Self-Care During Tough Times

Self-Care During Tough Times

Four weeks ago, I went to UCSF for my last test to be evaluated for a lung transplant. I had a left and right heart catheterization to test the pressure in my lungs and to see if I had any blockages in my heart. I was nervous about it, but decided to just buck up and get it over with. It felt good to know this was the last test I had to go through.

It was tough

I’ll be honest, it was harder than expected. The doctors send a teeny tiny camera through arteries in either your wrist or groin (artery at the top of your leg) to look around. They couldn’t go through my wrist because I have trouble getting blood flow to my fingertips – very rare. Instead, they went through my groin. It turned out to be a challenge because my arteries were hard to access because they sit on top of one another rather than side by side – very rare. I hate complications! They were eventually successful, and the actual procedure went fine.

They found a small blockage in one of my small arteries which was unexpected because I have no symptoms of a blockage. Evidently, I have an extra artery, only 20% of people have, that is susceptible to getting a blockage because of its location. Again, very rare.  The doctor said that normally they wouldn’t even fix it, but they did because of the possibility of a lung transplant in the future.

More complications

Putting the stent in went fine, for which I am grateful. I ended up spending the night in the hospital, and the doctors and nurses were great. I even had a nice roommate. My recovery has gone well overall. It took a week to get my strength back. Besides the above complications, I noticed that I need more oxygen when walking than I did before. I tire more quickly with any activity. I have to take a blood thinner called Brilanta for six months, to ensure that the stent stays open. Unfortunately, only 10% of patients experience a side effect of breathlessness, which isn’t great when you’re already using a lot of oxygen already. I hate complications!

I’m feeling mad and sad. It’s made simple things so much harder. I feel like I’ve had a downturn even though my lungs are still the same. I’m telling myself the truth that feeling worse is a side effect from the medication, but my experience is that I’ve worsened. It’s been discouraging.

I went back to UCSF two weeks ago and my doctor changed my medication, which has helped some, for which I’m grateful. Unfortunately, being on this medication will delay getting on the transplant list until March. Originally the plan was to get on the list in January. It’s only two extra months, so that’s not too bad.


After all this happened I decided to practice some self-care. I let myself have a good cry and watch some Hallmark mystery movies! It helped me to express my emotions, talk to my husband about them and then be kind to myself.

I’m also talking to myself with compassion about what happened,

“It is really had to have these complications. I went in thinking I would be in and out in a few hours, and ended up having heart surgery and spending a night in the hospital. Needing even more oxygen and tiring more easily is really hard. It’s made everyday life even harder. It’s also disappointing to know that getting on the list will be delayed because of the medication I have to take. I think I’ll let myself have a good cry and release the stress, sadness and anger that I’m feeling. God knew all this would happen and He has my back. I’m taking time to rest up, keep trusting God for my future and take time to do things that fill me back up.”

Writing this blog post helped me put into words what I’ve been through and released some pent-up emotions. I know it will help me feel better in the long run. I work hard to have a positive attitude and make the best of things, but still get discouraged at times.

I hope sharing this experience helps you in some way. I’m sure your challenges are quite different than mine and my heart goes out to you. I encourage you to practice self-care care no matter what you are going through.  We are tough and courageous. We’re also deeply affected by health challenges and hard times. We need encouragement and pampering too.

I’d love to hear from you

What jumped out at you from this column? How do you cope with the tough times you go through? What types of self-care do you practice to get through difficult times?

Please leave a comment below and share with those who could benefit via email or on social media.


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This post first appeared on my Pulmonary Fibrosis News Column

26 thoughts on “Self-Care During Tough Times

  1. What you wrote about allowing yourself to cry and feel sad caught my attention, that we need to allow ourselves time to grieve just as David did in the Psalms, but then come around to rejoicing and seeing how great our God is, and I saw that for you, I’m praising God for your openness to share with women, to allow ourselves to grieve, but to also look to God for the final results, and rejoicing in what will be His perfect plan for us. take care dear friend, you are greatly love

    1. Hi Valerie,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. I love how you saw the connection to David’s grieving in the Psalms. I’m so glad that sharing about my difficult experience was so helpful. Yay! I love it when God does this! Thanks so much 🙂

  2. Oh, sweet Kim, my heart aches reading about the various challenges that you faced with the last test. I praise God that all was taken care of and that you are now recovering your strength and endurance while practicing the self-care that you have shared with us. You are such an inspiration!
    Whenever I start to feel sorry for myself, I think of you, your many messages and your faithful example in the face of truly serious challenges and set-backs.
    Two months might not seem like a long time to many of us, but when waiting to get on that transplant list, it must seem like forever. God is in the timing and all the details, so I will pray for His care and provision for all that you need in the meantime.
    Prayers continue for you and Dave, as always.
    Love and hugs to both!

    1. Dear Ann,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. I appreciate your empathy and understanding, especially about how hard those extra two months are. I truly believe God is in the timing and details, and this gives me comfort. Your struggles are just as important by the way! Thanks for your prayers as always.

  3. Kim,

    I have been praying for you and even this morning said a prayer for you and then went on my computer and saw this blog. The Lord has been speaking to me about courage and your faith in the midst of challenges has helped me to take courage as well. Thank you for keeping us posted on what is happening and please know I am praying for you!

