July 3, 2018

Today is Kayano’s 15th birthday! Kayano is a patient at Stanford, who’s also my next door neighbor at Ronald McDonald. Kayano has kidney failure and he needs to be put on dialysis until he’s healthy enough to be put on the kidney transplant list. Kayano is having less and less energy, so he needs his kidney transplant soon.

We went to Redwood City Downtown to watch a movie. Kayano doesn’t eat food, but he still buys popcorn. He licks the popcorn. After we watched the movie, Kayano’s mom wanted to get birthday decorations at Safeway. As we drove along El Camino Real, Kayano’s mom told us she never knew that Stanford had so many attractions. She thought Stanford was in the middle of nowhere.

When we got back to the Ronald McDonald House we celebrated his birthday in the community dining room. Yesterday Kayano’s mom cooked brownies. We stuck 15 candles into the brownies and Kayano blew them out. Kayano’s mom also bought ice cream at Safeway, so she served the brownies with ice cream.

July 4, 2018

Today is the Fourth of July. Since I’m staying at the Ronald McDonald House, and not at my house in Pleasanton, we don’t really know what to do. I searched the internet, and I found that there’s a fireworks show at Seaport Boulevard in Redwood City.

Redwood City is nearby Palo Alto, the home of Stanford University. Seaport Boulevard is a boulevard that’s near the water, and there’s a private yacht dock along the boulevard.

My Mom drove me to Seaport Boulevard, but then she saw how wheelchair accessible the boulevard was, so she drove back to the Ronald McDonald House to get our grandma. Our grandma also needs special care, so she stays with us at the Ronald McDonald House.

We got takeout food in Downtown Palo Alto from Jing-Jing Szechwan & Hunan Gourmet. I first tasted Jing-Jing in the hospital after transplant. I didn’t have much of an appetite, but I wanted some noodles, so a nurse suggested Jing-Jing since they had great noodles. The hospital food was great, but after awhile it gets boring.

After we got takeout, we went to Seaport Boulevard with grandma. By the time we got there, the fireworks already started and all the cars were jammed. We decided to park outside, and watch the fireworks from the sidewalk. It was a great day.

July 6, 2018

I swam for the first time in seven years today!

I’ll start off with the swimming. I quit swimming when I was eight. I didn’t see the point in it since it only made me exhausted, and there were no results. I was swimming for 3 years, and I only managed to build up from 10 laps, 250 yards, to 12 laps, 300 yards. Swimming for me was exhausting. I wouldn’t even be halfway through a lap until my heart started pounding, my breathing would become desperate, my ears started ringing, and my vision would be blurry. That was my life.

It makes me sad that I couldn’t play sports like my classmates. If it wasn’t for my heart I would’ve advanced in swimming, maybe be on a team. Maybe I could’ve gotten a scholarship to college if it wasn’t for my heart. I could’ve played other sports too, like soccer or basketball.

After seven years of not swimming, I felt so much better in the water. The water soothed my joints and massaged my muscles. Immediately after transplant I was so sore that I couldn’t even stand.

I plan to start swimming as a sport. As I mentioned above, with my damaged heart I didn’t have the ability to play sports and therefore I was sad. After transplant I have a chance, and I’ll take it.

July 6, 2018

I also bought books, had a physical therapy appointment, and went to a bike shop.

Before my physical therapy appointment I bought books at Kepler’s Books in Menlo Park. Kepler’s Books is the bookstore I’ve mainly been going to when I’m staying at the Ronald McDonald House. I bought “The Empress” by S.J. Kincaid. I wanted to continue from the first book, “The Diabolic”, in her series because I liked how cunning the main & secondary character is and reading about the plot of toppling a powerful dictatorship. I also bought “The Testing” by Joelle Charbonneau because it combined The Hunger Games and the college application.

