5.18.19 update: Jose had a successful double lung transplant on 4/25/19. As part of the recovery he must stay near the Hospital until he is cleared to return home. If you have followed Jose's story you know he is very positive and has handled the surgery and recovery with that same attitude. As we watch Jose go through this incredible journey we all need to take a moment and think about what is really important.
Stop letting the small stuff ruin your day. You are alive right? You can breathe right? Do you have food, and a place to sleep? Yes? Then you are BLESSED. STOP going to sleep mad, stop the fighting over stupid small things that don’t matter. Forgive and LET GO. Don’t hold a grudge. You can forgive and cut that person out of your life, but STOP being mad. Remove the person/situation and move on... but you have to let the anger GO. If you’ve been thinking about making up with someone for whatever fight/ grudge that happened, DO IT and this is why. We are not promised tomorrow.
Life is frail and there are no guarantees. It was gut wrenching and life changing to see Jose directly after surgery. He was in an induced coma, not knowing if he would ever come out of it is something we never want to feel again. I am sure while we all quietly prayed we were processing our own thoughts " Were things left with Jose the way we wanted" or were there some conversations we wished had happened. Were there thoughts of a do over in some area. It’s not worth it! You or your loved one could be gone in a SECOND, and you have to live with whatever the last thing you told him or her was.
Anything can happen at anytime, and we just don’t know!!! So stop complaining about dumb stuff! Stop getting angry over stupid stuff. Fights /arguments are going to happen, but talk about them and MOVE the heck ON. It’s just not worth it!!! I hope none of you have to ever see a loved one like this, and if you have, you know exactly what we are talking about. PLEASE take it from us, truly live as if tomorrow (heck live it as if our next minute) was not promised, because it’s NOT. Life can change in a second!
I am writing this in behalf of all the wonderful nurses who have taken care of JOSE NAVARRETE (with his permission). We started caring for him when he was 10 years old, about 14 years ago. He and his brother Samuel captured our hearts from Day 1. They were the favorite patients of any pediatric unit they got assigned to at Loma Linda. Any time that they were admitted for CF (Cystic Fibrosis) exacerbation, the nurses would all try to volunteer to be assigned to them. The hospital was an unconventional "home" for many, yet Jose and Samuel always found a way to make the best out of every "tune up." A "tune up" for someone who has Cystic Fibrosis meant being hospitalized for multiple and prolonged course of antibiotics through a central or peripheral catheter, respiratory treatments, oxygen therapy, and lots of medications to be administered among others. It also meant missing school days, important events like birthdays, holiday celebrations, and other activities that children their age normally experience. They didn't get to travel because of their compromised immune system, chronic shortness of breath and lack of financial means as well. Most of the time, when they are admitted, they will be placed in isolation due to higher risk of being exposed to other organisms that will make them more sick or because they have contracted a super resistant bug that hospital protocols mandate them to be isolated.
It's no surprise that the bond that Jose and Samuel shared was deeply rooted...far more beyond than being brothers, more because they share the same diagnosis therefore, the same struggles and hardship. They were truly the best of friends and the undying love they had for one another is a testimony to their unbreakable brotherly bond.
Hence, when Samuel passed away in 2011, it left an emptiness within all of us and for Jose, he is forced to live with a gaping hole in his heart. Samuel would have been 22 years old today in August. At age 19, Jose got his tattoo of his one and only brother to forever remember him.
In the past, when we talked to Jose about the possibility of lung transplant, he adamantly responded with a "No" because he believed that no matter how short or long his life would be, he would be happy and make the most of it. Jose and Samuel both understood the severity and nature of CF as well as the possibility of death. Jose stands by his belief that "death will come someday, yet the optimism of living while you can, will always endure longer than the thought of dying."
His initial hesitation with double lung transplant changed when Jose met the person that he knew he would spend his forever with, Abby. His love for Abby is so inspiring and endearing that it shames other "healthy" couples' devotion towards each other. The love he has for Abby is so genuine that he knows there is no one else on this earth he would rather spend his life with. There is absolutely nothing Jose wouldn't do for her and Abby reciprocated this love with as much fervor and dedication.
Jose's perspective also changed when he realized that time would no longer be on his side after receiving the result of his decreasing lung function of only 14%.
In spite of his deteriorating condition, Jose never stops to think of how he can provide a great future for Abby and their future family. He worked for Amazon warehouse even for graveyard shifts but had to stop due to medical reasons. He picked up construction jobs while he pursued certification for notary and realty. He recently passed his licensure for realty and is looking forward to building his career in this field. Unfortunately, when he received news of his failing lung function, he had to make a decision. He asked me one day, "What good does it do for one to have a great career, to have someone who loves you no matter what...if I refuse to see that my deteriorating condition will only compromise all these? If our choices define us, then let my choice to receive a double lung transplant define the fact that I will not give up. My real fight for survival has just begun."
The specialists immediately recommended for him to start the process for double lung transplant. Jose underwent a battery of tests which include heart catheterization, CT scans, swallow test, pulmonary function tests, extensive blood draws, EKG, etc. The entire process was completed in less than a month and he is officially listed for surgery and will proceed with it as soon as a donor becomes available.
Jose's doctors/surgeons further advised him to start a GoFundMe page right away because of the high expenses and cost of this major surgery despite insurance coverage. He was told that his postoperative care most especially will cost too much for his insurance to afford. Jose was very hesitant at first since he is a person who would rather give than ask, but with the new understanding of what this major surgery will entail, he agreed to start this page.
Furthermore, he and Abby will have to reside in San Diego near the hospital for the time being. They are in dire need of monetary support as both of them would not be able to work for a while. Abby will stay at Jose's side as well as provide the necessary tender loving care. Although they both choose to live out their faith in God and trust that He will see him through, it cannot be denied that they will not be able to shoulder all the financial burden of this critical medical intervention. One of Jose's dreams that he would like to fulfill as soon as he recuperates is to create an awareness for Cystic Fibrosis and plans to organize gift giving to hospitalized CF patients (as he and his brother Samuel were recipients of "Spirit of Christmas" spearheaded and organized by another nurse and were highly impacted by it)
. He says that this is his way of giving back.
We cannot thank you enough for whatever help you can extend to this life giving endeavor!