Making It To Thirty-Eight & Welcoming 2018

Reblogged from:

This post has been a long time in the making and thought as we closed out 2017 there’s no better time than to finally share my birthday month which is really a good wrap up of what the year has brought me. I would’ve never have known how I would start my celebration of life month in cardiac arrest after what was supposed to be a simple heart procedure test. I won’t lie this took me some time to write because simply wasn’t easy to process fully yet write about. However I felt this was a post that I needed to share so I can just finally move on with my blogging endeavours. 

If you have followed me for a while at Maribel’s Kidney Story and newly following Warrior LifeStyle you may already be familiar with my fight. The fight for life has always been the theme on both blogs yet I separated the two hoping this blog will focus more on what I fight for and the lifestyle me and my family live creatively together. Though the battle never stopped it did get pretty steady enough where I wasn’t getting hospitalized or having any major relapses. However from the beginning of 2017 I can see how my health down spiraled and I just tried to continue to fight the way I always knew how and that was just to keep living.

It only got harder as I physically got weaker but the spirit within me just wanted to keep pushing through. Doesn’t mean the fight’s not there and why Maribel’s Kidney Story will always exist because it’s truly the nitty-gritty of my fight and where I’ve connected to so many who are in similar situations.

Every year I make a big deal about birthdays. Not just my own but for all my family even though they could care less for a party or to make a big deal about it especially my hubby. Who just celebrated yesterday and respected that he just wanted it low-key and to just be at home. I decided that this new blog was going to be mainly about celebrating the life we do have and continue to not focus on what we don’t have. However the struggle is real and it’s not always so easy when the health issues are unpredictable and you only have so much control. This year I started out with debilitating pain and the hospitalizations, testing, rest and recovery began.

The word I gave myself for 2017 was Rise and who would know how prophetic that word would be as I needed to rise up from every battle I would fight this year. Especially when I came that close to death. The thought it would’ve ended that quickly gave me this feeling of hopelessness. I just remembered waking up around all those people and finding out that I coded just brought me in tears and all I could think of was my family and how I couldn’t leave them yet. It was traumatic for us all and the emotions that flooded in just brought full awareness that everyday has been a gift that I can’t take for granted.

It’s been a while since I’ve given a #healthupdate. It hasn’t been a lot of progress but I’m starting to have more good days and that always is a good sign of some healing. Finally seen my cardiologist to get a new game plan going. It’s always a process to figure the next steps and right now is getting accurate diagnosis as the last time I did the testing there wasn’t as much of a concern but with new symptoms there is more immediate need to treat early before there is further damage. Now dealing with the heart is always scary so keep me in prayer for tomorrow’s procedure. For the doctor’s guidance and a clear diagnosis. ❤️ #maribelskidneystory #kidneywarrior #heartissues #lungissues #pulmonaryhypertention

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Just thinking back I’m thankful I asked for prayers and knew I was protected and though life almost slipped away from me just in the matter of minutes I’m happy that there wasn’t long-term effects and I was able to go home. I will have to keep fighting but I also have to stay obedient to my health and continue the balance between resting and staying active. Now that my heart and lungs are struggling more there is a learning curve in also balancing these new ailments. Though this recovery has seemed very slow going I know nothing is impossible after all I’ve gone through.



Yesterday I had a right heart cardiac catheterization / #angiogram procedure which is very low risk and something I’ve done last year with no problems. I’ve been having several test and procedures to get to the root of what is happening to me. Unfortunately during the procedure I stopped breathing and they had to start #CPR on me. Thankfully they were able to revive me. I don’t remember anything other than waking up with a lot of people around me and being wisked away to CT and to the I.C.U. All I could ask for in that moment was for my hubby. He heard code blue on the intercom and knew immediately it was my operating room. This was probably one of the scariest moments for us. I just thank you all for covering me with prayers. Though I knew it was a simple procedure I know how fast things can happen. I’m just grateful for such loving support and especially for my team, my guys, my family, who push me everyday and my daily reminders of what I continue to fight for. Thank you Lord for always putting the right people in my path and for that day the person who literally saved my life. I will continue to be grateful for each and everyday, for the life I have regardless of the challenges and for such an amazing army God has put around me. Despite me coding they were able to do the full test on my heart and it’s confirmed that I do have #pulmonaryhypertention and now they can treat me properly and will have a plan in place so that I can hopefully fully get off of continuous oxygen and stronger to get another #giftoflife. Until than I will just be grateful for the gift of waking everyday to this family of mine and the love of my life. I’m truly blessed and thankful! 💚 #maribelskidneystory


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It was of course more easier to share through my Instagram updates but thought it would be good to share in this post as well. I was so overwhelmed by all the support we received, from all the prayers, messages, visitors, and gifts. It always helps during difficult times and even as I struggled emotionally on what just happened I’m always happy when I’m invested in this way especially when it comes to quality time.

