A Deep Breath for Kate
Kate Karlek Fischer is your friend. If you’ve met her—in person or online—you’ve been added to her circle, and I can promise you that your life is better for it. She’s also my daughter’s cherished Gramma Kate, my father’s life-long love, my brother’s guiding force, and my beloved mom.
June 10, 2017
Seems like time for an update, right? Well, we’re still in a holding pattern, still waiting. There was a flurry of excitement over Memorial Day weekend. Earlier that week, while I was in rehab, I noticed that my oxygen was dropping down into the 70s (should be low 90s at least) while I was walking. It went back up where it should be when I switched to the “rebreather” mask, which has a small bag attached, and somehow recirculates the air, making it more accessible. But you have to use at least 10 liters of oxygen with it to be sure that you’re not re-breathing your own CO2. I assumed that the drop happened because my fibrosis was getting worse. I had known it would, but I still wasn’t prepared.
Sunday found me checking into Moses Cone Hospital in Greensboro via the Emergency Room, because the oxygen system we have at home wasn’t sufficient to meet my increased needs. One night, a couple tests, a new prescription and a duplicate concentrator set up at home, and I’m back in business.
Still waiting, still adapting. But I’m also complaining quite a bit. Wearing a plastic mask over your nose and mouth with a sandwich-sized plastic bag attached under your chin–and then all attached to the top of your head by a green elastic strap–is a hard look to pull off. I’m trying, but I need a little more work. I’m adding pictorial evidence to my gallery here strictly for your entertainment. Please laugh. It’s the only thing that makes me feel better.
And again, I thank you for prayers said, and ask for your continued prayers. I’ve no doubt we’ll get there. This is just a detour. Thank you for staying with me!
May 26, 2017
Waiting. It’s hard on your nerves. First we were waiting to hear if I was going to be a viable candidate for Duke’s Lung Transplant Program. A week of rigorous medical testing in January, and I received a letter telling me I had made the grade. Yay, Kate. It felt good to be accepted.
Next came the wait to actually be placed on UNOS’s list. That kept me busy for a while. I desperately wanted to be on that list, because until I was, my condition would worsen, but there could be no hope for relief. But first there were a lot of loose ends that we needed to tie together. More medical appointments to be made, caregiver classes to attend, fitness goals to be met and maintained and, perhaps most importantly, fundraising. We needed to raise at least $10,000 prior to listing. That goal was met fairly early in the process, thanks to you, my wonderful, generous friends. With your support and your prayers, I was finally listed. I felt like I had won the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy.
What next? More waiting. Now I am waiting for a phone call. There are still loose ends, but it has gotten to the point that if they called me now, this minute, and said “We think we have a lung for you,” I would drop everything and run, knowing the details would somehow work themselves out. I have a wonderful bag, but there’s nothing in it yet. I won’t need anything–just a ride to the hospital. And my caregivers. And prayers–lots of those!
Waiting is getting harder. Breathing is getting harder, and my oxygen needs are increasing. Doing everything is getting harder, including sleeping through the night. I constantly remind myself to trust God, to envision the positive outcome I desire, and to stay focused on that. I try, but sometimes I fail. That’s gotten harder, too.
I have no idea how long I will wait. I just know I have to do it. And I know that prayers are helping, so please continue to mention me in yours? Thank for you that, and for all that you have already done.
Photo Galleries (3)
June 1, 2017
Kate, I wish you the best of luck and hope this all goes well for you. I'm a friend of a Deb and Lew's and they are here visiting us and Deb has explained to me what you are going through. You will be in our prayers and somehow you will get through this as you have such a positive attitude and that's what it takes!
Karen and Bob Sierks
May 26, 2017
Dearest Kate - our wonderful former neighbor & friend for 33+ years (I think that is about right-we have been in this house for 30 years). Words are incommensurate to describe you, your special soft way of caring and that loving heart complete with a sweet laugh. Watching your family grow has been a pleasure, I recall when Megan was 6 or 7 & when Dominick was born... what a history we have. Rich & Greg always have a great time when they reconnect as well. OK - enough of the serious stuff... here's the real deal. You are brilliant light, truly a beautiful soul. We are hopin' & a-prayin' that call WILL arrive SOON! Sending positive energy & trust in God that the gateway will open ASAP! We love you & will keep checking on your progress.... this drama will end & your dream will be realized! Keep the faith!! We LOVE you & the fam, Dawn & Rich
Dawn & Rich Humphrey
May 23, 2017
Met Greg today at Kelly and Brads wedding shower. He old us about your struggles and needing a lung transplant. I had a heart transplant 15 years ago at DUKE. You are in good hands there. I wish you well and hope the "call" comes soon.
May 17, 2017
Ya know, well because I love you and for wine and shit!