Life Behind the Mask

It’s been 5 weeks since being discharged from being the hospital. I have 2 more weeks before the docs clear me from a critical stage for my immune system. Each day I’ve celebrated that I’m getting closer. Life behind the mask has been tough. It’s just easier to not go anywhere but I still have doctor appointments and a family. Life still goes on but it’s a whole other struggle within itself. I release much of my frustrations by “walking it out” on the treadmill. It looks like I had overdone it. I started to have a throbbing pain in my back. Different than the healing pain I already have dealt with. So I stopped my treadmill regimen and started to take it easy, to see if that’s what caused it. I did step out a couple of times this past week, went to my oldest son’s last track meet and even went to a bridal shower for some must needed “girl time”. Instead of putting the mask on I had to tell everyone no hugs and kisses for me. It’s such a weird thing for the island culture plus I love hugs and kisses. But I know my family understands and I enjoyed myself. I wanted everyone to see my face too, its been a long time. It’s so hard to be behind that mask at times. After all I’ve been through I’m very protective of my transplanted kidney and health in general.

From observing being in public with the mask its an automatic response for people to not come up to me, shake my hand or be by me (unless they know me and my situation). The mask is scary I guess for most people. In the hospital thank God it’s routinely worn and more socially accepted. The unfortunate thing is that the mask doesn’t prevent airborne viruses or infections. Unless you wear a respirator or other specially made face masks that can filter the sub-microscopic viruses to prevent you breathing them in, wearing any kind of surgical mask, or other face mask will not help you avoid breathing viruses that are in the air from coughs or sneezes. Viruses are small enough to pass right through the masks, or can enter around the sides of the mask. My doctors do like the fact that it helps prevent me from putting my own hands that possible touched contamination around a point of entry such as my nose or mouth. So it’s a controversy if how effective mask wearing really is. I figured if I properly wash my hands, avoid hugs and kisses, sanitize, sanitize and be cautious of not touching my face than I am doing my part in protecting myself. So lately I have let go of the mask but will still probably continue wearing it in large crowds and especially the hospital.

So my pain didn’t get any better over the weekend and decided it was time to email my ID doc. She called me right away and wanted me to come in for an MRI, x-ray and examination. So the day of appointments was scheduled and she didn’t want me to leave until she got preliminary results. As we waited around this is when it hit me, what if this is the infection again? I could already picture another surgery, having to go through another recovery process and what about that goal to go to the transplant games? As I’m talking to Daniel tears already surface and here that nasty “FEAR” sets in. I do all I can to not be fearful and pray about it. Keeping at the forefront all that I already went through. But it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t want another hospital stay and especially not another surgery. I want it over! I’m pretty good about not letting the fear get out of control. Yes I got to go through the motions. Even if that means to shut down a bit but I got to pick myself back up. I have such great support from my family and friends it’s just not worth me staying in that place for too long.

Thankfully, my ID doc and the radiologists didn’t see anything. I’m now am waiting to hear from my spine specialist to let me know what kind of exercise I can do. The vision of attending the transplant games is still very much there. I want to challenge my body to get in healthy shape. Which means all around discipline from the food I eat to an exercise regimen that my docs will allow.

The fundraiser has done so well in the first week. I won’t lie I felt worried when I had the new back pains. I have prayed for God to show me if I’m being crazy trying to aim to do this now. Maybe its just too soon? Nothing in my spirit is telling me to stop. If anything this is propelling me in the right direction. The first week of fundraising we raised $855 which is so amazing! This already covered our registration fees. Every donation I have celebrated with my family. My kids haven’t traveled out-of-state at least from what they could remember. I don’t know if Reno or Vegas even counts. The dream vacation would be some tropical island but we’ll take Grand Rapids, Michigan. Trust me any getaway is an adventure for us and something we haven’t experienced as a family. The opportunity for us to be with other transplant families will be great healing for us all. The campaign is still going. Any dollar amount will help us get closer. Thank you all for your help in this!

