I had my eight-year post-lung transplant check up on Friday. My official anniversary will be on June 28th. The doctors took a cat-scan of my lungs. The lungs look good as new. What a relief. I didn’t think it would be otherwise. But it’s a relief to know things are good.
My wife Julia came with me. She was with me when my lungs got sick and she was there for the transplant. I wouldn’t be here today without her. As we drove out of the hospital parking lot, I noticed a person walking down the street with a golden balloon on a string. The balloon was in the figure of an eight. I felt life was saying, “Alright, eight years! Congratulations! We’re glad you’re still here!”
Julia asked what treat I would like to celebrate. I said I didn’t know. I figured it would come to me. After we drove about fifteen minutes, I noticed a parking spot on the street, right next to Golden Gate Park and pulled in. It’s rare to find a parking spot by the park. I said I wanted my treat to be a walk with her in the park. We walked without a destination.
We came across the National AIDS Memorial Grove. I didn’t even know it existed until we found it. It’s a beautiful area of the park, with wonderful trees and rocks. It’s a beautiful and compassionate celebration of the lives of people who have passed away from AIDS, and healing and hope to the survivors. It made me feel grateful to be alive.
Julia suggested we close our eyes and travel back to eight years ago, a week before I got the transplant, and send waves of love and strength. It felt good to tell myself, “Hang in there, it’s going to be okay.”