Sunday, January 1, 2012

Bye 2011

It’s been a year of kidneys and cake pops and I have a heart full of thanks.

This is an extremely long post. And just to warn you up front it involves a couple of pictures of blood and things that might make you cringe a little, so if you’re squeamish about that kind of thing, you probably don’t want to keep reading.

But, if you’re not, and you’re interested – it’s kind of a wrap up of 2011. Not of recipes from the blog, but of some things that made this year special.

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And of course, it involves cake pops. How could it not.

The year started off pretty normal, or rather I was trying to keep things up as normal. But in the back of my mind was the knowledge that my transplanted kidney was starting to fail.

But I was hoping for the best. Hoping to just maintain whatever functioning it had left. Hoping to keep living the status quo.

In February, I had what was supposed to be the beginning of a few more book signings that would take place through the spring.

I started out in San Francisco and as soon as I saw your smiling faces, I managed to forget all about feeling bad. I want to thank you for that.

Because in March I had to cancel the next book signing in Minneapolis.

I couldn’t be there because I was very sick and in the hospital with an infection in my bloodstream and transplanted kidney.

Needless to say, my already weakened kidney could not handle the extra stress and I had to go on dialysis while I was in the hospital.

There are some pics in this post that I normally wouldn’t put out there, but I hope they help someone who might be going through something similar. It’s tough stuff.

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This machine reluctantly became my new best friend. The only thing to keep me from eventually dying.

This was probably the hardest thing for me. I never wanted to go on hemodialysis. Just the thought of being hooked up to a machine and having my blood removed, cleaned and returned to my body, freaked me out. The first time my kidneys failed, I did peritoneal dialysis. It doesn’t involve your blood and it allows you much more freedom. So I was prepared to go on that kind of dialysis again if I had to. But not for an emergency port to be placed for hemodialysis. Peritoneal dialysis requires a scheduled surgery and planning. But hemodialysis doesn’t. So I had a procedure to have a temporary port placed in my chest and by the end of the very same day, I was having my blood move through those tubes on the machine.

Let’s just say my mind was not prepared. The first time I was on the machine, I can’t even describe what it was like. I just felt numb. Numb that it was happening this way. Scared that I didn’t know what would happen next. Upset that I couldn’t stay well for just a little while longer while we waited to see if my mom could be a donor.

But I was also thankful. Thankful that things like this exist. Thankful that even though there isn’t a cure for kidney disease, that there are options for treatment to prolong my life.

Thankful.

But still freaked out.

I was in the hospital for 18 days. And if I hadn’t been there so long, I probably would have come back home and kept baking as if everything was ok.

That was the plan anyway. But then I was there another day and another day and after a while I felt I needed and wanted to share what was going on because I had been absent from the blog so long.

So I wrote this post.

And I was overwhelmed by your comments and thoughts and prayers. I still am. I get teary-eyed even now thinking about it as I write this.

I will forever cherish your words and kindness. I read them while I was hooked up to that machine and it made it all better. Thank you.

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Flowers from new friends made it better, too. Thank you P is for Party, Anna and Blue, TomKat Studio, Pizzazerie, and all the other party planning friends that brightened my stay. I would list you all but I can’t find your letter at the moment. Forgive me. It was so sweet of you all to send flowers, especially since we haven’t even met. Hugs.

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And surprise visitors made it better, too.

Ree, it meant so much to me that you came by to visit. Miss you lots.

Oh and did I mention that while I was in the hospital that I gained 16 pounds in the first two days. Sixteen pounds of fluid that they pumped into me to help fight the infection.

I was miserable and swollen all over, but so happy to see family and friends like Ree, and Julie, Zoe, Danny, Monica, Amy, and Kerry and Robyn who visited during my transplant stay.

So, there were definitely good things mixed in with the bad.

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Like when I got back home, this was waiting for me. A dutch version of Cake Pops!

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And in May, I was able to spend time with friends that were attending Blogher Food. (Photo from kevinandamanda)

Thank you guys for making that a great day. So, fun things happened too while I was still on dialysis. And that helped. A lot.

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This is the clinic where I spent many hours over the next few months. I would get off work and come here four hours a day. Three days a week. And then go home and go to bed because I was still so tired. I have so much respect for the nurses, technicians and staff that work in dialysis clinics. They see a lot of sadness every single day. The beds were always full, unlike this photo I managed to take in between patients arriving. You walk in for your appointment and as soon as someone is done with theirs, they clean the bed, change the sheets, clean and prepare the machine to get ready to connect the next person. It’s a constant cycle of patients, many that were much, much sicker than me, coming here to stay alive. It has to be hard on the people that work there to see that everyday. And especially hard when someone suddenly stops showing up for their appointment because they are in the hospital or even worse.

