Looking for answers to life's questions

My sister has never, ever been conventional or ordinary. Around 16 or 17 she left home for good without finishing school. They kicked her out. She was seen kissing another girl. Back in the early 70’s, that did not fit in anyone’s box of okay.

The end result was she left home because the reception to that was less kind than what the school handed down. She left with a friend and joined a traveling carnival. Who does that kind of thing? Really? Only my sister, who I love with all my heart. I was out of the country during that time so I was unaware of how her life was falling apart. Somehow, she keeps landing on her feet.

She has been living with friends the last few years. That  has allowed her to have a menagerie of dogs around to spoil. Only one is hers, the rest belong to her friends. All the dogs sleep with my sister and depend on her for their meals.

Feeding the dogs. Notice the only one with a leash is my sister’s green tether to the oxygen in the other room.

We were treated as well as the dogs this Thanksgiving. Suzy Q made the small turkey and potatoes, etc. We brought pies and rolls. She had to watch her intake to keep her weight in check. It turned out to be very important.

December 2, I received a text from my sister at 3:45 a.m. She had just received a call to go to San Francisco. The domino effect was in play. We waited and waited. Finally, the medical airbus was scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Then, there was more waiting. Finally, a text that she was in S.F. at the UCSF hospital. Then a lot more waiting. Surgery took the entire night and into the next morning. Twelve hours of waiting and praying. We also prayed for the donor of those precious lungs and the family.

Another new adventure on a medical airbus. Oxygen onboard

Now my sister has new lungs to take a fresh new breath of life. We wait to see if they get along with each other. There will be three months of healing before she can go back home. Her good friend, a retired nurse is with her for the duration.

Finally awake and looking good.

How do you repay someone who gives up three months of their life to help save your sister’s life? How do you let the donor’s family know how much the gift has meant?

Breathing on her own with gifted lungs

We have had some sleep deprived nights and filled in with a nap to keep functioning around here. There will be a new normal for this Christmas season. My sister received the gift of life and is now on a new adventure. I am certain she will make this adventure exciting as has been her entire existence. The staff apparently commented that she was the strongest lung transplant patient they have ever had.

Thank you for bearing with my being so distracted. The year 2020 had a lot that was hard to deal with but as far as I can see, there has been a great deal to be grateful for as well. Has it been a mixed bag for you also?

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

 

 

Comments on: "Suzy Q an Update" (103)

  1. She looks very well in the pictures for someone who was just out of a long surgery – there’s hope that she might recover well.
    It must have been hard to go her own way that young, though she seems to have made the best out of it and lived life on her own terms.
    I send you best wishes, may all go well ❤
    You all need a bit of rest and hopefully all will be good

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Marlene, how moving! My heart opens to your sister and all that she has gone through in her life. My heart goes to you and everyone who is a part of this amazing time of giving and new life. There is so much to be grateful for. Thank you for sharing. xoxo

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you for reading, Val. It’s been a challenging time knowing something had to give. I’ve had my focus there instead of here. I am deeply grateful to her dear friends and all the support team that got her a new chance at life. Thank you again.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. What an outstanding Christmas gift. It’s clear how special she is to you, it shines out of your writing. I wish her a complete and problem-free recovery, and years to enjoy deep, joyful breaths. I wish you peace and rest after this worrying time, and a joyful celebration of Christmas with your beloved SuzyQ.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thank you, Kate. I don’t know if your remember all my stories I wrote about her here. I basically was a surrogate mom to her from age 5. I love her like a mom. It’s the best Christmas gift ever for all of us. I need nothing else. It’s a long road ahead but she’s doing exceptionally well and the staff at the hospital are impressed with her strength. Now I can concentrate. on other things.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Hi Marlene, Boy, your sister sounds like a force to be reckoned with! Good on her for living life her way (though I’m sure it has been difficult for some around her) and for braving this not inconsiderable challenge. I wish you all well.

