November 1, 2012

Autumn in East Tennessee and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse!

Salaam ya'll! I've had sooo many problems with my pics through blogger/android/google plus. Anyway it appears ALL my old photos are gone. Many I still have on my hard drive, some I do not. I doubt seriously if I will go back and re-post, that's a lot of work as I have over 325 posts.

So here are a few pics with captions. Let's see what I can find:

View of the Tennessee River

Delicious steak hmmmm

Sweet potato casserole

Two fairies mA

Broccoli casserole

Yummy salad

So updates, updates, updates... still no dialysis, still under 20% kidney function, still gettin' by. :)

Still married to my awesome Cap'n, still deliriously happy (please say "masha'Allah!") and still waiting, sometimes patiently, for him to arrive.

Still a happy Muslim mama with a happy little girl who's cute n sweet n spicy. :)

I'm hoping to go visit Cap'n one more time but, as usual, money is the deciding factor. We are both VERY simple people. We want to live as Muslims, die as Muslims, have a happy, balanced life and work for the akhira. We wanna share some laughter, weather some storms, and raise our children. So for money to be such an issue (the not-having-it kind ;) really galls us. We are not greedy, more more more kinda people but when you really need el dinero to see your husband/wife, to spend time together as a couple and the ONLY thing preventing you are finances... well it sucks. To be polite. :)

So please make dua for us that Allah swt unites us soon. Amin!

Ma salaama ya'll...

September 12, 2012

Little Miss's new look m'A!

Salaam ya'll. After Aaminah didn't pass her 4 yr old basic eye test at the pediatrician's office, I took her to be tested. The result:

Don't forget to say "masha'Allah!".

September 10, 2012

Cute li'l things

Salaam ya'll. So I'm tired of talking about my illness. It's consumed a lot of my time and I'm ready (as I'm feeling a bit stronger) to move onto brighter things. :-)

Ya'll know I'm woman on a budget, I like bargain shopping and I encourage it. It's just responsible and good for all concerned. Reduce, re-use, recycle. :-) So I was at a local neighborhood sale looking for some winter clothes for Aaminah. She's grown so much m'A, she's a size 5-6 now. :-) While there, I spied this cute little purse. It looked brand-new and I got it for a song. :-)  Well, $5.00 but still...

I love the soft muted metallic purple, It goes well with many colors. I am the person that always switches out my purse to match my outfit so this makes it easier!
I really love the chain detail, look here:

I don't really buy much for myself, on a super-tight budget alhamdulillah. But I will ocassionally splurge and at $5, I don't even feel guilty. :)

I also like to be prepared. I am the mom that always has a change of clothes for my daughter even though she's 4. It's just easier that way. So I found a little manicure set, brand-new, but was only $4. It seems you always need something like that when your out, plus even at home those little things like tweezers and files gets misplaced. Now I have them all in one cute little package. :-)

At first I thought it was a little credit card case...

but then opened it up to find these. :-) And everything still had plastic on it so I know it's new and no nasty fungi clinging to them i'A. :-)
I then packed a little change purse I found in Aaminah's toys and put some eyeglass cleaning packs in it (she wears glasses now!) along with a few safety pins, ponytail holders. lip balm and hair clips. The things we always need if we are out and she has a bad hair day or she is eating. (I hate for hair to drop in the food!!!!)

This is the change-purse I re-purposed from Little Miss

And here is what we carry in it. :-)
I also keep a little packet of tissues and found this pretty one for $.50 on clearance. And lastly is the little leopard-print compact mirror I got 2 years ago in MA for $.97, also on clearance.

Aaminah has one also, she is a crazy cat girl!

Too bad they didn't have purple, would have been all matchy-matchy. :)
OK so there is just a bit of fluff for you.  :) Enjoy...  Ma salaama!

September 7, 2012

Mystery of the photos solved...maybe

Salaam ya'll. What, 2 posts in 2 days? Am I ok? Yeah, alhamdulillah. :) Anyway I did a bit more research and now, I'm gonna do something I try to not do: make a blanket statement of blame.


Aww now that's not really fair cause I really like their search engine. However, I wanted to directly upload photos from my Android to my blog. Google said, heyyyy no problemo, just download this little program and we gotcha covered! Well then ALL the pics I took on my phone (even ones sans hijab) were showing up on my goole + account (which I only had to upload photos to blogger!)

I freaked and immediately deleted them but apparently that is where the pics were hosted, so they disappeared from my blog. :-( Boo! Now, I already deleted the pics from my phone cause I didn't need them. Oh nice, so no way to get them back. Not a huge deal except I really hate to see that annoying error message pic instead of my photos so I'll probably go through and remove the non-existant photos so that error pic goes away.


Anyway, I still have over 500 images from my blog stored on my phone and NO WAY to delete them. Is annoying and weird. Alhamdulillah. I don't wanna delete all photos because many are of Aaminah but guess I'll have to do what I have to do. It's eating up a lot of my storage.

OK so mystery of the pictures solved. Alhamdulillah. :) On my way to see my nephro, make du'a for me please!!!

ma salaama ya'll

September 6, 2012

Where to start?

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll!!!! Sorry been outta the circuit for so long but soooo much has happened. Subhanallah. Where to start??? Seems like a good place for a list! Random info, no particular order.

1. Married (as ya'll know) deliriously happy, 'nuff said.

2. I have been reading all comments but due to my tenuous health I just wasn't able to log on and respond to all of them. However, a few I did want to address:

  a.) To my new follower, so glad you stopped by! I'm normally very on-top of things but if you've read more recent entries, I'm sure you understand why this belated greeting. :-)
  b.) My pics: I have no idea what happened! I did remove a few pics of me (didn't have many on here) but for some reason, my phone and google decided to download ALL of my blog pics onto my phone. They cannot be deleted, I read here and there and apparently I had to delete them off my blog! I tried many things, got annoyed, and then found out all my pics had the dreaded "!" symbol. So annoying and I have not figured out how to fix it.
  c.) My husband did not request I remove all pics HOWEVER, if he did I would be more than happy to accomodate him. Cap'n is an awesome husband masha'Allah and would do anything for me. Just to clear up a point a reader made.

3. My health. Alhamdulillah! I've had I guess 7 surgeries since March and wasn't doing well. Found out I could switch to peritoneal dialysis and had that tube inserted (in my abdomen). Nice. So I had 2 tubes, one in my thigh and one in my lower belly. Belly wouldn't heal from all my immunosuppression and the one in my thigh (for hemodialysis) stopped. It's bad when you need dialysis and you can't do it. Like, end of life bad.

BUT....alhamdulillah, He took care of me as always! I spoke up, said I didn't want ANOTHER surgery and to continue hemo while my abdominal incision healed. I knew my kidney had enough function left to slog on through. I expected to feel crappy but survive until my belly healed.

Alhamdulillah! My kidney function is 19% (roughly). That means, insha'Allah, I don't need to dialyze right now. Ya'll, I've been through sooooo much since March. Really. Days where walking was a chore, couldn't cook or clean, even taking care of Aaminah was too much. Alhamdulilllah I had help and I just you know, did what I could and prayed to Allah and look where I am now.

