Woohoo, I won! Donate Life America held a contest called the National Minority Donor Awareness Month Healthy Living Recipe Contest. Lalaine To from Donor Network West referred me to it. I decided, why not? Asian Americans consent to organ donation at a considerably low rate (considered to other ethnicities), and the main reason is a lack of representation. If I can help out any way, I’d gladly do it.
I submitted a picture, my story, and the Heart-Healthy Chow Mein recipe from my cookbook. I guess they liked my recipe and story enough to pick me. I’ll be featured in the 2021 Donate Life “A Year of Healthy Living” Calendar. It’s still under development, but I’m super excited to see it!
The calendars came and they’re so cool! I decided to take a few pictures even though I had my skin cream on (but then again when do I take good pictures). I’m excited to try out the other recipes, like the smoked tropical salsa or transplant friendly beef ceviche.
Caption: Growing up, I watched my grandma make chow mein in the kitchen. As an Asian American, food is an integral part of our culture; we communicate over food, bond over food and laugh over food. After my heart transplant, everything around me seemed so unhealthy. Foods were either covered with oil, saturated with salt or included MSG. My Heart Healthy Chow Mein tries to use as little soy sauce and oil as possible, while including more vegetables and protein. Even though it is not traditionally cooked, it still tastes just as good!
Guess who can legally vote now? Me! Why? Because I’m 18!
Legally being an adult is crazy. I feel as if I’m getting older but not wiser. However, in the eyes of the law I’m actually 18. Isn’t that crazy?
I think it’s about time that I stop using my age as an accomplishment. I’ve said before that I’m blank years old and have done X, Y Z, but now it’s just petty and irrelevant. I’m still proud of what I’ve done, but age shouldn’t really be a factor.
I’ll also have to stop going to Lucile Packard soon. I have Kaiser insurance, which ends my stay at Lucile Packard abruptly and transitions me to the adult program once I turn 18. The letter they sent me says I have until July, though.
Yesterday I had a mini freak out over turning 18, which did not help with my mom’s rambling about finances. I think that I’ll have time to freak out later, but my parents are still fine with me living in their house and not kicking me out, so that’s a plus.
Was turning 18 as exciting as I though it’d be? No. Am I really okay with getting older? Not really, but I don’t have much of a choice. Would I rather be under 18? No, because I have so much freedom now! Considering all the responsibilities being an adult carries, I feel (at least right now) it’s so much better than being a child. Numero uno makes their own decisions [terms and conditions apply].
I thought I had until July, but apparently not. My mom got a call and said that now, now is when the transition happens.
Now that I’m 18, I can’t be going to Lucile Packard anymore. My insurance is from Kaiser, and the only reason I had my heart transplant at Lucile Packard instead of at Kaiser was because they didn’t have a pediatric heart transplant program. It’s really abrupt; my doctors at Lucile Packard say that their patients usually stay with them a few years until they’re in their mid-20s and then transfer to the adult program. For Kaiser, they have their patients transition to the adult program right after they turn 18.
I did have a voice in this, though. I’ve told my parents to not switch insurances. They gave me an option to switch from Kaiser to another provider that would allow me to stay with Lucile Packard and I said no. I just feel that this is something I have to do if I want to become a full-functioning member of society. I can’t really stay a kid forever and in the same way, I can’t keep going to a children’s hospital until my mid-20s. My doctors also told me I’ve matured a lot more than other patients and am ready for the transition. I memorized my medications, I receive my medications, I take care of my health, and I understand the importance of my transplant.
All said, I feel scared. Like I’m becoming an adult now and I’m not ready. I think this is normal for teenagers to feel but I’m going to miss my time at Lucile Packard, as weird as that sounds. Even staying in the hospital and looking outside the window is a memory. I’ll miss my doctors, anesthesiologists, nurses, and caretakers that were so nice to me. I’ve been with these doctors my whole life. I feel as if I’m breaking off from my childhood even if it’s not that big of a deal.
I think this is more than just care providers, this is growing up. I’m in college and whether I transfer this year or the next is also something new. I’m still in shock so I don’t know. I’m pretty sure I have a chance to say goodbye to my doctors but I’m going to send them an email. As for my anesthesiologists, nurses, and other caretakers, thank you so much! I hope you have a wonderful time in the future!
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