After buying books, I went to physical therapy. I talked to my physical therapist about how I was walking 20 minutes a day on the treadmill. I started walking 10 minutes, but then I gradually went to 20 minutes. I walk on 3.0 speed. I talked to her about running on the treadmill, and she told me if I was to run, I should do it on 4.0 speed. Moreover, I should be careful when running.

Last year I was sent to the hospital for leg cramps. My leg cramps were in my right and left calves, but they hurt devilishly awful. The doctors predicted that my blood thinning medication, Coumadin, interacted with my arrhythmia medication, Amiodarone, and caused swelling in my calves. Turns out amiodarone has a ton of side effects, so that sucks. After I was released from the hospital I was homeschooled for a month and a half before I could return. In site of not taking the medication anymore, my calves are still sensitive and will cramp after exercise.

My physical therapist asked how I was doing with my stretches. Before I left the hospital, they gave me a list of stretches to do everyday. I told her I was doing well with them, since I continue to follow their stretch everyday.

After my physical therapy appointment, I went swimming (see same post today). After swimming I went to a bike shop. My mom bought my bike from my house in Pleasanton to the Ronald McDonald House. I’ve outgrown that bike so we went to the bike shop to have it altered. At the bike shop they adjusted it, but my mom asked me if I wanted a new bike instead of my old bike. With a new bike I could bike faster and easier.

I told her no because I won’t be biking much in the Ronald McDonald House. I appreciate her offering though, a new bike is a lot of money! Since I want to focus on swimming and running, I don’t want to add the burden of biking. When I go home, I can start biking.

July 7, 2018

My dad and Julia came to visit me today. Every Saturday my dad visits me at the Ronald McDonald House, and today he brought Julia, my sister. We went to Redwood City to watch Ant Man & the Wasp. Before the movie I bought a salad. I hate salad, but it’s one of my daily requirements:

  • Exercise at least 10 minutes walking on the treadmill
  • Ride at least 1 hour on the gym bike
  • Walk 10,000 steps (tracked by my Fitbit)
  • Eat a salad or another vegetable dish
  • Drink a protein shake

After we watched Ant Man & the Wasp we decided to drive along Seaport Blvd. We went to Seaport Blvd in Redwood City for Fourth of July (see July 4, 2018). My mom and I didn’t get to explore the boulevard that day, but it seemed pretty cool.

Seaport Blvd is a boulevard along the bay. It loops around, and in the loop are tons of office buildings. They have tons of areas to sit and watch the sea, which is pretty cool. We drove to a nearby private yacht dock to admire the scenery.

When we got back to the Ronald McDonald House we went across the street for dinner at the Stanford Mall. We ate at True Food Kitchen, a restaurant claiming to have “honest” food. The wait was terribly long, and the service was awfully slow.

July 10, 2018

My Mom’s friends visited me at the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford today. They’re super nice. They’re also super intelligent. One is a physics professor that graduated from Cornell University and published many books. Another is an air pilot that critiques movies on Rotten Tomatoes, owns multiple vineyards, and her son is a graduate at Harvard doing community service in India.

July 10, 2018

Today I had my physical therapy appointment.

After transplant, I had to do physical therapy everyday in the hospital. My physical therapy included stretches and walking around the hospital unit three times a day. Exercise was a LOT harder immediately after transplant than before transplant, but I knew that the more exercise I did, the faster I would be out of the hospital. So I walked around the hospital unit three times a day, and then four times a day. Then I walked around the entire hospital and played in their garden. My theory was right because I got out of the hospital about two and a half weeks.

If you remember my daily requirements:

  • Exercise at least 10 minutes walking on the treadmill
  • Ride at least 1 hour on the gym bike
  • Walk 10,000 steps (tracked by my Fitbit)
  • Eat a salad or another vegetable dish
  • Drink a protein shake

Exercising on the treadmill and walking 10,000 steps is part of my physical therapy, but everyday I also stretch with some stretches the physical therapists give me. Sometimes I swim, but I’ll do more of that once I get out of the Ronald McDonald House.