Subhanallah just so grateful. :) I'm still sick, yeah, definitely, but I'm living. I might even get to have this tube in my abdomen removed. A normal-ish life. I won't feel great but I feel sooo much strong than I did, I'm just happy for it all. :)

I have an appointment with my nephro tomorrow and I'll know more insha'Allah. :-)

4. Aaminah. What to say? She is sweet, smart, beautiful and growing like a weed! She started pre-K and loves it, has the best teacher and I really like the curriculum. She's doing awesome and yet another thing I'm thankful for!

5. It feels good to be here again. When I didn't feel like writing, I didn't let it bother me. I said alhamdulillah and went on. For now, I'm feeling better, stronger, and feel like sharing. When Cap'n gets here, maybe it will change again. Allahu a'lam. We'll just see, won't we?

Anyway, I'm pretty sure everyone's lives somehow managed to move forward even without me here. :-) I pray everyone is in the best of health and iman and please, keep me and my little family in your du'a. I know it's only by the grace and mercy of Allah that I'm feeling better now and possibly getting a reprieve from treatments. Treat each day as a gift and try to make the most of it. If the most you can make is to sit in your chair and not cry, alhamdulillah. If you can go at it full-steam ahead, better. :) I have somewhere in between right now and I'm good with that.

Ma salaama ya'll!

June 18, 2012

Alhamdulillah! Masha'Allah! Allahu akbar!

Salaam ya'll! I am very pleased to announce that Cap'n and I have married. :-) Alhamdulillah! We had a wonderful time, I think we were both more than the other expected and both grateful to Allah for the love and understanding He has placed between us.

"And among His signs is this, that He created for you mates from among yourselves, that you may dwell in tranquility with them, and He has put love and mercy between your hearts. Undoubtedly in these are signs for those who reflect." [Noble Quran 30:21]

Masha'Allah. So this was my big secret, I just preferred to keep everything hush hush til it was a done deal, especially due to my health issues. Alhamdulillah I've been perfectly healthy (well for me that is! lol) the entire time I was away and now am back, sans husband. We are just waiting to be reunited and please all, make dua for us that we are together again soon.

This life is hard enough; going it alone makes it even tougher. :-)

Ma salaama!

June 8, 2012


Salaam ya'll! I'm still around, still sick, still struggling, still smiling, still sighing, still "subhanallah"ing. Started with an "s" theme and just decided to run with it. :-)

Anyway the transplant work-up is on hold until I lose 45 lbs. Yes you read right, 45 pounds. Ouch. Alhamdulillah. I know it's for my best interest but having surgery after surgery, week after week, is NOT in my best interest at all. I have already lost weight and am very very dedicated. I mean, we aren't talking about getting ready for swimsuit season, we are talking about my life. Insha'Allah khair...

Of course, with my illness and level of tiredness I can't exercise so it's really just diet. Please make du'a for me, sisters.

Now... I have a secret... and yeah, I hate hate hate hate HATE when people do a big tease on their blog but I'm so excited I wish I could share. Suffice it to say that in a couple of weeks I'll have a very very happy post to put up insha'Allah. :-) Insha'Allah I'll get loads of "masha'Allah"s and "mabrook"s. :-) I promise I'll update you guys in a couple of weeks. Until then, I will be VERY M.I.A. :-)

Please keep me and my family in your dua. I love you all fi sabilillah... Ma salaama!!!

May 24, 2012

Sorry ya'll

Salaam everyone. So I want to apologize for my lack of posts of substance. My life is consumed right now with staying alive. I had another surgery yesterday and had a semi-permanent access placed in my thigh. It's very very painful alhamdulillah and it's hard to get around.

However, for the first time in 3 weeks, I dialyzed completely. Alhamdulillah! I had been getting very sick from all the toxins building up so insha'Allah this SIXTH access will work and I can concentrate . on getting better again.

Alhamdulillah I have had around 17 people offer to be tested. Some complete strangers AND get this, non-Muslim. Subhanallah how Allah moves people! So I don't wanna hear from anyone, myself included, that America anti-Muslim. Yes, our government has policies in place that definitely support Islamaphobia but that does not reflect the feelings of most people on an individual level.

Anyway I have had thoughts for interesting posts but to be honest, I just don't have the energy. So bear with me and insha'Allah better days are coming. :-)

Oh alhamdulillah a friend gave Aaminah a kitten. This has been her heart's desire for a year and I just wanted to let her have something to make her happier. It's hard on her, having a sick mama and she is so excited to have him. Let me introduce Maximus the Catticus, or Max for short. :-)

He's a Maine Coon and can grow to 25 lbs subhanallah!

He's very active but I can't get pictures of that hence 2 pics lying down. :-)

Ma salaama ya'll!

May 17, 2012

Looking for a kidney donor i'A

Salaam ya'll. So I am officially looking for a living kidney donor now. My last transplant was from a living, un-related donor so this isn't anything new for me. I am going to list the criteria below. I do ask that you live in the US or in a visa-waiver country. The initial work-up is a simple blood test to check for blood type compatibility. I am B+ so another B+ or an O+ donor is what I am looking for.

Below is a link to some common Q & A about living kidney donation. As a reminder, Allah tells us in the Qur'an (5:32) that if we save the life of one, it is as if we have saved all of mankind.

If anyone feels they would sincerely be interested in giving me the "gift of life" contact me via my blog and I'll add you to the (hopefully growing) list of those interested. I am very sick sisters and it's difficult for me to take care of my daily responsibilities.



May 7, 2012

New look?

Salaam ya'll. I really wanna change the look of my blog. Please, any of you with some good websites for free blogger templates, hit me up. I like this one but it's just getting a little old. I've done before but really want something more individualized. I wish I had Mama Mona's mad skillz but alas, I don't so I'm stuck with a bit of ready-made magic.

Let me know, ya'll. Ma salaama!

P.S. Probably gonna be going to the hospital today because my access, that I just got last week, isn't working. We'll see. :-)

May 6, 2012

Nothing but quickies :-)

Salaam ya'll. So I had my surgery on Wednesday. My new access is barely working. Alhamdulillah. I am only running at 160 cc per minute instead of 350 cc per minute. That means only half the volume of blood is being cleaned. Alhamdulillah I still have some residual function but it's not fun, sisters. Loads of swelling, tiredness, nausea... all part and parcel with end stage renal failure. At treatment today I had 3.2 kg (over 6 pounds!) of excess fluid pulled off. AND I still make urine, Crazy. Crazy.

Good news is I'm still just Jeanna, same ole me. I tend to be happier than sad and get over disappointments quickly. Right now I'm really trying to focus on getting better, taking care of myself and Aaminah and learning how to accept help. I've always been independent and it's hard for me to say, hey can't do it. But I'm learning pretty quickly. :-) For example, I was so depleted after treatment today, I let Aaminah stay with the friend who watched her during dialysis. She loves playing with the kids there and if I brought her home, I would have sat on the chair, drifting in and out of sleep, and she would have been left to her own devices, largely. So alhamdulillah I have such good friends and family who can help out in my times of need. It's such a comfort.

I have some advice, sisters. Anytime you feel overwhelmed by your circumstances/choices/life just take a minute. We know, as Muslims, we are never alone but our Creator made us to crave companionship and love in this dunya. Most of us have at least a few people who love and sustain us. So just take a moment, when the situation seems insurmountable, and think about how truly hard your life would be without those people/that person. There are some people who are truly alone in this life. I wouldn't know what to do sisters. I am so grateful for all my beautiful friends, sisters, and family.

