Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Listed for 5 Months and a Big Lifestyle Change

This week will be five months since I've been listed for transplant. It seems like it's gone so fast but has taken so long all at the same time. A lot has happened in those five months and the added stress has definitely taken it's toll. My fatigue has increased substantially. My afterwork naps which used to be about a half hour have increased to an hour or even longer sometimes. My sleeping at night has been pretty good but I think the anti-anxiety medications help with that. When I wake up in the morning I am still pretty tired. I've also had a lot of trouble focusing at work because of everything going on.

So after talking to my doctors about my increased fatigue and anxiety, they've decided that it may be time for me to take some time for myself to get things in order before I go in for the transplant. I spoke with Lauren and we decided that this Friday would be my last day before  going out on disability. This allows me to finish up some things I have going on at work and not leave them high and dry, which would have been what happened if I continued to work until the call came. I'm a little bummed about having to go out but I realize that it's for the best. For seven years I've lived a seemingly normal life with this condition so for it to finally affect my way of living is a little hard to take hold of. But like everyone keeps telling me, I have to do what's best for me before anything else. I've already thought of little projects to do around the house to occupy my time so hopefully the boredom will be kept to a minimum. I've also got some things coming up to look forward to. On February 5th I'm going to see American Idiot on Broadway which should be a lot of fun.

Smiths Detection's Blood Drive with
The American Red Cross will be held on
March 9th at the Morristown Office.
Also, my job has finalized the details of the Blood Drive they are holding in my honor. It will be held on March 9th at our office in Morristown. Although my quota for blood has already been filled, the blood will be donated to the blood bank at The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. That means that all blood types can donate and help other patients who may need a transfusion. I plan on picking up more tags for my direct donation when I head down to Philly on February 8th so the second round on donating for me can begin shortly there after.

That's all I've got for now. As usual I will keep you posted on anything new that comes up. Oh, and now you can follow me on Facebook too! There is a link on the right. And if have any questions about
anything don't hesitate to ask. You can just shoot
me an email at

Talk you guys soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Seven Years

Wow, I can’t believe that it has been seven years today that I had my bypass surgery. That winter seemed just as cold and snowy as this one. This is usually just a day that passes and I never take another look at it until my Mom calls to remind me. I won’t be getting that call this year. To be honest, I haven’t getting much of any calls lately. The waiting is really starting to take a toll on me emotionally. But I’ll smile and muddle through it. Yesterday was my first Wednesday off of my shortened work weeks and I had such a great day. I went with my friend Sandy so she could donate blood for me. Her sister Jamie went the night before and my other friend Joe also went yesterday morning. Then we just went back to her house and hung out with her 22 month old daughter and 4-month-old twin boys. Doesn’t sound like it would be very relaxing but it was nice to be around such innocence. Seeing the babies smile really helped lift my spirits as did spending a day out of my house and being able to clear my ever-wandering mind.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what it’s going to be like when the actual call comes. I’m sure it will come in the middle of the night and the drive down to Philly will seem like forever. That should at least give me enough time to call everyone I need to. The waiting once we get down there will bring even more anxiety. Just my Dad and I. I think about him too. I have the easy party. A little shot of some happy drugs and then I wake up after what seems like a few minutes. My Dad is the one who has to sit and wait. Completely by himself for hours in a city that he is unfamiliar with. Things have changed so much since I made the decision not to fight my insurance company and just have the transplant in Philly.

With that being said, I seem to have everything in place on my end. Just missing the final part. The pièce de résistance if you will. I have all my paper work filled out to go on disability with work. I have my “pregnancy” bag fully packed and ready to go. I am ready. I need this to come soon. I need to be able to end this chapter of my life and start a new one. A chapter full of new opportunities and adventures. Only time will tell exactly what they are but I can’t wait to find out.

They say seven is a lucky number. Let’s hope luck is on my side…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New email and other good news!

Hey guys,

Since the news broke the other day that a new heart seems to be in my near future, I have decided to create an email account to handle all my heart related things. You can now contact me at if you have any questions about upcoming doctor appointments, fundraisers or if you just want to wish me luck! Also, the fundraising effort has amped up again at Smiths Detection with a Blood Drive with the American Red Cross. From what I hear, all the blood donated will be sent down to The Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. This lets all blood types to donate and allows others to benefit from the overwhelming generosity of my coworkers! I'll let all you Smiths employees know once a date has been decided on (I'm sure an office wide email will be coming out as well).

I'm also in the process of creating a Facebook "Fan Page" for everyone to become "like" and follow me there as well. I'm trying to get information out to as many people as possible so everyone stays in the loop. The page will also have pictures from fundraisers and information about how to make donations and anything else going on. We are also looking into starting a non-profit just to make it easier to hold fundraisers outside of the office. There seem to be a lot of moving parts right now but I'm confident everything will come together.

I also want to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has offered to donate their blood for me. Unfortunately, I was only given 4 tags for people to donate directly to me. Thanks Sandy, Jamie, Joe and Linda for donating this time around! I will let you all know if it looks like I may need more (I plan on picking up another 4 tags when I go back to Philly on February 8th for my next check-up). And another thank you to Ellyn for organizing the Blood Drive and picking me up for work in the morning and to Lauren for helping to plan yet another TBD fundraiser and for helping figure the non-profit stuff (along with everything else you've done!).

Lastly, don't forget about the upcoming "A Heart On For Bryan" show on February 10th! If you have any questions about it, you can email Talk to guys soon!


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Things are looking good!

I just got home from another check-up in Philly and the doctors said that although I may not feel it, I am doing as well as they could ask. My blood work is consistent, I don't have any swelling in my abdomen or feet and I am still considered to be pretty active. The only problem that has come up recently is a decrease in my appetite. I am conscious of when I should eat so luckily I haven't lost any weight. I was also told that last year they preformed 61 heart transplants which was a new record for them and they've already done four in 2011!

Calling All "O's"
I also know that people have asked if they could donate blood so it would be available when the time came for me to get my new heart. I looked into it and met with the Blood Donation Center at HUP and they said that a Direct Donation would be possible. I got the appropriate paperwork filled out and found out that I only four units of blood! You can donate at any Red Cross location and it well get sent down to the Hospital in Philly and stored for when I need it. The blood can only be stored for 35 days but the good news is that my doctors said people can donate for me NOW! That pretty much means that I will be getting my new heart very, VERY soon. How it works is any Type O blood can donate for me. It does not matter if you are O positive or 0 negative. They just take one unit of blood and it only takes about 15 minutes. If you want to donate please let me know and I can give you the information and the tags for you to use when you donate.

"A Heart On For Bryan"
My brother's coworker has decided to throw a benefit for me on February 10th to help raise money for my medical and travel expenses. If I'm not mistaken, they are also planning a second event since so many people have already showed an interest in this one. Here's the information:

"A Heart On for Bryan"
a Vaudeville/Burlesque Show

A benefit show for Bryan Indergrund.
Presented by the White Elephant Burlesque Society

February 10th, 2011 at Piano's Bar & Grill
36 Broad St.
Bloomfield, NJ 07003
Doors open at 7pm
Show starts at 8:30pm
Admission is $15

All tips and donations the Troupe collects will go to Bryan for medical and travel expenses. The Bar will donate 10% of sales for the evening as well. There will be Heart related crafts for sale and live music before the show! For more information or to donate your time or talents, please contact Regina Oldham-Licata at

That's all the news for now. Again, thanks to everyone who continues to support me through all of this. I don't know how to show how grateful I am for everything you do.