pneumonia, and human parainfluenza 3 (HPIV). H flu is a bacterial infection that normally affects children, the elderly, and the immunocompromised so it comes as no surprise that I had it. Once the doctors were able to figure out I have H flu, they changed the course of antibiotics I was getting, et voila I began to feel better. Marginally. My doctors think the H flu was a red herring for the HPIV3.

HPIV3 is a viral infection that more often affects children, but also the immunocompromised, and often tags along with pneumonia or bronchiolitis. The only thing we could really do for this was to let my body work to fight it off. HPIVs are spread person to person by contact with infected secretions through respiratory droplets or contaminated surfaces or objects. The virus can remain infectious in airborne droplets for over an hour. I’ve been keeping myself cooped up in my room, coughing into tissues, constantly using hand sanitizer, and washing my hands to reduce the amount of viral particles that are floating around. Thankfully a good soap and warm water treatment will kill the virus, so handwashing has been crucial.

Today has been the first day since Saturday that I haven’t needed anything to help with fevers and body aches, meaning we’ve turned the page and are moving towards complete recovery. Kudos to my new immune system for ramping up the immune response and working so quickly! I couldn’t be more thrilled with how this sickness has progressed and the new graft is proving, again, to be a great one.

A huge thank you to my Ricky for being with me during most of my hospital stay and getting me soup, tissues, and gummis to brighten my day. :*