Ma salaama

P.S. Oh I have to go back to the hospital next Wed. and stay overnight. I'm having a contrast dye ct scan to look at the sorry state of my vasculature. Because my kidney is so fragile right now, I have to take a special medicine before and after, as well as do an extra dialysis treatment, in order to try and protect my transplant. Then they can decide on what type of permanent access to place. My veins just aren't co-operating and it's getting to be a big issue. Please pray for me, sister. JAK

May 2, 2012

And, yet again...

Salaam ya'll. Just got home from ANOTHER unexpected surgery. Alhamdulillah. My dialysis access wasn't working properly. Again. So off to the hospital, they pulled my old tubes and inserted new ones. I hurt but wanted to quickly sit down and let ya'll know.

Alright, time to take a rest. I'm tired, haven't been dialyzing well and my body is paying the price. I pray everyone is well and in high iman, please keep me in your dua. :-)
Ma salaama...

April 27, 2012

The last word

Salaam ya'll. I removed the Chip-in because, while I do not feel I did anything wrong Islamically, I simply do not like controversy or conflict. It has obviously caused some people to look at my lifestyle and make assumptions about me that are untrue. While it annoys me it mostly hurts me. I know my heart, I know I try to be a good person, a good Muslim. I am not a money-hungry beggar and if having that little box on the side of my blog causes people to think that about me, well I'd rather remove it. Subhanallah, so not worth it.

It's funny, when Cap'n reminded me of the evil eye and haters, I was shocked. I just always assume everyone who reads my blog loves me. LOL No honestly. It always surprises me (and I am not saying ANY of the sisters who commented negatively hate me) that there are people who will read and follow a blog just to revel in any misfortune or to hate when something good happens. Please, let me reiterate, I am not saying this in regards to a specific person, this is just something that came up in conversation between myself and Cap'n.

He requested I stop sharing so much personal information. I never saw the harm in showing some photos of my home, in sharing when I found a really good price on used furniture, or talking about my children's accomplishments. I naievely assumed everyone would be saying "masha'Allah!" and well, just be happy for me. As proof, he pointed to this recent issue with the donation site. He said no one can see how hard life is for me day to day all they see is my happy smiling face, my beautiful, handsome intelligent children, and a blessed life. Guess it's a good thing I don't talk about Cap'n a lot or show his photo; talk about some haters then! ;-) lol

In my culture (southern U.S.) we love to hear about the good someone has experienced. Whether it's a promotion, a raise, a great deal at a yard sale... we are happy for our neighbor. Cap'n reminded me not everyone is like that I should be careful and not share too much of my life, of the good in it because of those who will hate and envy.

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful: "Say: 'I seek refuge in the Lord of daybreak. From the evil of that which He created. And from the evil of darkness when it settles. And from the evil of the blowers in knots. And from the evil of an envier when he envies.'" [Quran 113:1-5]

OK I need to go. I had surgery last week to replace a dialysis tube and now I have to have a vein mapping procedure so they can decide where to put a permanent access. This is one of my least favorite surgeries but it's necessary alhamdulillah. Please make dua for me and my life sisters.

Masalaama ya'll...

April 25, 2012

Be Kind

Salaam ya'll. I got a very mean-spirited comment on my post about the chip-in site ANOTHER SISTER started for me. I want to share it because I do feel I should address it:

"It is haram for a Muslim to beg money from others without dire necessity, thus losing his/her honor and dignity. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "A person keeps on begging until he meets Allah (on the Day of Resurrection) with no flesh on his face." (Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim) Islam considers begging a hateful act. It forbids it except in dire necessity. The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) dispraised begging and warned against it in many Hadith. Al Bukhari and Muslim reported from Abdullah Ibn Umar (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said: "The person keeps on begging until he comes on the Day of Resurrection with a face without any bit of flesh." It seems that you are being provided my the welfare system of your country, even your health care is free. Why are you begging if you have enough to live? Sarah on Chip-in site started by a friend"

Sister, I am not begging. Another sister (as clearly stated before) started this for me. I did post it on my blog. After a lot of thought and mostly because of people who would think as you do.
I have no money. I have applied for disability but it has not came through yet. I cannot afford the gas to drive my car to my life-saving dialysis treatments. Is that poor enough for you? I cannot buy my daughter clothing or shampoo or supplies for school. Does that qualify in your eyes? I am unable to change the oil in my car or repair it or pay my phone bill or utilities. I have $23.57 in my bank account. Perhaps that seems luxurious; I am sure it does to many in the world.
However, there is a thing called "urf". Forgive me if I am mis-spelling it. Meaning we all live within the cultural norms and parameters of the society where we reside. It is normal for me to have running water and electricity. It is normal for me to be able to wash my clothing and maintain my home's cleanliness. It is normal and customary for me to provide my daughter with more than a blanket wrapped around her to hide her nakedness. Yes that was dramatic but I'll be honest, I'm pretty hurt right now and puzzled.

I am not sure why you felt the need to leave that comment. We are told to make seventy excuses for our brother/sister, not judge the hell out of them. I've been guilty myself but usually, ALHAMDULILLAH, I stopped myself before making my sister feel bad and myself worse.
I am going to assume you did this out of care for me, as your sister in Islam. However, the rather witchy tone you used at the end when you queried, "Why are you begging if you have enough to live?" doesn't seem very charitable, sister.
Not at all.
Ma salaama ya'll.

April 20, 2012

Being a woman and being sick

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. Wanting to get something off my chest, metaphorically speaking. Actually, it could be literal as well, because I would loooove to get these tubes OUTTA my chest. :-) But I digress. As usual.

It's hard being a woman and dealing with the side-effects of illness in so many ways. As a  mama, as a homemaker, it's hard to have to admit we can't do things that need to be done. I'm not ashamed to tell you my shower hasn't been cleaned since I've been ill. I simply can't do it and I have no plans to lick it anytime soon. :-) So no matter how distressed it really makes me deep inside, I know cosmically speaking, it's a thing I just have to let go. I don't have the energy and with the swelling and the placement of the tubes, bending over is difficult at best, and painful at all times. So shower-cleaning has fallen by the wayside.

It's difficult to be unable to be the active, supportive sister I've always tried to be. My best friend, Um Bilal, just had hernia repair surgery yesterday. I want to cook for her and help her in so many ways but alhamdulillah I'm really limited right now. So I've set up for other sisters to cook and masha'Allah she has a wondeful husband who is able to stay home with her and the baby. But still... feel like I'm just not doing what I should for her. Thanks to her and Abu Bilal, anything I've needed since I've fallen ill has been taken care of. Garbage taken out, clothes hung up, driven to the hospital... anything and everything masha'Allah. Abu B is Cap'n's best friend of over 15 years and Um B is mine for the past 6. We are blessed with them.

It's also difficult for me from a purely feminine standpoint. Steroids are difficult meds. They do a great service (keeping my kidney from rejecting... or at least anymore!) but the side effects are harsh. I've broken out in bumps which I've never had before (except post-transplant when I was also on high doses) and it makes you gain weight/retain fluid and fat in odd places. Namely face/neck/trunk. Also the back of the neck like a buffalo hump? Yeah, Attractive. So I'm not only dealing with feeling pretty bad on some days but also dealing with these other side effects. I'm engaged, Cap'n and I have never met in person and now it's looking like when we do meet I'm going to have these unattractive side effects.

