The happy and sad realities of #transplantlife with your kiddo


Were we really in Mexico just three weeks ago?? The return to reality was almost instant and the daily routine started up from the moment we walked in our front door. And reality is certainly bittersweet when it comes to transplant life.

Happy reality #1:
When Addison went to the lab at BCCH for blood last week (which is a once-every-six-week ritual) she sat down in the chair all by herself, put out her arm, and didn’t shed a single tear.
Sad reality #1:
What does it say about my child’s “normal” when getting a needle poke doesn’t involve hysteria, anxiety and crying?


Happy reality #2:
With a huge grin, “Look momma! I can swallow all three pills at the same time!!!”
Sad reality #2:
I know adults who can’t swallow pills. My 5-year old does it twice a day with a smile on her face. Back to the first point…this is her “normal” and that makes me incredibly sad when I stop to think about it.


I give you these two examples of what we have come to accept, mostly, as “normal” in the McYong house. Every once in a while I pause for a moment of reflection on how far we have come on this transplant journey. It still fills me with grief, fear and uncertainty at those times, but the amazing thing is we are mostly just living our lives. There are the usual trials and tribulations of crazy 5-year old behaviour, and keeping up with a very busy 9-month old, plus the stresses of daily parent crap – groceries, meals, laundry, playtime, bath, storytime, repeat. None of that changes, whether you have a child with medical needs or one that is perfectly healthy.


Here is what does change:
– We try not to “wait until the kids are older” because life is short, sometimes tragically and horribly short.
– We embrace new things, new experiences, new places with gusto…seize the day!
– We try to say “yes” whenever we can, within reason of course. 🙂
– We eat ice cream…a lot.


I’m not sure what kind of parent I would have been with a perfectly healthy child, but I like to think that all of this ‘extra’ stuff has made me a better mom. At the very least, it has made me a lot more appreciative of the little things, more sentimental, and a little (teeny, tiny) bit more patient. And it also makes me say, “Sure, why not?” a lot more often. Hence, Mexico and monarch butterflies. 🙂

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2017 is already proving to be a huge year…starting with our Mexico trip. Addison and I are going on mom-daughter trip to Hong Kong during Spring Break, I am returning to work in a couple of months (YIKES!), we are going to the World Transplant Games in Spain in June, and on top of all that we are embarking on massive renovations. Live in the moment right???!!

Elaine, Aaron, Addison and Charlie




6 thoughts on “The happy and sad realities of #transplantlife with your kiddo

  1. Yesterday I babysat my transplant granddaughter. She came to the door cheerful with the sticker she just received from her latest blood draw. She, too, visited Mexico in December. She is an early reader, ties her shoes, and learned to ride a bike before she was 5. She knows how to live life to the fullest. Cheers to you!

    • Thanks so much for sharing stories of your granddaughter. I love hearing about all these amazing transplant kiddos and their awesome “normal”! Glad to hear she loved her trip to Mexico too. 🙂

  2. Love the photos, I am so inspired to travel there now too! Charlie looks so cute in her puffy coat and the two sisters look like good pals. I was trying to figure out if the beach was in Vancouver or Mexico, then I noticed there were far too many palm tress for Vancouver! Don’t be sad, we have needles and daily tablets and icecream at our house too. These are very minor things. Well, except for the icecream. Icecream is VERY IMPORTANT.

  3. Beautiful photos! Words to inspire all of us. Kids manage to take life in stride. They make us all proud. Definitely live in the moment. It is the simple pleasures….and of course ice cream! Enjoy your spring break travels. We’ll be watching for photos from the World Transplant games. Good luck Addison!

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