Mary Beth, Brad, Grace and Charlie came to visit!

It was super fun to have the Forester family visit today. Grace went down the big slide like a hundred times, she had this look of terror on her face, but she was really having fun. Charlie was happy go lucky all day while we shopped, hit the local hot spots: coffee, Mac's gyros, gelatto, park and coffee again. We all went to Michigan Tech together and it is always nice to catch up.



My parents and I went to Frankie's authentic Italian restaurant. After dinner they brought out this ice sculpture thing with a ladel and gave us Lemonchello shots...my parents know Frankie. The food was sooo good, I love big city food.
My brother Jeff and I went downtown to do some shopping. Typical Chi-town traffic jam at 90/94 and 290 interchange. Jeff lives downtown so we took side streets all the way up to North Ave, pretty slick driving.
Jeff and I shopping in the Lincoln Park area.
We also visited with my nieces Katie and Jenny. Back to Rochester today, but not for long...I should be heading home to Alaska soon.

Lake City, Redwing

My mom and I took a drive up the Mississippi River to Lake City and Redwing Minnesota.


River Trails

My mom and I headed out on another fast paced walk today. It is so great to be exercising everyday. The river trails go for 12 miles in either direction out from downtown. It is 65F today in Rochester and -55 below zero with the wind chill in Fairbanks! I am missing my Fairbanks friends of course, but not the weather. First time in short sleeves since September.

After our walk, I had to have another piece of this brandy soaked fig and apricot tart from the Italian shop...a latte and short journal writing session. Recovering can be rough sometimes :-)


Out for a long walk

I had the weekend off from the hospital and so I bought some new running shoes and did a nice long walk down by the river. I think the Nitrate Radicals are going to make a come back this year at the Equinox Marathon/Relay. I don't know if we can get the original team together, Martin has moved to DC, but we can work something out!
The original Nitrate Radical relay team, looking tough!


Gift of Life Transplant House

Trevor came down from Minneapolis today for a final visit. Ben and Trevor leave tomorrow to fly back to Fairbanks. We had a great lunch feast after our blood draws and meetings today. I have not had a day off yet from the hospital, but I think soon I will. My labs looks great, but they have to monitor closely now my rejection med levels. This is because my immune system is really suppressed with high dosages that need to be adjusted daily. This may take up to 8 weeks! I will be still be here for awhile before transferring the blood tests to Fairbanks where I still start out with at 3 days a week. This is a long time to stay away from home and work. This is made so much easier by staying at the Gift of Life Transplant House. There are also an entire group of positive cross match transplants here and we are all doing well. Mayo and Gift of Life give real hope to us "special" cases that no other hospital in the country will do transplants on.
Ben made these great salads today with goat cheese, pear and salmon!


hanging out at Mayo

The new kidney is just doing great. In addition to learning to eat everything and drink all the time, I apparently have to relearn to do a jumping picture. We tried a sad number of times and could not time it right. Trevor is coming back to tomorrow for a final visit before heading back to AK, everything has just gone amazing. It feels so great to feel good all the time again, can't wait to get back to Alaska and out in the back country. Trevor also did a really nice post on donating a kidney and the whole experience. I am already getting a little restless and plenty of time in between tests so if you ever really wanted to visit Rochester....
Ben's parents came to visit today and brought our niece Taylor with. Here is Ben getting on Taylor's good side by painting her nails, he is pretty good.
After watching Taylor swim and dinner we went out to get some gelato and chocolate. I also now have bangs!


Visiting Minneapolis

I had a break today at Mayo with only a blood test. So, Ben and I rented a car and drove 45min up to Minneapolis. I met up with Trevor for shopping, coffee and kidney talk. Ben met with his friend and big time photographer Alec Soth, he had a great day talking photography. Ben has been on the radar lately with the 50 states project and Flak photo. Soon we can all say we knew him way back when.....I am so glad he is becoming such a photog stud.
Later on Ben and I made it out to our first dinner since surgery. It was great to be out all day and recovering well. I have another routine biopsy Monday and a rejection study drug, but things are just going great!


My brothers Tim and Jeff visit

My brothers Jeff and Time came to visit. It was great to see them. We even left the hospital today for lunch and a little shopping. I still had the wheel chair, but we had some fun with that. Ben's parents, my parents, my Uncle Ken and Aunt Irene and Trevor's parents were all here too for the surgery...but I was not feeling as good as I am now.

This is a funny video of us watching the bulls game in my hospital room. OK maybe it is not that funny, but I posted it anyway. Those two are pretty into sports and it was good game. Thanks for coming guys!