I know he respects me as a Muslimah, as a woman, as a friend and fiancee. I know he loves me for my character and he also is attracted to me. But now? Of course he will not change how he feels for me but I've changed. I feel self-conscious. I feel ugly. :-( I want to feel confident and happy when we meet not worried he will be unhappy with me. Of course he hasn't seen me sans hijab and believe me, hijab is a fat girl's friend. Now I don't mean normally but with this extra swelling... it reminds me of a bullfrog's neck. It's gross and it's ugly and

OK so that's my whine for the day. Oh wait, one more thing. Also the steroids make you ravenous. So my appetite has increased dramatically. I've gained about 12 to 15 pounds, a lot of which is fluid retention but some is pure fat. Prednisone causes you to store carbohydrates quicker than you normally would; it can also cause (insha'Allah temporary) diabetes which I now have since my massive doses in the hospital. I am insulin-dependent but it is getting better and if I'm careful how I eat, I don't have very bad problems with it.

So I've had a lot of changes in a short time. I've been put back to only 2 days a week dialysis because my kidney does have some residual function. I'm so happy for that; it's like getting a free day a week. :-) I'm also grateful I am able to dialyze; in Cap'n's country, for example, no one over 40 or diabetic is subsidized by the government. Ouch. Subhanallah. It's a poor country so that means a great number of the population with kidney disease simply has to... die. So there are still so many things to be grateful for, to be happy about.

One of those is the fact that Alex, my "baby", called last night. I haven't heard much from my sons recently. I text and call them but masha'Allah they are busy young men. I try to be patient for them. So he calls to tell me he has a band concert. He's first chair masha'Allah, he plays the bass which is a large brass horn. He was so handsome and sat so straight. He shook the other players hands (since he had beat them out! lol). It was just wonderful to see him so competent and confident. Aaminah was ecstatic too!

Then Zack called and he needed a ride back to his dorm room. He doesn't normally keep his car on campus. So we got to have a ride and visit with him as well. Since I just recently got a washer and dryer (yay!) I'm hoping Zack will come here to do his laundry. The campus is about 5 minutes from my apartment so hoping we'll hear from him soon. Sisters, as your children grow up, they grow away. It's natural in many ways but difficult in all. Of course the fact that Alex doesn't live with me makes it harder. He is always welcome here but he is so busy with school, running, band, drama club (please not girls!!!!) that he just doesn't have a lot of time. I take what they have left over and I'm happy for it. :-)

I wasn't able to get a picture of him last night cause we were so far away up in the balcony where Little Miss wanted to sit. I'll try to get some new pics of them soon; my boys are so handsome masha'Allah! Actually here are some pics from their mission trip to Guatemala last year. I appreciate the work their church does. They do not go and tell starving people "Jesus saves!" they go out and get their hands dirty. My boys helped build walls and plant gardens. They did it in the spirit of their beliefs but without the heavy-handed conversion tactics I find so distasteful. Plus, the majority of Guatemalans are Christian anyway. So it was truly a labor of love. :-) Enjoy!

Zack (l) and Alex (r) bending re-bar. :-)

Zack then Alex on the far end. :-)

Breaking rocks into smaller rocks. This is so the craftsmen can build walls. :-) Alex is in the front.

Zack translating. He is very gifted in Spanish; it's actually his minor in college. His mad skillz were a god-send. :-)
Ma salaama ya'll!

April 16, 2012

Chip-in site started by a friend

Salaam ya'll. A very sweet sister from my previous masjid community started a donation site for me. Jazaki Allahu khair sister. I hesitated to list it on here but, if anyone feels they should give a bit, barak Allahu feek. If you do not feel so inspired, barak Allahu feek. :-) Is all good. Should you want to give, please see the "Chip-In" widget to the right.

Ma salaama...

2 silly girls :-)

Salaam ya'll! I'm currently watching 2 very cute n rambunctious little girls jumping all over my living room. My friend Angel's little girl, Jayanah, stopped by to play. I was there when she was first born subhanallah. It was an unbelievable experience. Her then:

I was in the delivery room when she was born subhanallah. I said the kalima in her ear. Yes, I now it's supposed to be the athan and the iqama but I did what I felt was right and I am not her father. :-)

The crazy girls now:

WHERE did Aaminah learn to pose like that? I mean, I said let's take a  pic and she drops her arm around Jayanah and cheeses it, masha'Allah! :-)
Cute yes? Yes. :-) Here are a few more pics for your viewing pleasure:

Our new obsession: the memory-foam filled "bean" bags. This is a pic of the huge one, has 2 queen size mattresses inside it.

I've had these decorative orbs for a couple of years but had them in an antique wooden bread bowl. Picked this glass bowl up at Goodwill intending to fill it with colored glass rocks, water, and an aquatic plant. I think these look good here though.

Photo bomb! Was trying to snap pic of my new mini-orchi and Aaminah kept timing her entrance right as the shutter snapped! It was so funny, I was laughing so hard I couldn't even reprimand her. :-)
As for my health alhamdulillah I've been put on dialysis only twice a week. I'm sooo happy! My kidney has enough residual function that I can only dialyze 2 days instead of 3. Bad news, my access isn't working so sometime this week I'll be back in the hospital but hopefully only for a day. We'll see insha'Allah.

As for my impending nuptials... sigh. Trying to get our fiance visa paperwork filed and hope they accept our reasons for NOT meeting face to face within 2 years of filing. I mean, the US will not grant him a visitor's visa and I cannot travel overseas now. Dialysis in Jamaica costs $300 per treatment. I just can't afford it alhamdulillah. I had just repaired my car (to the tune of $600) and now another thing is broken. The radiator/coolant system is messed up. No car. Sisters, when it rains it pours. I know Allah tests those He loves but sometimes it is hard. I am waiting on my disability determination; usually once you are on dialysis it's very simple to get approved. I need it desperately sisters so please make du'a for me.

Oh funny story masha'Allah. Aaminah and I were at the grocery store and I gave her a big kiss. She giggled then looked around and said, "Is it ok for us to kiss here?" LOL MashaAllah my modest lil muslimah. I assured her it was fine. :-)

So Aaminah tells me she looks like Cap'n. Masha'Allah. She does resemble him more as they both have brown skin tones, brown eyes and a slight tilt to them masha'Allah. I agreed that yes she looks like him and she says frequently that when he comes he will be her Daddy. Sisters, I hope most of you do not know the pain that comes from not having a father in your life. Aaminah is starting to feel different from her friends. I explained today how Allah gives us all a mother and a father but sometimes we get a gift, another person who just loves us so much that they CHOOSE to be in your life and they CHOOSE to love you.

She said, "Yes like (Cap'n). He wants to come here to me and my Abi wanted to go away." I never speak ill of Abu Aaminah but yes, that is exactly it. My daughter masha'Allah is so smart and understanding. I agreed with her that yes Cap'n loves her very much because his desire is to be with us, to be her Daddy, to take care of her. I didn't have to say anything about Abu A as, at the age of 3.5, she understands perfectly.

Well the girls need me, I better go. Just another quickie uninspired update. :) Ma salaama ya'll!

April 11, 2012

Just some randomness

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. As normal, when I'm bored and uninspired I just put up some random bits 'n pieces. :-) So enjoy a few photos and captions.

$3 bucks each for cupcakey-goodness. Yeah, it was worth it. From City Cupcakes in Knoxville, TN. Yum!

