Thankfulness is not cliché

23 Nov
Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving 2017

Thanksgiving is almost over… Some of you are probably out shopping as I write this post. On this day of appreciation I can’t help but feel humbled by the many blessings I’ve been given. At the top of my list are Jody’s recycled lungs and the incredible gift of health they have given him. It might sound cliché, like one of those obligatory answers I should give when someone asks what I’m thankful for this season. The truth is, my life our lives would be very different if it weren’t for Jody’s gift of life and there’s nothing cliché about that in my heart.

When I started writing this post, I noticed that it’s been a year since I published my last one. One whole year!?! It used to really annoy me when I would follow a CF story through transplant and suddenly that person would drop off the face of the earth. I often wondered how they were doing and wished for updates from time to time. I told myself that if/when Jody got transplanted I would not do that to my faithful blog readers. Yet… here I sit, one year since my last post and I totally get it. Life is good again. It’s marvelous not to have things to write about. Sure, Jody has had minor issues here and there over the last year but nothing crucial that I felt warranted a post. While I haven’t written, we didn’t forget about you and are so very thankful for the support we received from you when we needed it most.

Jody’s new lungs have brought so much life back to our family. Jody is doing woodworking again (he’s so very talented) and he’s been busy with projects around the house. This past year Jody even started playing volleyball again. He and I met at a church playing pick-up volleyball each week. At that point in his life Jody’s CF was stable but his lung function hung around 50%. It wasn’t until years later when his lung function had fallen into the 20-30% range that Jody had to give up volleyball. It was hard to watch him give up the things he loved simply because he couldn’t breathe well enough to do them. Isn’t breathing a right afforded to everyone? When Jody started playing volleyball this year, lung function now over 100%, I remember him coming home that first night saying excitedly, “Tiff! I can’t believe this is what it is like for you to play volleyball!!!” I knew exactly what he meant. It was the first time he played a sport and could breathe like the rest of us. He couldn’t get over the fact that he wasn’t winded and didn’t have any major coughing spells, so typical of his old CF lungs. It gives me great joy to see him active again doing the things he loves.

As a whole our family is doing well. We have been in our new-to-us home for a year and a half now and are loving it, house projects and all. Our oldest daughter is nine and has a newfound passion for competitive swimming. We’re always on the go taxiing her between practices and swim meets but we love it! Prior to transplant this simply wouldn’t have been possible. Our youngest daughter turned seven this month. She’s as silly and independent as ever. She doesn’t remember much of our life before transplant, which seems crazy but she was young and I suppose it’s a good thing she doesn’t remember. Instead, she gets to reap the benefits of growing up with an active, present, “healthy” Dad. As for me, this past year I’ve taken on the challenge of focusing more on my health and doing what I can to live a healthier lifestyle and be a better role model for my girls. This has meant lots of exercise and discipline but the hard work is paying off.

Since this is Thanksgiving it seemed like the right time to reflect on the gratitude I feel inside and to share a brief update. Never far from my thoughts are Jody’s donor family and so many other’s I know who are missing loved ones today and every day. We have written Jody’s donor family (through the hospital) a couple of times but have not received any correspondence from them in return. Obviously we’d love to know more about his donor and family but we completely understand how painful communication might be for them. We patiently wait for a time when they might be ready to reach out… and if that day never comes, we’re okay with that too. Our desire is to support them however they need it as they grieve and heal.

I hope in addition to parade and football watching, cooking and baking, fun, fellowship and perhaps shopping, that you too, have taken some time to stop and reflect on all the things in your life for which you are (or should be) thankful. James 1:17 says, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (NIV). I am humbled by the perfect gifts I have been given, I hope you are too. Happy Thanksgiving!

9 Responses to “Thankfulness is not cliché”

  1. Sheryl Holland November 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

    We are so happy for you Snellbaker Family.
    I hope someday, the doners Family reaches out and you can know the doner and who they were. I know it is hard for them….. but I hope they would someday be open to it.

  2. Anne Marcarelli November 23, 2017 at 8:42 pm #

    I am so glad to read that all is well! Praise God for His blessings on you all!

  3. Paula Balliet November 23, 2017 at 9:01 pm #

    Thanks so much for the update.   I am so glad all is going well. Love your wonderful family picture.  God bless you all.   Paula from UT

  4. Lisa Weems November 24, 2017 at 8:20 am #

    We are so happy that everything is going well!! And your family picture is so beautiful!
    Lisa & Kevin

  5. Mary Anne Skiles November 24, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    Thank you so very much for sharing. God’s blessings to all of you! May your Christmas be filled with love, laughter and most of all family!

  6. Edith Leaman November 24, 2017 at 7:34 pm #

    Thanks for the update! What a blessing to hear how well Jody is doing. Blessings to all of you. May good health continue.

  7. Carole Pape November 24, 2017 at 9:38 pm #

    It was so good to hear your update. What a blessing your testimony is! I am overjoyed that everything is going so well.God is good. It brought tears to my eyes to think about Jody playing volleyball and doing woodworking, Things so many of us take for granted, just being able to breathe normally.! I pray health, happiness and all of Gods Blessings for your family and I praise and thank God along with you. Carole.

  8. Marilyn Titter November 25, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

    So glad to hear from you! You and Jody and the girls are never far from my thoughts. Please give them all a hug for me. I too am thankful that you have received this wonderful gift of life! Our family is still so thankful for Paul’s donor, and the 2 extra years we got to tell him how much we loved and cherished him. CF pts do so well after transplant, IPF pts are not always so lucky. May you enjoy every minute as the big holidays roll around. May the Lord shine his face upon you and give you peace. (and good health too)!

  9. Christine Stahl November 28, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Thanks for the post. Just last week I was thinking about you and wondering how life was going. It is great to hear that Jody is doing so well. And that all is great with your family. I printed out your post to share with the teachers.

    Blessing and have a Merry Christmas! Tell the girls that we all said “Hi!”

    Christine Stahl Parent and Preschool Center

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