    Yes, 2020 has been a mixed bag here, too. I retired on April 1 (ha ha, its true) at the beginning of the covid madness but despite it all I LOVE being retired. Our children are struggling/adapting to life with mixed success but they’re all at home and we’re all healthy and safe. That’s as good as it gets this year. No complaints.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Yes Susanne, she is a force of nature and always has been since she could walk. I’ve written many stories about her under the Suzy Q title here.. She’s had a hard job to do in this lifetime and done it well.
      I have the same issues with the covid upsetting the apple cart. I like being at home and fortunately so does my daughter who works from home.. Other’s aren’t as well wired for this. We will get through this though. Retirement is a wonderful thing. I’ve never been busier. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so happy for your sister! And for the lungs. Prayers for the family who donated them.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Oh Marlene, what a nerve-wracking experience! Your sister is in my prayers and also in my thoughts. Thank you for letting us get to know her before telling us about her surgery. Your questions are very difficult. But I will be thinking about them for quite a while. Love to you and your sister and the rest of the family and those adorable dogs.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Thanks so much, Luanne. It’s why I have been so distracted and couldn’t focus here. She is doing remarkably well, all things considered. You did have quite the year too but I know there is some good in there somewhere. Thanks for prayers. They are much appreciated.

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  7. Sending healing vibes to your sister, the donor’s family, and your family. Big hugs. If anyone can pull this off your sister can! ❤

    Liked by 4 people

  8. Oh my goodness! I hope for steady healing for her!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Thank you for letting us know of your sister’s new lease on life. I hope you and she have many more years of sisterly companionship, love, and laughter.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. You know me, I love a happy ending, Marlene. Your heartfelt words are a tribute to the love you have for your sister. Knowing Suzy Q through your earlier writings, I’m not surprised to learn she came through this health challenge fighting. She looks great! I’ll certainly keep her in my prayers. Thank you for sharing this with us. xo

    Liked by 3 people

  11. What good news! Hears to a speedy, safe and easy recovery for your sis.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. What an ordeal to go through, but what a hopeful and amazing ordeal. I am sending all of you my love, healing prayers and admiration. Here’s to a healthy and improved 2021!

    Liked by 3 people

    • It has been an emotional ordeal more than anything for me. She had run out of time on her lungs and her blood type isn’t common so the odds weren’t in her favor. This was the best Christmas present ever. Thanks for the prayers. They are much appreciated. I’m sure it’s going to get better from here on. Thanks for stopping by, Cindy.

      Like

  13. Hi Marlene! Your sister sounds like my kind of people-a carnival? All right! Hey did she ever make it to Beacon Hill in Boston? I wish her all the luck and will send prayers along too.
    I hope you are doing well too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Lou! My sister would be your kind of people. She would love talking to you. The ended up in Fla before they called me for help. I’ve written a lot of stories about her here. All under Suzy Q. She’s always been quite the character. I’ve got to write the story of the carnival soon.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I hit the button too soon. Thanks for visiting. I’ll probably catch up soon now. I can almost breathe again. 🙂 Sort of.

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing, Marlene. What an incredibly beautiful way to wind up 2020. I pray your sister continues to gain strength and is able to get home soon. What a joy for your family …the gift so precious. A true miracle and a reminder to us that we can we can make a difference in the lives of others in a million different ways! What a wonderful inspiration and encouragement during a very difficult year and most appreciated during this Christmas season.

    Liked by 2 people

    • So glad to visit with you here, Jan. I’ve obviously been preoccupied for quite some time and now we have resolution. She is doing better than expected and the staff at the hospital are so optimistic. This is my Christmas gift and all I want. We are all so grateful to the donor and family. They have our prayers and gratitude. A great way to end a tough year.. I’ll write soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. what an incredibly beautiful gift, after your sister has endured so much. this is truly priceless.. here’s to your sister –

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Beth. I think she was here to do the hard work in bringing awareness and acceptance. Life has never been easy for her so I am extra grateful that she gets more time. That indomitable spirit must continue. I’m still trying to figure out how to put all the stories I wrote about here here into a book but I’m not tech savvy enough so far. We are full of gratitude here for the donor and the hospital staff. 12 hours of surgery is not what I’d want to be doing.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my goodness, your sister sounds absolutely amazing! I am so happy for her gift and I will start praying for her quick and complete healing……….thank you for sharing a small part of her story!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Wendi. She is amazing! I posted many of her stories as a child on my blog over the last few years. Really want to compile them into a book for her. She is doing better than expected and her team at the hospital is so impressed. Thank you for your prayers. They will be much appreciated. They do work. Have a great week, Wendi.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Just dropped by to see if you’d posted and then this! I am so happy for you and for your sister!! If anyone is going to come through this well, I’m sure it will be her; I loved all your stories about her when you were sharing them and I sure hope you get to the Carnival part one day . . .