It was definitely not somewhere I looked forward to going to. On the good side, I was very tired everyday, so I did get to lay down and rest and watch TV – as long as I didn’t get the bed that had the broken TV.

(Warning: Blood stuff coming up next.)

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And then if I got bored, I would take pictures of myself to remember what being on dialysis was like.

Here I’m trying to tell myself how much fun I’m having. Woohoo!

I have a bunch of sad pics too, but I promise you don’t want to see those.

The white bandage near my neck keeps the area where the port is, covered and clean. It would get changed and the area carefully cleaned every time I had a treatment. The big sheet was just to keep my clothes from getting any stains. The port had two lines. One would remove my blood and the other would return it. Good times.

This was a temporary solution though. The area where the port goes in is an extremely high source of infection because there is a direct line to my heart and an opening at the end of the port where you connect for treatment each time. And the area couldn’t get wet, which made taking showers a real pain. I would cover it with these large plastic adhesive sheets which were so big that it made my right arm immobile. If I lifted my arm, it would create a gap in the covering and allow water in. Washing your hair with one hand is hard. And showering each day was filled with worry that I would get it wet and get an infection. And prolong my chance of a transplant.

If I had needed to stay on dialysis permanently, I would have had to have a permanent fistula made in my arm as an access to circulate the blood for hemodialysis. Or either plan a surgery to go on peritoneal dialysis again. So I tried to delay either of those happening as long as I could, waiting on my mom’s test results to all come through and hoping she would be able to donate.

Stressful.

At the clinic, my nurse, TiTi would take care of me each time I came in. She was comforting even though she didn’t talk much. I developed an attachment to her. I didn’t want anyone else to connect me to that machine or clean my dressings. I trusted her and even though I was so happy to leave, I cried with her the last day I left the clinic as she prayed for me. And I felt bad for the patients I was leaving behind. The nameless faces I had seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I wanted them to feel better, too. It reminded me how grateful I am for my mom. Many people live the rest of their lives on dialysis. Not everyone is eligible for a transplant or has someone close willing or able to donate.

If you’ve thought about organ donation before, please think about it again and the people laying in those beds. It’s a gift that can help so many.

And if you are already a donor. Thank you. Generosity like yours gave me 19 years of life.

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On the lighter side, during dialysis treatments, I was also trying to finish up a couple of projects for the Cake Pops Kit that came out this year. Not fun when you don’t feel good.

But even though I wanted to be able to do more new pops, I think the rubber duckies and penguins came out pretty darn cute.

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Then, Cake Pops made it onto the iBookstore. I thought this was really cool. Probably because of my love for all things Apple.

By the way, Cake Pops was one of the iBookstore’s top ten Cookbooks in 2011! Crazy! CRA-zeeee!

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I had a recipe published in Betty Crocker’s Big Book of Cupcakes. Thank you, Betty!

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And I also had a recipe published in the book, Home Baked Comfort.

Things like this, and especially all of your emails and messages and comments on the site really made dealing with being sick a lot easier.

By the way, dialysis stinks when it comes to eating, too. Your diet changes drastically because your system is so out of whack. The machine basically does the functioning of your kidney for you. But since it doesn’t do it all day, everyday, you have to be really careful what you eat all the time. I couldn’t eat cake pops. I had to stay away from foods that contain phosphorous and potassium and eat foods with very low sodium. A high phosphorous level can make your bones weak and brittle. Potassium is monitored closely to avoid heart problems, nausea and loss of consciousness. And sodium is avoided to help control fluid retention and blood pressure. That meant no potatoes, no chocolate, no cheese, no milk, no sauces to speak of, no beans, no sandwich meats, no bacon (ugh), no nuts, no ice cream, no orange juice, no bananas. Basically, nothing fun. And because my fluid intake was restricted, I could only have 32 ounces of fluid for the whole day. Boring!

I’m so glad that didn’t last long.

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After a few months on dialysis, we finally found out that my mom was able to be a donor. Such relief and excitement for us both!

And on June 14th, my mom and I both went into surgery. That was the hardest part – knowing we were both being operated on at the same time, but I had complete confidence in the surgeons.

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Especially mine. Because Dr. Larsen performed my first surgery in July of 1992 and again this year. He’s great.

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I don’t know if I could ever put into words how much he means to me, but I am so thankful for him and his talent and kindness over the years. I just want to give him a big hug every time I see him.

