DECEMBER 25 –Update from the Grinch

caitlin o'hara, little matches

ruby slips

When you are waiting for transplant, you wear a lot of lounge wear. I wear slippers every day, and after two years on the list, my feet are softer and smoother than ever.  My wardrobe is an alternating cycle of lounge-pieces, some raggedy, some for when ‘people’ are visiting. I’ve been wearing the same pair of worn-out, beige L.L. Bean slippers for years.  A couple of months ago, I bought the red version.  I’d been wanting a pair for a few years now, but they sell out around Christmas.  So in October — because right now I have the foresight for these kinds of things — I thought, “Oh, I will buy these now, and these will be my after-transplant slippers, when I am in the hospital.”

When the new ones arrived, I wanted to wear them …  but I left them in the box and put them in the corner of my room.

The next part of this little Christmas post is about astrology.  It’s hard to say “I believe” in astrology.  I don’t know what I believe in, fully, when it comes to religion or spirituality.  I believe in myself, and in the love of my family and friends, and in the idea that being kind and true feels like the most important thing in life. But I like astrology, it’s fun.  I have been learning about it since I was a tween — and after 20 years of it, you notice patterns that are hard to dismiss as coincidence.  So I pay attention to it; I’ve had my chart read.  I notice what happens, and what doesn’t.  For example, Jupiter was in Leo, my sign, for a good part of my waiting time.  Jupiter is the “giver of gifts and luck.”  I thought for sure this meant my transplant would happen. Jupiter was in Leo for an entire year — there was plenty of time.  But Jupiter came and went.  It’s not like I was counting on a planet, roughly 400 million miles away, to give my tiny speck of a body a break, but how can you not think of that, once you’ve heard that kind of thing?  I did get a lucky break though.  In May 2014, after being listed for one year, we found out I had been unknowingly growing something new in my lungs.  Had I been transplanted before we found it and treated it, it would have put my new lungs at a much greater risk.  You can’t always get what you want, but….as the song goes.

Today, December 25, all the planets in our solar system “go direct.”  This means they are all moving toward us, instead of away from us (when they would be retrograde). This is sort of rare – and usually happens about once a year. It’s a time of opportunity; supposedly the channels are all open, ready to facilitate whatever comes down the line — everything is unstuck.  Oddly this never happened in 2014 — it was an off year.  In fact, they haven’t all been direct like they are now since January – February 2013 – a full two years ago.

I’ve been a grinch all week, but it lifted today, as I knew it would eventually.   I am always comforted by knowing the tide will change, even if the tide is just the ebb and flow of your own mood.  Maybe it is the stars doing it, maybe it’s the idea of the stars. Maybe it comes from inside you the whole time.  However you get there, it’s like a relief, and if you hang on long enough you’ll get a little glimpse of clarity, and you move forward an inch, or a millimeter, or a mile.  Suddenly I felt silly for keeping those slippers in a box. It seemed ridiculous.  They were RUBY SLIPPERS for goodness sake, and I hadn’t even realized it.  I gave them to myself for Christmas, this morning. I can always buy new ones after transplant…but hopefully I’ll be buying sneakers instead.  You have to believe in magic sometimes.  There’s no place like home.


Merry Christmas to everyone, whatever kind of year you are having.  I hope it’s good, and if it’s tough, believe in yourself to get through it.  And for my dear little buddy Jess, who is facing her own breast cancer diagnosis this Christmas – I hope all the people who have been so kind to me, and read this, can send some of your goodness her way.  She is a light of a person, a funny little sparky bright light in my life.  I know she will get through it, but we all need help.  Here’s to 2016 for both of us, for everyone!

Author: kittenupdates

I am the author of CASCADE and LITTLE MATCHES: A Memoir of Grief and Light

10 thoughts on “DECEMBER 25 –Update from the Grinch”

  1. Oh good luck Catlin. I know how terribly hard that waiting is but you have the most wonderful attitude and strength. I hope it happens for you soon – really soon! xxx

  2. I love this Caitlin!! You are such an inspiration to me! And so is JD of course. Here’s to a year full of new lungs for you, no illness and HEALTH for you and our beautiful friend. Sending love. Xo

  3. Happy Christmas dear Caitlin…I think about you so often and I can’t even think of a word to make you know I feel even part of the agony of waiting…I too put the red slippers away in a way to make good things happen….I hope all of technology can help you breath until your transplant comes and you can begin to plan the next wonderful part of your life….te amo, Gail

  4. Caitlin, you are a brightly shining star in your ruby red slippers spreading light to the rest of us. We hope the stars align for you soon.
    Happy New Year! 💕 The Wisharts

  5. Dear Caitlin you have such eloquence and heart to your writing, I feel like I know you through your posts and updates. May all the stars align in your favor (and your friend Jess’) in the coming new year! I am sending you loads of good wishes and prayers for the new year.

  6. A wonderful heartfelt message Caitlin, selfless as always. You of all people deserve the stars to align in your favour. Sending all our love.
    Eileen & Padraig

  7. My darling Caitlin, I so love your wise words of wisdom. I now look at my Ruby red high heals a little different and click them “9” times for you while dancing to Bob Marley and a cupcake shot in my hand. Here’s to us street dancing again very soon! Loving you from the south, Reggie

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