    I’m sorry that life was so hard for her in her teens (and likely since then, too). People were not too open-minded and anyone different suffered for it. I think it’s better now, but we have a long way to go, still.

    I’ve been praying for you both and will continue to do so, also for her friend and the donor family. That’s a hard choice, too, so I’m glad they made it.

    Take care of yourself, will you? I hope when the three months is up (and when it’s safe to visit again), you all have a family gathering planned. What a treat that will be! Sending much love, my friend, and lots of virtual hugs, too.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you so much, Linne. I’m sure you understand why I’ve been so distracted lately. When they said she had 6-20 months left on her lungs, I started to spiral. I’m sure she did as well. She’s a much braver soul than I have ever been. Now we are really looking forward to spring. 😉 I will write the Carnival story soon. She and I will have a chat and try to fill in some blanks. We remember that time quite differently.

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  18. God Bless you all. What a touching story! What a blessing. What a precious gift. What JOY! Thank You for sharing. You are all (donor family too :o) in my prayers! (((HUG)))

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much for the visit, Eliz. Your prayers are greatly appreciated. It’s still a rough road ahead but it’s looking very good. It’s a situation so rare you almost don’t know how to feel. Have a wonderfilled week.

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  19. 2021 has to be a better year for all of us…

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Marlene! That is wonderful news, the best type of gift you and your family could receive. Blessings to you and those who have given so your sis could receive. 🙏🏻❤️🙏🏻

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you, Missy. I do appreciate your kind thoughts. Without the donor and their family, the gift of extended life for my sister would not be there. We are exceedingly grateful to them. This has been a family Christmas gift. She is doing amazingly well. Thanks for visiting with me here. Hugs.

      Liked by 2 people

  21. Hoping this is the start of a kinder chapter of life for her x

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Such a wonderful post and a generous gift from the donor family . The marvels of medical science. I hope your sister has a speedy recovery. She looked so well in the hospital bed, so I will cross my fingers that continues. We need more of these stories in this dreadful year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the kind words, Amanda. It’s been the toughest year in so many ways but there has been good in it. The generosity of the donor and their family gave the gift of extended life to my sister. We are all in deep gratitude. She is doing exceptionally well and her team of doctors and nurses are so impressed with how well she’s doing and how strong she is. You are right though, we do need to hear more of the good that is going on. That’s why I waited to tell this one. It could have gone very badly and I would have kept that more to myself. Everyone is celebrating the coming year. I’m going to celebrate again January 20th as well. 😉 I’ll by by to see you soon. Catching up now. Hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I’m so happy to hear about this, Marlene! All the best to your sister AND to you!

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Your fantastic sis. That was so well written. Plus I love you for raising me to be kind,adventurous and independent. You made me who I am.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You cam in with a good heart and an unstoppable soul. I just tried to nurture what was already there. Thanks for liking how I wrote this. Keep enlightening the world.

      Like

  25. Marlene, I’m only a new person at your blog and so I know very little of your life…but your sister certainly has been a free spirit even whilst she obviously had to have oxygen to get through her days and as some have said “she looks marvellous in the early days of her transplant” but also what you need to do is “take care of you” … Catherine (NZ)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Catherine for joining the conversation. I’ve written several stories about Suzy Q that give a bit of background. She’s quite the character. She was on the highest level of oxygen 24/7 before good fortune smiled on her. She is being well taken care of now by a highly competent team so I just get to relax now. My daughter lives with me to make sure I take care of myself too. It’s quite the foreign concept but I’m adjusting to it. 😉 Thank you for your kind words and thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  26. I remember your Suzy Q posts when you were both children. Yes, she certainly lands on her feet! I can’t imagine kicking my child out of the house… Thank goodness there was a donor, and an angel to take care of her for three months. Yes, how do you thank such people? I think paying it forward is the only thing (or best thing) to do. Bless you, Marlene, for you are one of the angels.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, sweet Jennie. Life has a way of taking care of things. She’s always been quite the character and has changed the minds of many about the gay community.. With a heart of gold she brings her own light to this crazy, fractured world. Obviously, her work is not done yet. Paying it forward is definitely the way to go. Thanks for that. You see why I’m behind now, right? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Beautiful, Marlene. With her spunky and strength and the strength of your support and love, she’ll be back home before you know it! I’m so happy for her and for you!