The entire staff at Emory is wonderful. Everyone at the transplant clinic and the transplant floor of the hospital. I thank them from the bottom of my heart for taking care of me the last 20 years.

Oh and see that white bandage on my neck in the pic above? Yep, the port is still in.

They leave it in to make sure the kidney works before removing it.

The port isn’t pretty. I made them take a picture of it for me because I never saw it unbandaged.

Scroll by real fast if you get grossed out easily.

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Yuck. And by the way that’s not blood on the port, it’s betadine where they would clean it.

I was so relieved to have this thing out of me.

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And so grateful for my mom. I know she would do anything for me, but I would have never asked her for such a gift. She is amazing and my best friend.

Here’s a story that Emory posted on their blog about us if you’d like to read.

So, A few months after the surgery and still feeling great, I started doing things again.

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I made a new video for the book with this guy. Actually, he made the video. I just did stuff like make silly faces when he wasn’t looking.

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The notecards came out.

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Where Women Cook by Jo Packham came out in October. Thank you Jo for featuring me on the cover with such fantastic company. The book is beautiful and filled with profiles from great women like Ree of The Pioneer Woman, Serena of The Farm Chicks, Sandy of The Reluctant Entertainer, Molly of Orangette, Cheryl of Back in the Day Bakery, Helene of Tartelette, and many more.

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Okay, this was something else really fun and a little unexpected. Say hi to Pop Star Jill in Illinois.

I received an email from Jill’s husband, Luke. They live in Chicago and he explained how much she enjoys the blog and cake pops and wanted to surprise her with a signed book or maybe even a lunch. So I said, sure and if they found themselves all the way in Georgia, then of course, I would go to lunch. Well, he did just that. He told her they were flying somewhere fun for her birthday, but didn’t tell her where until the day they flew. I’m sure when he told her Georgia, she was thrilled. So exciting, right?! But he explained it off by saying they were going to see and stay with some friends for a getaway.

Then, the next day, I was waiting at the restaurant and when the hostess brought Jill to the table, the look on her face was so priceless. And boy was I glad. It would have been a real bummer if she didn’t know who I was. But she did and it was a blast and she had absolutely no idea. We had a great time. I think it was as much fun for me as it was for Luke to surprise his wife. Hi guys. Hope you two are doing great.

And thank you both for such a memorable day.

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These are meds I take twice a day. Everyday. They’re different medicines from the ones they were giving to patients almost 20 years ago, but they still have to give them to suppress my immune system so my body doesn’t try to attack my mom’s kidney as something foreign to my body. That would stink. So I take these medicines to help avoid that.

Even though I feel great now, it’s always on my mind every morning and night.

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By October, I felt good enough to continue with the book signings I had begun back in the spring.

Of course, I had to visit Minneapolis first. It was such a good feeling to be there, seeing all your sweet faces. Happy smiles are like magic.

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After Minneapolis, I visited San Francisco for a book signing and to work on the video for this kit.

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Here’s a clip from the video. Cool.

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While I was there, I visited the FM offices.  They handle ads that show up on my site. They arranged a Halloween cake pop contest with a few bloggers and some of their employees. And man, they did a good job. Very creative and everyone was so sweet. Thank you for having me.

Here’s a slideshow of all the fun.

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I also attended a San Francisco Authors Luncheon with my publisher, Chronicle Books to benefit the National Kidney Foundation. It was so nice of them to donate money and invite me to attend with them.

If I haven’t said it enough before. Chronicle is great. The people. The company. Their books. I love them.

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When I returned home, I had a routine kidney biopsy. Everyone that has a transplant has one at around 5-6 months after surgery.

That’s my new baby. My mom’s kidney. In me.

Kind of unbelievable.

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Kidney biopsies aren’t as bad as they look when you consider the needle they use. Yeah, that thing in the upper right hand corner. Yikes! And I think that’s the new shorter one they started using. Don’t worry. They only go in as far as they need to depending on how much body tissue they have to pass through to reach the kidney. Thankfully, they didn’t have to go too deep.

The test showed everything with the kidney was doing great.

So I felt confident enough to continue on with the book signings. Or kit signings since by this time, those had been released.

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Seeing this poster in the Orlando Barnes & Noble really made me chuckle. Me and Bill Clinton, signing books days apart.

A little birdie told me the secret service was there the day I was, scoping out the place and one of them even bought a book. Maybe it was for Bill. : ) But I doubt it.

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While we were in Orlando, we made it to Disney World for a little while.

The place where dreams come true. Except ours already had.