Now time to celebrate some milestones, yesterday was the first time I stepped into my youngest sons classroom for his open house since the beginning of the year. My hubby is with my oldest at his end of year trip so it’s just me and my little man. I was already asking my mom if she could go with him but he told me he really wanted me to go. The school has been another place for me to avoid. I feel it’s the one place I won’t have control of germs and what not. I had already prepared a staple food from his state project. I decided its time for me to face one of my greatest fears. Prayfully I went there with my scarf to cover my face. I talked to Quez’s teacher who has had a heck of a year himself with his health. That day he had a brain biopsy yet he was there at his open house. Talk about an inspiration. This man is committed to his class. I came in early so I had some time to talk to him. I didn’t plan on getting emotional but to hear his understanding was very comforting. I have been very hard on myself for not being able to be there like I was. I was reminded I can’t carry a burden that was out of my hands. It was clear that he struggled.

At one point as he was sharing the things he had done and he started to feel bad about some missing work he wasn’t able to present. I realized how much I was missing as well. It has been the biggest challenge from being that parent that knew everything that their child was doing to having things becoming a blur and pushing to do last-minute projects that popped out of no where.  I told him that I was proud of him no matter what. To focus on what he was able to do instead of what he couldn’t do. Just as things were out of my control it unfortunately was for him too. Than I go on to tell him that I was there to celebrate all he did and that’s it. After my youngest gave me the most heartfelt thank you for me being there actually several times he thanked me that night. It made me remember the greatest gifts of being a mother is those moments! In that moment I let go of perfection because it just doesn’t exist in the world of being a mom. Even though it’s what we aim for. All we can do is do our best! It’s exactly what I told my boy yesterday.

This reminds me that this weekend is also Mother’s day. I won’t just be celebrating the greatest gift of being a mom but I’ll be celebrating 12 years of marriage with my hubby! We have some friends taking us on an amazing dinner. I can’t wait! I already bought a dress and can’t wait to get all dressed up for my hubby. It’s time to keep living! Life behind the mask will continue but it won’t stop me!



13 thoughts on “Life Behind the Mask

  1. Hi Maribel…So touched by your story and thanks for the following 🙂


    1. Thank you for reading my story and following along the journey of life and writing~ Your blog is very inspiring~


  2. Hang in there Maribel, believe me, nothing is in vain, you’ll be greatly recompensed by your Heavenly Father in more ways than you can count! You’re never alone ~ you’re beautiful in every way that’s lastingly valuable. I’m sorry I can’t do more than be a true friend and good listener but, my prayers will be with you daily. Thank you for finding my blog ~I believe we can be good for each other! God be with you and yours. Your friend Deborah


    1. I was happy to find your blog. Making these special connections is awesome and giving me more inspiration to write and to fight! Stories such as yours. I know I’m not alone. This is a testimony to living with faith even when times are hard. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring but today is a great day! I will be praying as well as we keep purging life given words for healing~


  3. I had wanted to thank for visiting my site! After reading the above, my heart was taken and moved. I have MS which i battle with everyday, along with a host of other things, but our God will not ever give us more than we can bear. My heart breaks as i read of your plight but i am joyful that you will be healed! Here is a gift to make you smile,and encourage you! Your strength and courage, strenthens me! I ask my god to give all of my blessings to you and your family my sister!


    You have made my life
    to be full of Your
    daily blessings

    And it is wonderful
    to know that my life
    is in Your hands

    For my faith and
    trust are in the promise
    of Your words and
    I know that You will
    not leave me

    I thank You Lord for
    Your eternal love and
    everlasting kindness

    So I pray Oh Lord,
    never depart from my
    my side and always
    lead me daily in Your

    Wendell A. Brown

    P.S. thanks for blessing my poems each day!


    1. I’m blessed by what your spirit brings in words. Truly a gift. Sometimes pain creates the most beautiful expressions. That we share in common and the faith that keeps us thriving. I am comforted by your words and glad it’s on my reader daily. God bless you bro and thank you~


  4. Thanks for your constant visits and your blessings!


    1. Love the words you write. It has been great food for the spirit~ Nice to see you on FB! A face behind the words. 🙂


  5. Moving story Maribel.Seems yo had a great time with the young man at school.Thanks for sharing.


    1. Glad you’re finding your way to some of my older post. I have so many that was probably on nobody’s reader because I didn’t know how to connect with the blogging community until recently. I’m glad though I made a transition to have such a better writing experience.


      1. You are a great writer.Stay on!


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