    Liked by 2 people

    • She is doing impressively well, TJ. A star patient in that hospital. Moving along at rapid speed in recovery. Her caregiver is hunting down a better place for them to stay. No masking going on at that hotel! I’m glad you were able to stop by here. Thanks for your encouragement.

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  28. Oh wow, that’s major! Looking good though. How fun to have all those doggo’s to hang out with too. My bro just got a puppy, named her Alice. Sooooo cute. I do have a friend that’s had a lung transplant, she has to be very careful and takes anti-rejection drugs forever. Hope
    Suzy has a good recover and can start to enjoy life again. xK

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kelly. She misses the dogs more than the people in her life. 😉 Yes, she will have to do the same as your friend forever taking pills. Not an option I was willing to take. Her recovery is incredible. She should be home again by spring. They keep her in the area for 3 months. I’m glad your brother found a sweet puppy. But Alice??? 🙂 Makes me laugh. Giant hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Fantastic news. Your sister has all the oomph in the world and will soon be getting into mischief again. The best Christmas present you could have asked for . And yes it has been a difficult time for me too.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Cathy. She’s already into mischief at the hospital. 😉 She will be in a B&B in a week where they will stay until she is allowed to come home. Probably in 2 1/2 months. We did get the best Christmas present ever and need nothing else. I sent down a little tree with her caregiver and some lights to bring them cheer. I’m sure hoping you have someone there to help you with what you are going through. Life is not always easy. I’ll keep you in my thoughts too.

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  30. Ursula Lee said:

    I am soooo happy she is doing so well been praying for her I hope her progress is amazingly well Thank you for posting pictures and I also pray for the donors family as well that was an amazing gift to give Please keep us posted Love Ursula

    Liked by 2 people

    • We are all very happy and profoundly grateful for so many things right now. The donor and the family was at the top of our gratitude list. It’s a mixed blessing in these cases. My sister will always carry that thought with her. She may even be released this weekend if they can find a clean, safe place to stay close to the hospital. She will be there for a couple of months while they monitor everything. I’ve written a lot of stories about her here under the Suzy Q titles. So good to hear from you and thank you for stopping by.

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  31. Marlene, my heartfelt thoughts and prayers to you and your sister. A lung transplant at any time is a huge trauma and undertaking, during this year nigh impossible I would have thought. She sounds like a most amazing person, a great individual with a unique and powerful spirit … one that is seeing her through all of this. Friends like hers are true angels and I feel for you too, Marlene, it is emotional and hard to worry for a loved one. Your close bonds shines through your post! Hugs xx ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much, Annika. She is one of a kind and always has been. I posted several stories about her here under the Suzy Q page. I’m surprised they proceeded with this during a pandemic as well but the hospital and transplant team seems to have everything in hand. The whole procedure is quite the ordeal and I’ve learned a lot from it. Thank you so much for stopping by.

      Liked by 1 person

  32. Oh Marlene! What a strong force your sister is. I love everything you write about her here. This may sound odd but is there anyway you can get me her address? I would love to send her a get well and heal well card. But I am definitely sending her huge loving healing vibes as well. UCSF is a great place for her! Oh, and who is taking care of the dogs? pam.wight@colettawight.net.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I finally got an address of the apartment they have rented for the next 2 months last night. I’ll send it to you. The dogs are all happy and sleeping with her housemates. My sister rents one bedroom from them. She moved into the apartment last night with her caregiver, another close friend. My sister has a good support system from living here in Portland for over 30 years. I’ll let her know she might get mail from someone she doesn’t recognize. 😉 My cards will be on their way by Monday. Thanks so much for your thoughtfulness and caring.