It was my mom’s first time and my second.

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At most of the book signing cities, we stayed at normal nice hotels. But In Phoenix, we stayed at the nicest or most unique of al the cities. To give you an example, this guy was taking us to our casita in a golf cart. You couldn’t drive to your room by car. To get around the property, which was beautiful by the way, you had to call for someone to come pick you up or walk there. We called. And they would take you to the pool, or one of several restaurants or shopping nearby. Where ever you needed to go. The room was fantastic, too, with a deck, living room, fireplace, and walk in closet. We did not want to leave. Ever.

But we did. And headed out to the next book signing in San Diego.

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While we were there, I received a super invitation from Sarah who follows the blog and came to the book signing in Costa Mesa the previous year. Sarah invited me to come see her world. Sea World, where she works with some of the animals.

Including this amazing, cuddly creature.

I never knew a sloth could be so cute.

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My mom and I made some new friends for sure. We learned a lot, too.

Thank you Sarah for showing us around and sharing your knowledge of these amazing animals.

Here’s a slideshow of some of the fun.

Before leaving San Diego, we decided to stop and get some breakfast at a place called the Hash House.

We ordered just two pancakes.

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Yeah, just two.

We obviously didn’t know what we were doing. I just had to share this pic. I have never seen anything like it.

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After San Diego, I visited Book People in Austin for the last book signing of the year.

I’ll miss seeing all of you guys… until next time that is ; ) . Thank you all for coming out and sharing your love for cake pops. This year would not have been the same without you, whether you made it to a signing, or simply said hi on the blog. I love you guys so much. Big hugs and a little dork wave.

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The day after the last book signing, I went on a Girl Hunter weekend with my friend Georgia and a bunch of other blogging friends including Cookies and Cups, Bake at 350, Confessions of a Cookbook Queen, Wenderly, She Wears Many Hats, Ivory Hut, Tidy Mom, Cookin Canuck, Georgia, Elana’s Pantry, Family Fresh Cooking, Deliciously Organic and Recipe Girl. We laughed, shot clay pigeons, decorated cookies, learned to fly fish, sat by the campfire and ate way too much.

Georgia is something special and has just recently released her second book, Girl Hunter. It’s a fascinating read that follows her adventures on a quest to find out more about where her food comes from. And it takes her straight to the source. Here’s a video by the talented White on Rice Couple to give you a glimpse of what the book is about. And here’s a great post of our weekend by Georgia.

Check out the book, Girl Hunter if you’re interested in the journey of knowing where your food comes from, too.

Here’s a slideshow of the really great time we had.

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Once back home I received another nice surprise.

Cake Pops, translated in Japanese and another version in French, too. Can anyone tell me what it says in that circle? I’m trés curious.

Well, that’s just a little bit of some of the things from this past year that you didn’t see on the blog.

Thank you for listening. I just had to get that all out and get ready for a brand new year.

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Like I said in the beginning. It’s been a year of kidneys and cake pops.

And my mom and I would like to thank you all for helping make it one we will never forget.

So thank you and here’s to a great 2012 for all of us.

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Claudia said...

I am new to your blog page; therefore, I was not aware of your health problems. I am glad to hear that both you and your mother are doing good. I hope this year brings you both lots of health, happiness, and more success…I cannot wait to see more of your new creations! My husband bought me the kit, so for the very first time I was introduced to these cute things known as cake pops…now I am hooked and I cannot wait to attempt to make as cute cake pops as yours.

January 1, 2012 10:43 PM
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Rachel {at} It's a Hero said...

What a year! I hope your 2012 is amazing. :)

January 1, 2012 10:44 PM
103
Kimberly said...

I am so glad you posted this. Thank you for sharing your story with us all. You and your Mom deserve a kick-butt healthy and happy 2012!

January 1, 2012 10:44 PM
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Amanda said...

I’m so glad you are feeling better. I always worry this will be my future as I have some issues with my kidneys as well. Your mom is a wonderful person and you are so lucky to have her. Thanks for putting this up it was so inspiring to read. Many years of health to you. I also have your book on my amazon wish list =)
Amanda

January 1, 2012 10:47 PM
105
KCR said...

I CANNOT believe that is your MOM!! She looks like your sister! :) You guys must have amazing genes!

So glad things are looking better for you in 2012, & thanks for being an inspiration to all! :)

January 1, 2012 10:49 PM
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Susan said...

Loved reading the year in review. You’ve had a tough year and yet remained so positive and graceful. Very inspiring. I just want you to know that i really love your blog updates, treats, pops and photos. I wish you a happy, healthy, peaceful and successful new year!