    1. Hi Kim
      Sorry to hear about all your Complications. My prayers go out to you. All of what you have talked about hits home ,as you know I am also waiting to get put on the list For transplant.I go back to UCSF Nov 1est,as a matter a fact I just got my appointment letter filled with more test to do on that day. Don’t know if the know this but even after all the test are finished they are not really finished 😟.
      I know they have to make sure everything is still ok with us so we can get listed. WHAT A ROLLERCOASTER HA?
      Thank you for sharing your story,I always look forward to reading about your Journey and our dear Lord will get us through it.

      1. Angela T,
        Thanks for your comment. I know you understand this unpredictable path. You are right, there are tests they have to repeat to monitor us. At least next time I’ll be more prepared, which will help. I hope your appointment in November goes well. Yes, God will get us through!

    2. Dear Angela,
      Thanks so much for your prayers! God is using them to sustain me. I’m grateful that God is using my journey to give you courage. That is so wonderful! God doesn’t let anything go to waste. Thanks so much for taking the time to encourage me 🙂

  4. Kim, I hate that breathing has been even harder for you, and that wait is delayed 2 months. May the time speed by, and may there be no further complications from the stent.
    You are one bold and courageous lady, cheering others in with the help you yourself have received: practising self-compassion.
    I can’t wait to hug you in heaven many years from now, for your teaching has been life-transforming.
    Prayers and love,

    1. Dear Mary,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment and encouragement. I so appreciate your prayers and love. I’m looking forward to getting that hug in heaven too! What a blessing to know that what God is doing in my life is blessing you too. Hugs to you 🙂

  5. Kim, Iam sorry that you had to go through all that. It really sounded hard. It is such an encouragement to hear how you went through it and processed it and was kind to yourself. What a great example. Thank you for always being willing to share your life to help others. This to a great example. I am so grateful to know you and be a part of your journey. Thank you for displaying faithfulness. Praying your Lung transplant comes soon! Bev

    1. Dear Bev,
      Thanks so much for your kind comment. I so appreciate your encouragement. Thanks for being a part of my journey. So glad God is using what is happening in my life to be an encouragement. He’s so good at that. Hugs, Kim

  6. Kim, I’m sorry you had to go through the procedure and then had complications! It is so discouraging when we are doing something for our bodies that brings us hope that what we are doing will help us and then something happens that makes things worse. I’m thankful that you were able to process your feelings and grieve the slowdown of your working towards the lung transplant. Thank you for sharing your struggle. God bless you and praying for you!

  7. What jumped out?
    Tears and Hallmark! Made me smile! That’s a combo I am well acquainted with!

    As I was reading, I felt mad and sad for you, Kim! I’m sorry the test was so much harder than expected. Too bad January became March. I bet it’s not easy to stay hopeful sometimes. Thank you for taking the time to share and teach us ways we might try to move beyond our grief and challenges.

  8. Dear Kim,
    I love that you allow yourself to validate how you feel. Not try to suppress or stuff your feelings.
    I think that helps us all not stay “stuck”. I am so proud of you, for being brave in spite
    of the risks and set backs. I am really proud.
    You get down, but you are determined to not let it swallow you up.
    I am personally very inspired and touched by your sweet strength in Him, and using
    your calamity and struggles to reach out to others.
    I perceive indeed how positive you try to be. You are doing a good job!
    Love and Care!

    1. Hi Linda,
      I’m so glad my post was a help to you. I so appreciate your encouraging words and am honored that my journey is a blessing to you. That touches me deeply. God is sustaining me, and your encouragement is a big help to keep me going.

  9. Dear Kim, Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I am so sorry that this final test was so difficult and that there were so many complications. I too love to watch hallmark movies as a way to be kind to myself when life is hard. May God continue to give you strength as you recover prior to being placed on the transplant list. I am blessed by your words as they are so encouraging. God is using you mightily. Praying that the medication that you are taking will bring some healing to your body.

    1. Dear Connie,
      Thanks so much for your lovely comment. Yay…another Hallmark movie lover! It is an honor to know that God is using my journey to encourage you. Your empathy and understanding is a comfort to me.

  10. You are so wonderful to share your experience. I dream of my book being made into a Hallmark movie and it reminds me that my fictional characters can be used to help someone’s heart heal. You are in my prayers .

    1. Dear Sheila,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope your book does get made into a Hallmark movie. It’s true we can relate so much to these characters! I admire your ability to create them! Thanks so much for your prayers…

  11. Hi Kim, May you be blessed everyday for sharing your journey and compassion. Like Jesus on his way to His crucifixion you’ve gotten back up when you fall. Thank you for sharing. I’m not a candidate for transplant because of the amount of Cancer in my family but I still feel Blessed. Thank you for all you do to help everyone.

    1. Dear Denise,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement. It means a lot to me from a fellow PF traveler. So sorry you aren’t a candidate for a transplant. I’m so glad you are at peace and feel blessed.

  12. Kim,
    Thank you for your writing and honesty. It is an encouragment. I am learning about this concept of self compassion from you. I will pray for you tonight.

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