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  33. Whoah. You have been carrying so much, Marlene. I’m sorry you and your sister have been holding life-or-death worries as well as everything else going on in the world. You are so right about this year of mixed blessings. I will say that in this crazy world I have realized even more how important my friends are to me. At the same time I am so reluctant to visit anyone, but the amount I cherish you has become greater in my heart. Thank goodness the surgery went went and that she’s recovering so well. She strikes me as the kind of person with a will powerful enough to force her own body into accepting the new lung. I loved that comment about her being on a leash. What an adorable photo with her and the dogs. I did not know she was rejected when she was a teenager, and I am so proud of her of turning into a beautiful loving person and raising a loving child. Your family has some pretty great people in it. Love, love, love. I hope the honey arrived today.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I sent you a sad note about the honey last night. Hope you get a chance to read it today. My sister is ensconced in a lovely condo for the next couple of months while the team keeps an eye on her. Her nurse/friend/caregiver is with her and she seems to be doing well. Maybe finally getting rest after being released from the hospital. It’s been a very stressful year. Hoping for better the next one. She is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Send a note so I know how you are doing or call. Therapy tomorrow. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  34. What a stressful time, Marlene, but so worth it. Congrats to your sister on her new lungs and her new lease on life. No words will bring a donor back, but heartfelt gratefulness is much appreciated. People are helped to know that their loss mattered and made a difference. Wishing Susie Q many more years of love and joy. Merry Christ

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Oh, Marlene! This has been the best kind of news in a long time and I’m so happy for you and your sister!! I know from the stories you’ve shared here what a fighter she is, and that pic of her right after the surgery shows all of her incredible strength. I wish her a speedy recovery and some well deserved rest for you too – it must have been such a tough and difficult time for all of you. I think your sister can express her thanks to the donor’s family best by living mindful and loving. Knowing you I know she will do exactly that. Stay safe and well and have a wonderful and Merry Christmas! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for the visit, Sarah. It’s been emotionally exhausting these last few months knowing she was running out of time, I think that’s why I haven’t been able to concentrate on anything else. She is doing remarkably well and I will try to get an update soon. Maybe. 😉 I got your card and it’s safely up on the wall so I can see it every day. We did talk about her living a greater life now with a second chance, at length. She is fully aware of how fortunate she really is. Wishing you a Merry Christmas time that you are hopefully spending with your mother and a much happier new year. It has to get better soon. I’d love to be able to come visit you if travel is ever possible again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • So happy to hear your sister is doing well and look forward to that update of yours! And yay! Glad that the card made it!! 😀
        Spending the holidays with my mum and we’re having a quiet and lovely time together.
        Wishing you a beautiful, happy, creative and healthy New Year, dear friend! xoxo

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks so much, Sarah. I’m glad you had your mom to celebrate Christmas. Maybe New Year too. Ours will be as quiet as Christmas was. Will do our celebrating Jan 20th. 2 bottles of champagne on standby. 😉 Keep your fingers crossed. It’s not over yet.

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  36. Goodness! Little did I know that when I said I was going to pop over to your place, what I would find. So, you posted this 12/4 … in 3 wks, I do hope that she is doing well with those new lungs. One of my patients was a lung transplant and was amazed with how well she could breathe! I do hope that your sister is finding that same result (despite all the challenges of a lung transplant!) Sending healing thoughts to your sister, and love to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the visit, Laurie. Yikes, I have been thinking I need to post a little update. My sister was a great candidate for transplant. I, on the other hand was not but seem to be doing well anyway. She is setting recovery records and could be back home by early spring. My sister is tough in so many good ways. Have a Merry Christmas with your sweet new hubby. You two are so cute together.

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  37. What a perfect Christmas Gift Marlene… So happy, I saw this from my phone some time ago and was meaning to get back to it to comment when I next went on my computer… But you know how things are…. and events take over… So Today is the day… So much has been happening in between…. But so happy to see your sister in the next post coming out the other side of the opp looking so well..
    I also meant to say you could be twins… Loved the photos of you both…
    Sending continued love and well wishes to you both ❤ Hugs Sue ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks so much for stopping by. It’s a busy time of year for everyone. I think we are all just now coming up for air. Life just like that sometime. It’s been crazy here too. Very quiet with just 2 of us but we make it work. Sis is doing remarkably well. Best gift ever. There is no denying we are related. She tells people she is the pretty one, I got the brains. 😉 I’m definitely wearing my age these days. Oh, well. Love and hugs and a brighter New Year to you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Marlene you dear friend are remarkable. We are as old as we feel. Granted some days I feel ancient lol but I’m still 21 at heart 💖 😄 much love for 2021 💜❤️💚

        Liked by 2 people

  38. I just realized that first photo of your sis in her hospital bed makes her look like she’s wearing a football uniform. It’s hilarious. A sports warrior getting ready to win the game. :o)

    Liked by 2 people

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