January 1, 2012 10:49 PM
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Emily said...

So glad you are better… here’s to a fantastic 2012!

January 1, 2012 10:49 PM
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Heather Goodwin said...

Wow…what a year you have had. May the next year be filled with lots of love, laughter and good health!

January 1, 2012 10:50 PM
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KCR said...

P.S. I love how on the white board behind your Dr., it says that the days goal is to urinate! Way to keep it real! :) lol

January 1, 2012 10:50 PM
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Melissa @ Best Friends For Frosting said...

Such a rich year for you Angie! 2012 is going to be a great year for all of us- I can feel it! Happy New Year! =)

January 1, 2012 10:51 PM
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Virginia said...

So inspiring to read your journey through this past year. It’s amazing to see how much you have accomplished even with all of life’s hurdles thrown your way. You are inspiring… your strength, your genuine nature and of course your creativy. I wish you continued health and success in 2012!

January 1, 2012 10:51 PM
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Barbara Reed said...

You are such an inspiration to me, too! I’m am a cake decorator/instructor, and going through some tough medical stuff, too. I’m blessed to have a fabulous surgeon at Emory – they are just so amazing, compassionate, and annointed! I pray you continue to do well, and keep doing what you’re doing!

Hugs!

January 1, 2012 10:52 PM
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Adrienne @ Midwestern Belle said...

What a post, Angie…I cried at some parts and laughed at others. Thank you for sharing your story and I hope anyone else who’s going through kidney failure or another challenge will be inspired by it. Hope 2012 is full of wonderful things for you.

January 1, 2012 10:52 PM
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Heather said...

I had no idea about your health suffering! You will always be in my prayers, 2011 sounds so eventful for you and I am hoping 2012 is so healthful for you! You are truly amazing and inspirational.

January 1, 2012 10:53 PM
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mara said...

TFS we are in the middle of my husbands dialysis and it’s taking a toll on all of us while he waits for his transplant. I hope that you keep on keeping on for you are a big inspiration.

January 1, 2012 10:53 PM
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Kimberli Smith said...

Yay! I am so happy for you. My brother was an organ donor and luckily we were able to meet and become very close to one of his recipients. Donate Life… it is the best gift you can give!! xoxo

January 1, 2012 10:54 PM
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Su-yin said...

I rarely comment, but I had to because this is by far one of the best roundup posts I’ve ever read.

As a medic we see so many patients everyday, so it’s always eye opening to see things from a patient’s point of view. I think it’s marvellous that you continued to be in such high spirits throughout it all, you’re definitely an inspiration.

All the best for 2012, and do continue to bring us all your amazing sweet treats! :)

January 1, 2012 10:54 PM
118
Yan said...

Hope you are doing fine in everything !

Be strong and best wishes in 2012 !

January 1, 2012 10:56 PM
119
Melissa Deming said...

Love you Bakerella! You’ve shared such joy with us and let us inside your life. May it continue to be full and bright – just like you!

January 1, 2012 10:57 PM
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Tickled Red said...

I had to stop by and wish you Happy New Year darlin’ :D!! I am so glad that your year has ended on such a sweet note. 2012 is just leaping with adventures for you now. I hope that I get to see you at least once this year {{hugs}} xoxo

January 1, 2012 10:58 PM
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Vanessa said...

It’s seems like you had a very eventful year to say the least. I think you are an amazing strong woman! I wish you the best for 2012 and I hope you come out with more stuff I’m a huge fan!!

Vane from Midnight Cake Boutique

January 1, 2012 10:59 PM
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Joanie DeWitz said...

What a Blessing you are to this world and a wonderful inspiration to me. I am praying for both you and your precious mommy. May God bless you and give you a healthy, happy, prosperous 2012!

January 1, 2012 10:59 PM
123
Becca @ Cook, Rejoice, Repeat said...

So glad you’re feeling better and back on your feet again! Here’s hoping that 2012 is a better year for you!

January 1, 2012 11:00 PM
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Amanda said...

What an amazing year! Hoping 2012 brings you nothing but good things!

January 1, 2012 11:02 PM
125
Charity said...