Thankful to experience a new #foodie experience with my #warriorsis @resa_aintgottimetobleed. If you don’t follow @maribelskidneystory let me catch you up on her story. She has been battling an aggressive cancer called #AML acute myeloid leukemia. Since she’s moved back to the Sacramento area we’ve reconnected and it’s been amazing new season of friendship and sisterhood even though half the time we’ve been sick or in the hospital. To have that understanding means so much and helpful as I continue in my fight for life. As she prepares for #bonemarrowtransplant at the end of this month her docs gave her the ok to live a little as the chances are 50%. Her bravery and willingness to do what it takes is an example of a true warrior. She has decided to check some things off her #bucketlist and has asked me and Daniel to be apart of some of things she’ll be doing. A San Francisco brunch was planned at one of her favorite places to go #ZazieSF & a childhood reminiscing tour for her hubby. Next she’ll be traveling to Washington to see his old stomping grounds. As I had my close calls especially the cardiac arrest I was all in. Trust me it wasn’t easy to carry 2 oxygen tanks, 2 wheelchairs, bag full of meds just between the both of us but we made it happen. I am behind on my writing and blogging but will share more soon on the bucket list adventures and more on this warrior Theresa. . #warriorlife_style . #maribelskidneystory . #SFeats #SanFrancisco

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As my friend Theresa prepared for a life saving bone marrow transplant from her brother and literally the day before I coded we had dinner together and was already talking about how we should try to check off some bucket list things together since we both have fought for life and she had her transplant date set for the beginning of the next month. So timing was right especially with how I just coded I felt why not go for it. Even though physically I’ve been struggling it helped to meet up and just have that time with her and her family. There was more we wanted to do which included a trip but my health definitely wasn’t up to par and unfortunately that day she and her husband was scheduled to leave she too had to put her health first. It’s never easy planning things but we did our best and shared some fun foodie experiences.


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I decided that I definitely wanted to celebrate my birthday with friends and family. Nothing like being able to do it in the comfort of my home too where I didn’t have to lug my medical equipment anywhere. As I celebrate this year I know things have changed significantly in my health. In the past I’ve been able to recover quickly and losing mobility and now having difficulty with walking on top of the chronic pain has made things even more challenging. Meaning I’m depending more for help and I’m just thankful for having my husband full-time care giving for me.

Our girl passed away peacefully this morning. We knew her time was coming near and prayed we can have one last holiday season with her. I just knew we needed to get a family pix of all of us together since in my heart I already knew and why I couldn’t leave her side. I had to tell her several times it was okay to go as I felt she was holding on for us but didn’t want her to suffer. I will miss my little shadow and all the sweet love she gave. She was also a daddy’s girl always a sucka for that love. Every night she waited to be called to sleep right in between us. This past week we did everything to keep her comfortable and we laid and rested a lot. I am thankful for helping and healing me through so much and being so in-tuned when it came to my illnesses. I will miss that most on top of her little bark and the sweet little sounds she would make to communicate with us. I will miss every little thing and I truly am leaving apart of my heart in San Francisco where we got to celebrate one last Christmas with my family. Rest In Peace my dear sweet #dogther #GiaButts I know granny will have a steak freshly cooked for you and Uncle James will have french fries ready for you in his pocket. 💚#maribelskidneystory

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As we ended 2017 we had to say goodbye to our dog Gia who I always called my “dogther” because we were the only girls and she just gave me that girly love that I needed in my household. This was very sudden as her health has been pretty good in the past. When I started slowing down this year I started to notice how much Gia was having some symptoms. To find out she had leaky heart valves and already enlarged heart that she couldn’t repair which is very similar to what’s going on with my heart. Makes me see how in tune our fur babies can be to us and my girl definitely was. To have to say goodbye to her made coming into the new year bitter-sweet.

However, I did make a promise as I can promise all those who have had to leave us that we will carry on. It’s exactly what I would want. I can’t ignore the realities of my health. I know how vulnerable my health is and all I can is do what I have always done. Always learning and growing and walking in faith. Even though things may be difficult now I know there’s always a tomorrow. With every new day is a new promise and every new year is a new chapter…

So yay to making it to thirty-eight and let’s see what 2018 will bring!


Celebrating Love & Life
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simple Ula

I want to be rich. Rich in love, rich in health, rich in laughter, rich in adventure and rich in knowledge. You?

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