And trust me, we are all characters.
MEET HOLLY BERNABE
Who: I’m a forty-two year old renaissance woman with interests in everything–martial arts, movies, science, mechanics, the arts, board/card games, outdoor activities, history, balloons, puns, tools (grunt grunt a la Tim Allen), blogging, writing in general, drawing, using my hands, filmmaking, and plotting to rule the world. This year, I’ve gone back to long haul trucking after a six year hiatus.
What: I blog about about my life. Right now, my life involves walking. Lots and lots of walking. I wanted to walk across America in 2012, but unfortunately that did not happen. However, I did manage to walk over 1070 miles! Not too shabby, I think. And in the process, I lost approximately 60 pounds. But I still have walking across America on my bucket list, and I’m going to continue to walk a lot to keep myself ready, in case I ever do get that opportunity.
When and Where: All over America. I’ll be traveling all over the country in my truck, but mostly in the states west of the Mississippi. I’ll be walking and writing whereever I go, whenever I can.
Why: I’m a nut job. No, just kidding. Well, maybe I am a little. But really, it’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last fifteen years. I made an attempt in 2009 and I had my family tag along in a support vehicle, but I didn’t manage to finish for several reasons.
Being able to scratch that “I wanna walk America” itch in 2009 felt good , but the itch is still there. It won’t go away until I do it.
The Why answer has changed focus a bit as time has passed and I’ve been training and discovering new things about myself and my relationship with my husband. He suffers from diabetic-related kidney failure and is forced to be tethered to a dialysis machine days a week in order to survive. I’ve decided that I really want to help get the word out about kidney disease and the importance of donating kidneys to people who need them. Please consider donating money to the National Kidney Foundation, the National Kidney Registry, or any number of other deserving kidney-health related non-profits. And please consider donating a kidney. Donations of kidneys by altruistic non-related donors have been known to start kidney chains that can save dozens of lives at a time. See my post on the topic here.
When I’m done with the walk, I plan on having some kick-ass memories to go with tons of footage and interviews that I intend to edit together into a documentary.
YEAH! Can’t wait!
MEET MICAH BERNABE
Who: Micah is the dude, the husband, the father. He is my co-conspirator in my plot to take over the world. He likes westerns, John Wayne, games, and reading books (Tom Clancy and Bernard Cornwell are favorites). He likes strong women. Perhaps most important of all, Micah is my best friend.
What: End Stage Renal Disease (his is diabetes related kidney disease) struck my husband in 2010. He went on dialysis in February that year and has been on it ever since. He’s been in and out of the hospital more times than I care to remember. It seriously sucks ass. We are hoping he gets approved for a transplant soon. The screening seems to be a lengthy process, and we hope to get good news asap.
When and Where: Where Micah will be during my adventures I blog about here all depends on whether Micah qualifies for a transplant and when that transplant occurs. Until transplant is possible, Micah will be here in Portland, and will continue to be my best and favorite-ist (yes, I made that word up, but it fits!) cheerleader in the world. And I try really hard to cheer him on, too.
Why: Who knows? Why was Micah unfortunate enough to get diabetes? Why does he have to suffer with ESRD? Why do bad things happen to good people? Whether we believe God or fate or luck had anything to do with it doesn’t much matter in the end. The fact of the matter is we are dealing with the ramifications of my husband’s disease every day in our lives. He has it. We can’t change that, not even with a transplant. A transplant will just mean a new set of health issues to deal with (although his quality of life should increase immeasurably).
So how we handle our lives while living with this disease is what matters. Micah and I are of like mind on this. We may not be able to heal Micah’s kidneys, but we can certainly help heal our hearts by helping others.
MEET WILLOW AND DAVID BERNABE
Who: David is my camera-shy hearing impaired nineteen year old son. He loves video games, facebook, and other social network-ey type stuff. He is good at composing music, too! At the moment, he is discovering himself at Job Corps and turning into a lovely, helpful young man. It is so strange for me to think that I have an adult son. I’m not old enough! Gah! Lately, he’s been thinking about going to college to get a degree in filmmaking! (Squee! He likes doing what I like to do!)
Willow is my cool ten year old daughter who keeps us sane while driving us to insanity. She’s good at that! Willow loves going for hikes with me, enjoys playing games with her family, and is a voracious reader. Willow is a total social butterfly who can get adults and children alike quickly eating out of her hand. Where she got the gregarious genes is anybody’s guess.
What, When, & Why: Our kids get to tag along on this crazy disease-addled ride for free! This is a ride that I wouldn’t want to wish on any kid, but it is the luck of the draw that Willow got born by a daddy who ended up with kidney disease. And David, who is Micah’s step-son, can’t help it that I married Micah when David was five years old. But I do think it is sad that when their dad goes to the hospital, they just shrug and ask “how long this time?” as if the hospital is a state of normal.
David is trying to make his way in life. He’s in Job Corps right now doing his best to create a new beginning for himself and I’m so proud of him for that. Willow, on the other hand, lives at home and sees the worst of it. I worry for her. But despite hardships at home, Willow is a pretty well-adjusted, funny, bright young girl who tries very hard to do well in school and make lots of friends. I took her with us during our last major walk attempt in 2009 and I would love to take her again, but would prefer to have car support if I did. Otherwise, she will stay with her Daddy while I attempt my walk. But like I said, whether I get to go on this walk in the first place depends a lot on my husband’s health.