I just want to say you are a major inspiration to women everywhere. I know what it is like to see someone on dialysis. My mom has Alports Syndrome which is a rare hereditary kidney disease that runs through the whole female side of my family. I had to watch her brave through three years of dialysis which was made even more difficult by the fact she is deaf as well. The nurses at those clinics are Angels. They made my mom so comfortable there. A few actually learned sign to be able to speak to her and another made a set of pictures with words for her to point to. The first 2 years she went through the hemodialysis and the last year she went throught the peritoneal dialysis so she could have more freedom so to speak. Then the night before Mother’s Day 2010, we got a call to get her to the hospital. There had been an accident with a child involved and the father had given permission to donate his child’s kidney and my mom got it. She was prepped at around midnight and exactly on Mother’s Day her surgery was finished. The doctors’ were surprised at how well she was doing the next day. They had said it was as if the kidney was always there. We don’t know who the family was, but I thank them every day for giving my mom a new lease on life. I thank you as well for sharing every part of your story(even the blood) and of course for your amazing Cakepops. Your down-to-earth nature, talent and creativity has inspired me. I am in the planning stages of starting my own cake business and I am so excited. Thank you again and sorry for the long comment here, but I needed you to know that miracles happen all the time and I think it was a miracle that I stumbled upon your blog.
Hugs and love,
Charity

January 1, 2012 11:02 PM
126
Hilary said...

What a year….so cool, and thanks for sharing! All the best in 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:05 PM
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Myra said...

Best post ever. It was a pleasure meeting you in Austin. So happy that you get to continue doing the things you love. Blessings to you in 2012.

January 1, 2012 11:06 PM
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Jennifer said...

Loved the post! Great inspiration! Many blessings to you in 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:07 PM
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Marissa C. said...

You probably get tired of hearing this, but I think you’re absolutely amazing! And so is your mom. My mom is my best friend, too, so I know firsthand how incredible your mom must be, not least of all because she gave you a kidney and saved your life. I wish you BOTH the best of everything in the new year!

January 1, 2012 11:07 PM
130
Claudia said...

I found your blog last year and even though I have yet to make any cake pops, I love visiting because of all the joy you bring people with your writing, baking, and photography. I hope your health is much better from now on, Angie.

January 1, 2012 11:07 PM
131
Laura Scott said...

We are so blessed the story has a happy ending. You and your mom look so much alike. It is no wonder she was a match.

So, so glad you are back to yourself. I really like your books, and look forward to a video.

May 2012 be the best you’ve seen in decades and may you continue to teach and inspire.

God bless.

January 1, 2012 11:10 PM
132
Kira Lynn said...

I’m so glad you are doing well, yay for moms!

January 1, 2012 11:10 PM
133
Jancyne Dulemba said...

I have been on dialysis for 4 years this month and I am their becuase I have been diabetic since I was 10 years old and now 35. I am not active on the transplant list due to my weight issues. I have to lose 10 more lbs before I can become active and I am on weight watchers and walk on the treadmill, but with the fluid restriction and gains that I have it is so difficult to lose.
I have not given up hope and I know it will happen for me as it did for you to have a transplant and thank you for posting your pictures. The clinic that I go to are not as nice as where you went but I love the nurses and techs who help on every other day!!! Keep doing what you do as I continye to be a teacher, do dialysis and also work part time as a hairstylist!!! THANK YOU!!

January 1, 2012 11:11 PM
134
Julie @ Willow Bird Baking said...

You look fantastic and I’m SO thankful your year turned out the way it did — we were all rooting for your quick recovery. Thank you for brightening our lives :)

January 1, 2012 11:11 PM
135
Luke in Chicago said...

I’m so honored that you included our story in your look back on 2011. Wow, you’ve really had an incredible year. Even having gone through all of your struggles, you are an amazingly generous person. We’re coming back to Georgia soon, so maybe we can schedule a reunion =)

I hope you have a healthy and happy 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:13 PM
136
shaz said...

Wow! You’re the best!!!

January 1, 2012 11:14 PM
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Melissa Cahoon said...

:) {love}

January 1, 2012 11:17 PM
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Minna said...

My mom was diagnosed with kidney failure when I was 8 (I’m 28 now). She’s been on hemodialysis since I was in the 9th grade…. I recall that port oh so well– we washed her hair from her bed with a blow-up innertube contraption that led water through a hose to a bucket. She’s had countless surgeries on her permanent fistula and more pills than I can count. Thank you for sharing your story on here– it humbles me to be reminded of what my mom goes through each and every day. Your pops inspire me too! Thank you!!

January 1, 2012 11:18 PM
139
Gwynn said...

What a scary, inspirational and amazing year! You have been in my thoughts and prayers. I’m so happy that 2012 is off to a fabulous start for you and your mom. How lucky you are to have someone so wonderfully giving (and so compatible) in your life. I hope that this year brings all the happiness that you have worked so hard for and that the pain of the last year fades to the smallest blimp.