July 11, 2018

Today my Mom and I decided to go swimming at the Palo Alto YMCA. Before transplant, I was too weak to even exercise. I tried to swim, but 10 laps was all I could handle in an hour. However, during transplant education they said I could be able to play sports once I had a new heart. Now that I have my heart transplant, I can finally swim.

We brought Orion (pseudonym), another patient at the Ronald McDonald House with us. They’re from Hawaii, and they’ve been at Stanford multiple times. Orion loves the feel of water because it loosens up his joints. Ever since his brain tumor, he’s gained weight that’s been putting pressure on his joints.

I tried swimming, but I didn’t have as much endurance as I hoped. Nonetheless, I feel that I can improve on my swimming. Also I’m only 2 months out of transplant, so I should still be in recovery.

I had a great time swimming with Orion today. The YMCA is much better than the Stanford University pool, which I used before. Since The YMCA is also an inside pool, I don’t need to worry about the sun and skin cancer.

July 13, 2018

There was a music festival today at Downtown Redwood City. My sister and dad also decided to visit me today. We went to the music festival, and it was really fun. There was a lot of people and sun, so I tried to sit in a shaded non crowded area. After transplant. I’m supposed to stay out of the sun since I’m more susceptible to skin cancer. I’m also supposed to stay out of crowded spaces in case of infection.

Downtown Redwood City is about a 5-10 minute drive from the Ronald McDonald House. I usually go to Downtown Redwood City because they have a movie theater. After the music festival we watched a movie called Skyscraper. Skyscraper had amazing graphic visuals that almost made up for the plot.

July 14, 2018

Today Nicole’s dad prepared a meal for her church family. Nicole is a girl that’s been in the hospital since May. She was born with a non functioning right artery, and ever since she’s had to replace it with a mechanical one. This was her fifth open heart surgery, but after complications, she’s still in the hospital. Hopefully she gets out soon (see September 20, 2018).

Nicole’s dad is a chef. He built his first restaurant at 18, and started his own restaurant chains. However, when Nicole got sick, she asked for her dad to be with her. He sold his restaurant chains and left Los Angeles just to stay with Nicole.

Every Saturday my Dad visits me at the Ronald McDonald House. He takes me out to have fun for the entire day. Downtown Palo Alto is a walkable distance from the Ronald McDonald House, and at Downtown Palo Alto is a Caltrain station. Today we took Caltrain to Sunnyvale.

We got to the Caltrain station an hour earlier than the next departure, so we decided to get drinks at a cafe in Downtown Palo Alto. Downtown Palo Alto has a lot of restaurants to enjoy, and their own Stanford theater (see July 20, 2018). There’s a famous restaurant, Ramen Nagi, at Downtown Palo Alto (see July 17, 2018). From the Ronald McDonald House to Downtown Palo Alto is wheelchair accessible.

We took the train to Sunnyvale. There’s steps to board the train if you decide to take it. Since I have to stay at the Ronald McDonald House for 3 months, I want to make the most out of my time. I loved watching the passing scenery.

Downtown Sunnyvale isn’t as big as Downtown Palo Alto. Notwithstanding it’s still very impressive. Across the Downtown Sunnyvale Caltrain station is an impressive plaza. Downtown Sunnyvale also has a street that’s called the Historic Murphy Avenue, and it’s extremely beautiful. It reminds me of Downtown Mountain View. You can also check out that place with Caltrain.

Going from Downtown Sunnyvale we took Caltrain back to Downtown Menlo Park. At Downtown Menlo Park I bought a book from Kepler’s Books. The book I bought was The Testing, a book about an intense college competition after the apocalypse. It’s similar to The Hunger Games; teenagers fight each other for a better life.

From Downtown Menlo Park we walked back to the Ronald McDonald House. I was so glad to be back because I walked a lot. I needed to rest for a while. Last year I was in the hospital for a week for calf pain. Ever since then I take Tylenol when my calf pain flares up. Today was a strenuous day, so I took tylenol. I ate my dinner at the Ronald McDonald House.