Super-cool 30 foot high sculpture in the new part of the hospital. It's very beautiful.

Little Miss on my Mamaw's front porch. I've spent many hours of my life here; it's so beautiful and peaceful.

Some of my favorite "ethnic" ingredients: basmati rice, masoor dal, tomato paste and red pepper paste. I can make countless meals from these staples!

Meet BOBB (big ole bean bag). He is made from shredded memory foam and is comfy!These are really pricey but I found it on craigslist for $40. A $200 savings. :-) It unzips to make a full-sized mattress. I also bought BOBB II which is MASSIVE and has 2 queen size mattresses in it. Subhanallaha. :-)

Natural cleaner. White vinegar and citrus (orange) peels. Cleans like a charm!

Another craigslist find. Paid $55 for this uber-sleek Ikea tv stand. Nice.

I was there today. :-) For my CT-guided biopsy.

From latest issue of Food Network Cooking magazine. Love it! This is Ginger Beer (non-alcoholic ya'll) chicken. A nod to my Caribbean Cap'n. :-) Insha'Allah I'll make this soon and update ya'll.

One of our local playgrounds. Very nice and Aaminah is quite the fan.

Larger pic. I snapped this for Cap'n as he said his cute little country ;-) doesn't have public play areas. :-( So sad, we have miles of greenways even in our little mid-sized city.
Alright, hope ya'll enjoy our little picture time. Tired and gonna rest. :-)

April 2, 2012

Just a li'l tag

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. A sweet young sis at the Creative Muslimah blog tagged me in a post. I'm waaaay too lazy to do it correctly (sorry sis!) but I wanted to answer her questions. :-) And anyone who wants to answer them also, go ahead. I'll even be a semi-good sport and add another question.
  1. What's your top productivity tip? Hahahahahahahaha. OK seriously, just do it. Don't blame for a 3 days then procrastinate for another 2. Just get up, and do one thing to start you on your path. Hey, that's how I got the dishwasher loaded today. It all started with a single spoon. lol
  2. How long have you been blogging? Since 2009 masha'allah. Wow, I've really stuck to it!
  3. Are you an avid reader or not so much? LOVE to read. Just recently received a Kindle as a gift and I'm kinda getting the hang of it too.
  4. What's the best thing your mother has ever said to you? Not so much said but I was raise to believe I was just as good as anybody and better than nobody. A wonderful lesson.
  5. Do you like to make things yourself? I do in fits and spurts. Right now, my creative juices are pretty dry but at other times I'll work on stuff. Oh well I've been doing some drawing with colored pens. Kinda graphic drawings (as in graphic, not fine arts, NOT nasty lol). Here I'll post some doodles.

Ahh this is my pretty little girl outside my Mamaw's house. :)

Add caption

This is my most recent that I did whilst sitting in the chair at dialysis. I don't like sleeping in front of strangers so I had ot pick up a portable hobby. lol

Started this last year for my sis. Just a montage of what her life is like. :)

  1. What's are the two things about Islaam that make you love it so much? I love the dignity that is inherent in our religion and I love the sisterhood I've experienced.
  2. Have you hugged a family member lately? Yep, Little Miss as a matter of fact. :-)
  3. Pullovers or cardigans? Hmmmm. Pullovers=comfy. :-)
  4. What's your favorite fruit? Apple.
  5. What's your best memory from 7th grade? Wow. Let me orient myself. Probably having my gifted class meet off-campus so we got to walk to it once a week. It was fun. :-)
  6. What's your favorite weather season? Spring!!!!!
OK so I answered the questions put to me and I'll add one. How many plants/flowers do you have in your home? Currently I have 4 potted plants, 2 vines, one green thing :), and an orchid. Planning on getting a couple of Boston ferns this week if I don't forget. :)

Ma salaama ya'll...

Sick mama

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I'm gonna tell ya'll a bit about being a sick mama. Eh, just one of those days.

Being ill takes on a new dimension at bath time. Previously, this was a joyous occasion, the culmination of a day hard-played and hard-lived, as evidenced by the sticky little hands and grubby face. Now it’s a time for planning, and conserving, and scheming. Should we bathe before we go out to play? She needs it but then afterwards it’s a sure bet and well, doing it twice in one day just isn’t doable now. It’s little things like this that make being a sick mama so hard.

Eating. Wow, that’s another one. She likes to eat masha’Allah. She has a healthy appetite for healthy food. I am very blessed and grateful for that but planning, shopping, cooking, cleaning… it’s all like a marathon for me. I can do one at a time but add another level and it all goes pear-shaped. So one day we do the shopping. I’ve only been twice I think since I was “released” J and it wears me out. Come home and well, the groceries must be put away, at least the perishables. The other things, the crackers and bottled goods, those can patiently wait their turn on the kitchen floor, beside the magnet that dropped off the fridge yesterday and the timid little dust bunny hiding under the cabinet’s edge.

Next day, if it’s not a treatment day, it’s all gold. Well, in my new world, within my newly defined capabilities that is. I can do some things. Today for example… oh watch out world, I’ve been unleashed! I made scrambled eggs and toasted a bagel for Little Miss. I vacuumed after instructing her in the fine art of small object removal from the carpet. I eventually made my way into the hallway and re-arranged the closet to better house our shoes.

Now, don’t let this fool you, it exhausted me. I would prefer to pretend, with all my super-human powers, that it was nothing, a lark if you will. But it wasn’t. It made me tired deep inside. I now understand the term “bone-tired”.  

What’s worse, in my estimation, is that now Aaminah understands it too. She knows all about my “treatment” (wow, that sounds like a euphemism for mental illness or an STD!) and what function our kidneys should play in keeping us healthy. I love that she is so smart and inquisitive masha’Allah but I hate the reasons for it. She knows I’m tired, she can’t hug me on my right side for fear of hurting my vascular access, we can’t play on dialysis days, she can’t she can’t she can’t…. it’s a litany that’s impossible to escape, at least for the time being.

Please do not take this as a great big complaint. Rather, it’s for me to step back, assess my situation, say wow, yeah, you’re doing pretty great if you brush your teeth today! Or alternatively, laugh at myself and say, “Get over it!”. Again, as I’ve said before, it’s my blog and I’ll whinge if I wanna.

Being a sick mama means confronting reality. It means accepting our own limitations but even more difficult, accepting them in light of our responsibilities to our children. I am very limited alhamdulillah in what I can do now. I can accept it (somewhat) for myself but when it comes to what Aaminah or my boys want or need, and I know I cannot fulfill it, wow, that’s infinitely harder. I have to drag myself to the toilet to make instinja for her. Her room is still not re-arranged from having gotten our belongings post-move as I was working 7 days a week and then went straight to being deathly ill. Kinda put a kink in my plans, ya know.

Anyway, being sick is hard and being a sick mama is much much harder. May Allah swt grant my children patience and put love and caring in their hearts for me and also please give them forgiveness to overlook my shortcomings and failings, amin.

Ma salaama ya’ll…

March 24, 2012

Quickie update

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. So I was readmitted to the hospital from Monday through Wednesday. Had my "day" surgery and was supposed to dialyze. Turns out was too late by Monday and they can only dialyze as an inpatient. So I had to stay til Tuesday. Tuesday came and I'm informed 2 treatments are the minimum before they will release. Grrrrr... I am so over being in the hospital. I have a LIFE ya'll. :-) Kinda need to get back to it.