January 1, 2012 11:19 PM
140
April Hudson said...

You are such an encouragement for us all!! May God truly bless you in this coming year – good health and much happiness! Blessings!

January 1, 2012 11:21 PM
141
Kelly said...

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Here’s to a wonderful and healthy 2012. You are an inspiration to so many.

January 1, 2012 11:21 PM
142
susan said...

I don’ t know first hand exactly how you feel, but I know what you went through. My dad’s last 13 days of his life, lived in the hospital, hooked up to a dialysis machine. When he wasn’t hooked up to that, his blood was going through the same cycle that you went through. You are so positive. Your outcome was better than my dad’s and your relationship with your mom seems like the perfect one! When you go through something like this, something inside(I presume) changes. Much health and happiness to you this year and many years to come!

January 1, 2012 11:21 PM
143
Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing that great post.. My daughter is almost 4yrs post her heart transplant in fact her heart day is jan 16th, she’ll be 5 in April. Thanks for spreading the word about what it’s like and why being a donor is important! You are a great role model for anyone so thx again! Biopsy day coming up soon (luckily she’s been doing great ever since her transplant) but we don’t take anything for granted!!

January 1, 2012 11:21 PM
144
Lori Gross said...

Wow, what an amazing year you have had. You are truly an inspiration! Can’t wait to see what’s next for you. Best wishes for 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:25 PM
145
Melissa Yncera said...

Bakerella, adding you to my prayer list to pray for you every day! Praying you can have peace, comfort and good health from our Awesome Lord!

January 1, 2012 11:27 PM
146
lorena said...

Thank YOU for the joy you’ve brought to all of us through your fun cake pops and your blog. I love that you keep it real. Life has its ups and downs and we can’t grow unless we take the good with the bad. I enjoyed reading this blog entry because you have let us into your life and that is never an easy thing to do. Wishing you the best in 2012!
xoxo, lorena.

January 1, 2012 11:30 PM
147
delia said...

Happy new year! Congratulations again on your new kidney. Organ transplantation seems so easy in theory, but in real life, there’s a lot going on before, during, and after the transplant. I so admire your good attitude. Can’t wait to see more cake pops in 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:31 PM
148
suzanne said...

thank you for letting us into your personal life. many prayers to you for a healthy 2012.

January 1, 2012 11:33 PM
149
Morgan said...

Wow! You really are an inspiration! My husbands mom is going through kidney failure now – does dialysis every night at home, but I admittedly didn’t know much about it, thank you for sharing your story with us! I hope 2012 is better for you! & I’d love to meet you at a book signing! Please come to VA :)

January 1, 2012 11:36 PM
150
Caryn said...

Hearts and hugs to you and ALL you have been throgh this year! I am so thankful you feel good and can still bring us all of your creative and wonderful ideas!

2012 is gonna be incredible for you!!!

January 1, 2012 11:36 PM
151
Jill said...

I am so glad all is well! I hope 2012 brings both you and your mom many blessings!

January 1, 2012 11:40 PM
152
Janice Mason said...

Aww! I love reading this, getting an inside view of your life. Totally cried, a lot! I hope 2012 is your best year yet! XOXO

January 1, 2012 11:40 PM
153
Evelyn said...

Thanks for sharing your inspirational story. My late husband went through cancer treatments starting in 2002 and your account of having a port is all too familiar. He had his in successfully for 4 years. Then he developed sepsis from it and had to be hospitalized and treated with massive doses of antibiotics. So glad you avoided all of that and had such a successful outcome. Hoping you have a healthy and prosperous 2012 as I hope for everyone everywhere. Blessings.

January 1, 2012 11:41 PM
154
Diana said...

You truly are an inspiration! 2011 has been a hell of a year…hopefully this means it can only get better from here. I wish you good health and much happiness in 2012. I look forward to some new fabulous cake pops from you!!

January 1, 2012 11:45 PM
155
Amanda Bowyer said...

Wow, I didn’t know you had a kidney disease.. I read through your whole post. I follow your posts on FB but haven’t read though alot, but this post really caught my attention! Your pill box looks like mine.. I had thyroid cancer now I have Sarcoidosis (for over 3 years now), it’s mostly in my lungs. I will pray for you to stay well!! :)

January 1, 2012 11:45 PM
156
J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) said...

What an extraordinary year you’ve had! Amazing. Wishing you all the best in 2012 with your health and your ADORABLE creations in the oven and in print. :)

January 1, 2012 11:46 PM
157
Nancy said...