Anyway, I was a compliant patient and I stayed. Aaminah was fine, with my friend Deanna again and everything was ok. My treatments went well and I'm not the "proud" owner of an ash split catheter. It's placed kinda under my collar bone. I cannot shower with it (yay :-( ) but I have to put up with the inconvenience for now. If I have to stay on dialysis I'll end up getting another permanent access but that's for another day.

So I'm home, starting treatments tomorrow. I'll be a Tues, Thurs, Sat girl. It takes about 5 hours from hook up to disconnect and "chill" time. :-) Insha'allah it will all work out. Of course I cannot travel to Cap'n for the foreseable future which is a bit hard to bear but we are trying to be patient and upbeat. Alhamdulillah.

OK so I need to get to bed. It's really late and I have to be up on time to get ready for treatment, take Aaminah to friend's, and well get there. I've never been to this location so I have to scope it out tomorrow also.

Alright gonna go set my alarm, talk to ya'll later. Ma salaama!

March 17, 2012


Vignettes from home: This is an antique rocker picked up from a flea market for $20. It had belonged to the person's grandmother and is from the 1930's. It's called a baby rocker because it doesn't have arms that you could hit your wee one's head on. :-) I love this. Notice how small it is; it reminds me of my tiny little Mamaw. Made to fit the someone about 5' tall. Perfect for me too! :-)

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. UofA is home!!!!! So happy alhamdulillah but exceedingly weak and tired. Masha'Allah I have sisters cooking for me for a couple of weeks, honestly I am just so blessed. I did get up this morning, make a very simple breakfast of which I was inordinately proud (mostly that I was able to stand up long enough!) and even washed out my plate after. I feel like a rock star! lol

Took all my meds, figured out my blood glucose monitor (daaang they are persnickety!) and just trying to adjust to being really ill again. Wow. It's hard. OK so for probably a month or so I was dragging my body around at about 20% kidney function but I was making it. Work, Aaminah, somewhat keeping up my home, I did it. Now, however, because of the severe immunu-suppression (to try and stop this rejection), the high doses of meds and even the treatment itself, I am wiped out. Typing now is an extreme effort subhanallah.

It's amazing the little things we take for granted. I laughingly told my best friend Sr. Lisa that I needed a table in the toilet to prop up against. Pathetic. :-) My kidney function is just 14% right now. That's just a few hairs above... well not being above ground anymore. So it's understandable my body cannot function. However, I don't really wanna accept it. It's hard to think I can't even rearrange my closet or organize Aaminah's room. I mean alhamdulillah I am home now, I have time to do those little (and big!) projects work forced me to put off but now, my body won't cooperate. Trying to stay unperturbed but dangit, I don't like it.

For a few weeks I won't be leaving my home. My immune system is too low, my resistance just isn't up. I also can't walk for more than a few yards without needing to sit :) so I guess that's all good. I have great friends and family who are helping me.

Aaminah?? I haven't seen her yet. :-(  She possibly has a cold and until she is better I can't be around my baby. My heart is aching and I am on the verge of tears (ok maybe a little past "the verge") because I just miss her so much. And she misses me. Insha'Allah it's allergies and if she isn't feverish I think I'll just have them bring her anyway. I am a little worried how to care for her now, until my strength returns, but masha'Allah she is almost 4 and very intelligent. She knows I am sick (miskeena!) and is a good girl so I am sure we can make it. Baths will be tough but again, it's all doable and it's nice to have a return to constant dua. I know Allah loves when we beseech Him and sometimes, when our life seems to be going so peachy, we forget. So there is a very good lesson (well many lessons!) in this that insha'Allah I am taking to heart.

Wow, my neighbors are loud. LOUD. Never realized it cause never home on weekends. LOL. Insha'Allah my mother is bringing a stereo and I can play nasheed, Qur'an and children's songs for Aaminah and not be bothered. Allahu rabbi! :-)

So my health. Right. I have to return to the hospital on Monday insha'Allah for a small surgery to implant a temporary catheter for dialysis. I have mixed feelings. I know my body needs it, desperately. My blood needs cleaned, toxins flushed out. My complexion is sooo sallow right now. Think grey-ish yellow. Eww. I know I will feel better but it's hard on your body at the same time. I am grateful I live in a country where my government will spend literally millions to keep me alive. Subhanallah. My transplant itself was $250,000. My dialysis treatments in the past were $2000 or so a month. I've been hospitalized more times than I can count. Medicines and treatments and hospital stays, oh my! :-)

So day surgery on Monday for a temporary cath. Temporary dialysis (i'A!!!) and there is still hope my kidney might pick up function again. I'm still very immuno-suppressed so giving my kidney a break from the relentless attack it's under. Sisters, this is all my fault. In January my kidney was ok. Doing fine. I started work and stopped taking care of myself. I missed doses of my medication, something I rarely did before. I wasn't drinking enough or eating well, I had gained more weight (worked hard but sat a lot doing it) and didn't do my routine labs in February because I was "busy". Alhamdulillah.

So my new goal is to take care of myself so I can take care of others. I have to be a priority again. Of course I am no longer working. Probably said that in another post. My doctors said it would be a couple of months before and if I could reconsider. Have to recover, see what's on the horizon for me treatment wise.

Cap'n? Didn't get his visa, not sure if I said. Alhamdulillah. There are some tests from Allah that are more difficult than others. Being sick AND being unable to be with him, that is a hard one. One or the other but both... subhanallah. Alhamdulillah we are Muslim and we accept the qadr of Allah but we all know it's difficult at times. We are going to go ahead and apply for a fiance visa even though we haven't met in person. They won't let him come here and I am too ill to travel so insha'Allah they grant an exception. Dua, please.

OK so that's my update. Now that I'm home ya'll will be hearing a lot more from me. It was all a time-issue. :-) Now I got loads of it. When my friend Sr. Deanna told Aaminah I wasn't going to work anymore, she actually did a little dance. Masha'Allah, how it feels to be loved like that! I have to figure out what to do with her when I have my treatments but that will work out also i'A.

Thanks for stopping by, please do not forget me and my family in your dua, and i'A see ya'll later. Ma salaama!

March 16, 2012

Now you see me...

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll.
I am not even pretending to be perky and uber-upbeat. I really pasted the smile on after I saw what grimace I was wearing in the first pic. :-) I was past exhausted. My body doesn't wanna move sometimes. Is so weird, like I'm underwater and have weights tied to my ever muscle fiber. Sometimes I'll lie there and I'l hear a text come through and I just look at my phone and think, despairingly, do I have to MOVE to get it? And by move I mean lift my arm.

It's crazy. I've done dialysis, both modes (hemo and peritoneal). I've had a transplant, I've now done plasmapheresis which means I've done just about every modality of treatment available to a patient. Subhanallah. The tiredness I feel it overwhelming. It's a combination of the treatments themselves and my low redblood cell count (anemia) which has been dramatically worsened in the past 12 days by my condition and treatment. The plasma exchange damages the cells in the removal and spinning process. I'm down to 24% of my blood being RBC; typically a woman should be 40%, give or take. I usually hover around 35% so this is a big, fast drop for me!

Think running really hard uphill and everything taking that amount of effort. Yeah, nice. Going to the bathroom, in my small little room here, is a monumental task. If I already used that term forgive me. :) By the time I've plopped back down on the bed I'm out of breath and my heart rate is about 140 bpm. Subhanallah. Typically my hr with low exertion is 75. So just trying to give ya'll an idea of the stress my body is undergoing right now.

The treatment consists of 2 parts. Day one you get a 10 hour infusion of human immunoglobulin via iv. That in itself is hard for me because one, I have crappy veins and it took 15 attempts to place my last iv in my hand. It eventually went south after 7 days alhamdulillah and it was another 10 attempts to place a new line. My poor arms are dark purple with bruises. The prednisone I've been on for so long makes your tissue fragile and that includes your vasculature. So bad veins by birth and circumstances, great! :-)

Anyway so a 10 hour infusion one day of human immunoglobulin. I get this dose of antibodies to annoy/irritate the antibodies that are currently attacking my kidney. Hey, don't hate, it's their job! They are our front line of defense against infections and normally we love those little suckers but when they get miswired and attack our own bodies (which is what my original disease, Iga-immunoglobulin A- Nephropathy does anyway) it's a baaaaad thing.

So now my antibodies are damaged insha'allah and a bit swollen which makes the next step of treatment, day 2, work. The damaged antibodies spin out with the plasma and is discarded. This is how they are attempting to stop my rejection insha'Allah! Today is my fifth and insha'Allah final of the 2-part process and I'm ready to be done.

The treatment itself is a bit unnerving but mostly because when there is a calcium deficiency in your body you feel weird. By deficiency I mean blood serum. Our bodies need calcium for more than just bones, it's an intergral component of proper muscle functioning. The plasma exchange pulls of some of that calcium and it's lost and must be replaced. For some reason, I very susceptible and almost immediately when on the machine I begin to get very numb-tingly lips and feet. They slow the rate, they up the calcium and it abates. 3 minutes later it's back. So basically it's a huge mental feat for me to not let myself get freaked out.

Oh and you also get sooo cold! They do re-warm the blood/fluids going back in but not the exact temp and the first shots are cold. So it lowers your body temp and you have some weird shaking; poor body is saying, warm me up!!!! I use 2 blankets alhamdulillah. I'm normally hot by nature. :-)

I make dua and thikr, I text, I talk to the nurse occasionally. It takes about 1.5 hours to do my exchange and because I know the importance of proper calcium levels and I know the warning signs it's low, I am constantly aware. Subhanallah how the mind works! So it's a constant battle to keep my level correct without over-compensating.

2 treatments ago I crashed. I normally do not have high blood pressure but as a side effect of the MASSIVE doses of steroids I've been on, I have developed it secondarily. For several days I kept a severe headache and my pressure would steadily climb to 200/98. Alhamdulillah. So they put me on a blood pressure medication and I also take a diuretic to help me pass more fluid and not be overloaded.

So I go to treatment. My damaged (and damaging!) antibodies (housed snugly in my plasma) are spun out from my whole blood; the bad plasma/antibody mixture is pulled out into a collection bag and bottles of pure albumin (human protein) and sodium bicarb solution are added back in, in supposedly even weights. However, that day somehow my balance was off and I had taken those 2 meds which also drop your pressure.

Sisters, if you've even had a hypotensive episode (esp on dialysis) you'll never forget it. You feel as if you cannot breath (because you physically do not have enough blood volume to transport oxygen). You begin to hyperventilate (your body's attempt to right the imbalance) and your heart rate soars. You get pale, sweaty and clammy. Often you cramp up and pass out. Pretty yeah?

That happened to me a few times when I was on dialysis so I am aware of the signs and symptoms. I get back to my room post treatment and ya'll, I cannot move. My pressures are uber-low and my heart feels like it's gonna burst outta my chest. I tell my nurse after about 30 minutes and she isn't impressed. (The one and only nurse I had, I might add, that I did not appreciate their standard of care.) So I'm lying there, cannot move, cannot speak almost, it's a chore to form the words and spare the breath. I tell her I am dry, hear my voice? (it's suddnely hoarse), see my heart rate and low bp, can I please have some fluids? It's common sometimes in dialysis to get a bolus of fluid at the end if you are too dry.

She reluctantly, and after about 30 min, hangs a small bag but alhamdulillah at a fast drip. By this point it's been 3 hours or so of extreme physical discomfort and yes, some fear. I cannot breath well, I feel weak and shaky, I know my chemistries are wrong. Ya'll, I know my body! So I ask for my labs to be drawn. She comes back, 45 min later, and said the docs said they think I'm fine. Hmm really. Cause my doctores know me, they know I'm not all Chicken Little and the sky is falling! So I lie there, 5 hours now, unable to move. I have to go to the restroom and cannot, sisters, for the life of me, ask for a bedpan.

Another nurse comes in (they all know I'm self-sufficient and a non-complainer) and I explain how I am feeling again and that I must use the restroom. I tell her I feel weak and shaky and my bp is low blah blah blah. She escorts me to the restroom with the instructions to pull the cord if I need help.

***Gets a bit graphic here, read at will***

I sit on the toilet, well fall is more appropriate. My head spinning and I cannot sit upright. I lean to the side against the wall, and my world starts to go black. I try to even my breathing, bend over, anything, but this relentless feeling of "oh my god I'm gonna do an Elvis and do something unsightly in the bathroom!" is overwhelming. I am about to vomit and void myself and I can do nothing. I know if I don't lie down I'm falling, passing out in the loo :-) and I grab the call cord as I go down to the floor.

Please understand I'm not over-dramatizing this. I know what's happening to me, my blood pressure has bottomed out and ya'll it's scary. You feel as if you cannot breath because you cannot get enough oxygen to sustain your consciousness. I'm on my hands and knees, sisters, in the TOILET, with my bare bottom in the air and I.don' I'm gasping for breath, bathed in sweat, and the intense shame I will feel later is just a thing of no consequence.

Oh how I've laughed since but not at the time! 4 nurses appear and masha'Allah they close the door. They are asking me, can you move, did you fall? And all I can think is, of course I can't move, I can't breathe! With supreme effort and the help of Allah swt I am able to get to the bed, at the point of passing out. I have oxygen placed on me, my blood pressure is almost too low to read, and I'm just past caring. Alhamdulillah getting laid down and the extra oxygen helps but I'm just out. My poor sister comes in at this time and I cannot even acknowledge her. She was so scared. :-(

So long story slightly short :-) they draw my labs. All my chemistries are off, I have to have iv potassium and magnesium and I don't remember what else. My calcium was low, my blood pressure almost nonexistant and I endured one of the scariest and most suprememly embarassing moments of my life. Subhanallah.

Fast forward to my treatment 2 days ago. I know my body and I AM my own advocate. I refused the bp meds as well as the diuretic. I drank loads and loads of fluids before I went and I requested extra potassium as well. I had the same tingling during treatment (much worse at beginning and end) but kept my composure and didn't let my mind tell me, heyyyy you gonna be ass in the air again sister, watch out! :-) I conquered my fear through the mercy of Allah swt and through using the brain He gave me. Alhamdulillah.

I was still supremely tired afterwards. My pressure again was low but not ridiculous. Like 98/59 for a bit, low for me but I was aware. I drank as soon as I got back in the room and I didn't get up for 4 hours even though my pressures were better. I knew I had refused the medications that would have put me over the limit and my body could compensate for the rest.

When my docs came in I told them I had refused the meds that morning. One looked concerned and asked why? I pointed out my pressures (low end of normal) and the fact that I was actually able to semi-recline and speak at the same time as proof. He listened and he respected my judgement. Masha'Allah. It feels very good to be listened to when you know you have a valid point. He agreed I had done the right thing and I knew I had and my body was telling me, Yay job well done!!!! :-)

My pressures have stayed low-normal since so I know I made the right choice. I will do the same today, refuse the meds, drink up, and make dua and ask Allah swt for patience and strength. I get to go home today sisters and I am so grateful! I will be tired and I'm very immuno-suppressed right now so for a couple of weeks, I'm homebound. Alhamdulillah. I don't have the strength to do anything anyway. But I know with the help of Allah swt, which comes in many forms, including remembering to tie our camels ;-), I will be ok insha'Allah. I have a long road of recovery, my future is still uncertain. Has the rejection fully stopped? Will I regain function? Will I need dialysis or more plasmapheresis or an even more strenuous treatment?

Only time will tell. By next week insha'Allah I should have a game plan. But for now, it's one day at a time, one treatment at at time, one smile, one book with Aaminah, one cuppa tea with friends.

And I'm more than ok with that. :-)  Ma salaama ya'll...

PS. I often re-read my post before putting it out there and please don't think I'm just whining. I think it's important for others to be aware of what can happen and to make informed decisions. To be part of their health care solution. I just hate that the whole post seems to be "poor me" and boo hoo hoo. Eh, you'll get over it. :D

PSS. And yeah, Cap'n and I have shared a hearty laugh over my "bottoms up" predicament. Subhanallah. What a mixture of hilarity and shame. :-)) I'm the hospital hijabi, no one enters my room, docs included, without knocking first. So for ME to be in such a compromised state... wellll let's just say I'm sure it added to the story. :-))

March 15, 2012

The kindness of "strangers"

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. No this isn't the long-awaited post on plasmapharesis. Yes, I know you're super-sad. :-) This is about sisterhood.

So pretty masha'Allah! :-) My flowers from Sr. Jana.

Some of us, as converts, have experienced the warm fuzzies of such relationships at least early on in our journey. Unforunately many have not and my heart has always ached for them. I've just been blessed by the community I first converted in and even later, in MA, when I felt I didn't fit in as well, didn't belong, I was still able to find some like-minded and lovely sisters.

Today is in praise of sisterhood so no more nay-saying. Many of you all know Sr. Jana from her blog Solo Muslimah. Just last night I was reading a post of hers about some sadness she has in her life. I felt kind of unprepared, unsure what to say. I read the comment from Candice and it was so beautifully put I didn't add anything. I felt for her (unfortunately been there, done that) but I didn't comment. OK commenting is not mandatory but we are also friends on fb and I think she is an absolutely courageous and strong woman and I should have said so last night after reading her post.

I didn't, road not taken. Khalas.

So this morning I'm sitting here, feeling a bit sorry for myself (yes I do sometimes, I just don't publicize it). I was hot and itchy and tired. My body aches, I'm exhausted, I'm getting sick of my own company and I wanna go HOME. Yeah that kinda whinge-fest. ;-)

One of the volunteers comes to the door with a delivery. For me. Flowers. 3 beautiful pink roses with greenery and a ribbon. Also a card. Hmmm wonder who it's from???

Sr. Jana. Wow. Soooo let's recap. Last night I read her post and don't feel well-enough, mentally or physically to comment but afterwards felt guilty. I should have. This morning, even though her post last night was about enduring pain, I wake up to find beautiful flowers from her, my SISTER, whom I've never met in this life.

It' so humbling ya'll. This is how we MAKE sisterhood. It's by our choices. We can choose to go out of our way, give a smile, a friendly look, a hug, salaams. Or we can choose to, even without meaning to do so, withhold that gift of love and understanding.

So we all need to be aware, next time we aren't feelin' the love at our masjid, that it can start with ourselves and work down. :)

Sorry if this post isn't quite coherent; I took about a 3 hour break somewhere around "It's so humbling ya'll". I had sat up for an hour or so, typed, and I was literally drained. I am not asking for sympathy, rather for your understanding. :)

OK so part two of my post deals with a sweet young sister I met in MA at the Worcester Islamic Center. She is one of the cutest, most bubbly girls you would ever meet, Palestinian/American, passionate, and full of energy. I was blessed to meet her last Ramadhan there and we became friends on fb. I was gonna be her weight-loss coach (as I had helped A lose 40 lbs masha'allah) but then my life intervened, I moved away but we still stayed friends.

Btw, she's dropped like 40 pounds and looks awesome! Ya'll know I'm not all about looks here on UofA but feeling good about yourself, being healthy, and taking the best care of the body Allah has given us, those are important. I'm just so proud of her for sticking to her goals. :-)

OK so long story short, she had contacted my sister after I was hospitalized. She, too, sent me flowers, her well-wishes and dua, and also a box of chocolates. Healthy girl she is, wanted to send an Edible Arrangement (fresh fruit yum!) but she had missed their daily delivery. :-) It's ok, I always had a sweet to offer my visitors. :-)

Anyway she contacted me sister immediately and said if I were to need a kidney, or funds, or anything, to please contact her and and she was going to start a fund-raising drive. Masha'Allah. I just can't tell you the love and yes SISTERHOOD I felt from her offer. Which, now that I've been told work is a no-no, I might have to accept the sadaqa which is hard. Why do we, as Muslims, sincerely love to give sadaqa and zakaat but don't like to take it? Pride, I guess. Alhamdulillah.

So I'm feeling warm and fuzzy now ya'll. Well, not done yet, nope not in a looooong shot. A super-sweet (yes I keep saying it, get over it!) young sister, who also happens to be from MA but whom once again, I've never met in real life (a fellow blogger) offered me a kidney. Yep, straight up from her own body. She is young, a senior in college, and is on her way masha'Allah to divinity school. So yes some of you might know who I am speaking of but as she sent a private message I didn't want to embarass her. She didn't offer this for any kind of compensation, or for praise from me or anyone else.

She did it fi sabilillah. For a sister, yes a SISTER, she has never met. Subhanallah. So my close friends and family or even people who knows me in real life (eek I hate that term cause I'm the same here and there!) I can get. They know me, see my character, I've babysat their kids, gave thems salaams in the masjid, whatever. But this young sister, so very bright masha'Allah and so full of promise for her future and insha'Allah the wonderful things she is capable of doing for our ummah, has offered a tremendous gift.

I am humbled. I keep saying it but only because it's true. It's been hard these past 2 weeks, I had a couple of scary days, one of the biggest worryies being about Aaminah and her future, but through it all, I've had support, love, prayers, kind thoughts, and yes, actions. Intentions well-placed AND followed through.

Sisters, I know we get rewarded for our firm intentions, our good and pure niyyat to do a thing for Allah. But when we follow through, oh the reward for ourselves and to others, it's priceless. I hope I don't need a new kidney, I pray I get strong enough again to provide for me and Aaminah, I desperately pray to be well enough very soon to leave the hospital. However, knowing I have so many sisters (and yes, my non-Muslims friends and family too) who love me and care for me like this, well it's indescribable.

So thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your kind words, your dua, your support. Thank you all for taking time to read my blog, it's surely helped with the cabin fever I've experienced here :) or the S.H.U. (secure housing unit) as Cap'n puts it.

May Allah swt bless you all and let us remember to always do good for HIS sake. Ma salaama ya'll.