Glad to hear you are doing well! Here’s to a bigger and better 2012! All the best wishes to you!

Thank you for sharing your story with us. It’s truly inspirational! Excited to see the many great things that you have in store in this upcoming year!

January 1, 2012 11:46 PM
158
Harmony said...

I loved this post from top to bottom. A friend shared it with me since we have the kidney thing in common. I’m the mom of five kids the youngest are twins who were diagnosed with hydronephrosis in utero. One of the twins had reconstructive surgery on his kidney when he was 6 weeks old. Long story short if it wasnt for a dear friend (whose son wad born with congenital kidney issues and he ended up having one removed at 6 months of age), helping us be an advocate I’m thankful the outcome we have had. My friend and I were blessed to form a team to raise money awareness of early detection for the National Kidney Foundation. Thank you for sharing your story and putting a face the crazy kidney roller coaster and helping increase awareness so little ones like my boys get detected early on.

January 1, 2012 11:48 PM
159
Kelley @ magnetoboldtoo said...

thankyou for sharing everything over the last year.

Onward to a fabulous 2012!

January 1, 2012 11:49 PM
160
christina said...

What a year you’ve had with all of the ups and downs but I’m so glad you are doing really good and your mom to, I just found your book 4 months ago and I’m glad I did it is so fun to look at and your blog is inspiring! Happy New Year

January 1, 2012 11:51 PM
161
MaryMW in the MN said...

Happy new year! I have to say, I love the newer photo of your doctor. I sure hope you’ve completed your goal for that day (peek at the message board behind him). ;-)

January 1, 2012 11:52 PM
162
Audra said...

A complete inspiration to anyone fighting any kind of ailment. Such motivation! Thank you! You are amazing!

January 1, 2012 11:52 PM
163
dora said...

you are amazing and so inspirational. i love your blog and cake pops.

and in the japanese version, the little circle just says “japanese version” (:

best wishes for the new year!

January 1, 2012 11:53 PM
164
Heather | Farmgirl Gourmet said...

What a wonderful post. Tears and smiles! My 13 year old daughter was reading over my shoulder and was inspired by your Mom giving you a kidney. She turned to me and said “Would you do that for me?” There was no hesitation in my “Yes”. Your Mom is an amazing woman! I wish you the healthiest 2012 ever!!!

January 1, 2012 11:55 PM
165
Ashley P. said...

Wow, this was such an emotional, yet inspiring post. Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Have a happy and healthy new year!

January 1, 2012 11:57 PM
166
marnie said...

I love you kidney pops!!! I am so glad you shared your story it is very inspirational. Best wishes for a happy and healthy 2012

January 1, 2012 11:59 PM
167
Rumi said...

I am a Japanese girl who loves your cakepops.
I am so glad your book was translated in Japanese and will be sold in my country.

Regarding your question about the words in the circle, it says “Japanese version”.

Wishing you the best of luck with your cakepops!

January 2, 2012 12:02 AM
168
Cindy Ince said...

I wish you all the best in 2012 – I too had a kidney transplant in 2008. I was blessed with the gift of life from my husband Rick. All you said in your post about your feelings were so close to my own and I’m sure many others. Your post gave a great perspective and surely helped others to understand. I chuckled at your pill box as it looks like mine, it is so mind blowing that we take so many pills everyday. Thank You for shareing…. Blessing to you and your family <3

January 2, 2012 12:03 AM
169
Deb said...

I have been keeping up on your website for over a year now, I was glad to see you posted your progress then & I was happy that you posted this one. I also did not want the post to end :) & like 100 plus people before me said< you are truely an inspiration & an amazing person! Im so glad that everything is going so well for you & your mom. Thanks for keeping us all posted, we all love you for more than just your cake pops!

January 2, 2012 12:03 AM
170
Rain Corr said...

We are blessed to have you still with us. What a wonderful gift from mother to daughter, and your sharing with us. Thank you!

January 2, 2012 12:07 AM
171
Karen @ Sugartown Sweets said...

Hello Miss Angie!! I feel as if I know you personally now. Your post has me a bit teary eyed. I am so happy you and your sweet Mom are doing so well :) Yours is the first blog I ever saw..way back in December ’09. I just loved everything you were creating. Your amazing sweet treats inspired me to be more creative myself! I’ve always loved making anything sugar related, but you single-handedly got me off my sofa and into my kitchen to “just do it”! Thank you-Thank you-Thank you :o) You’ve changed so many peoples lives including mine. Hugs to you and your mom Sandy. May God continue to keep you in great health.

January 2, 2012 12:07 AM
172
Cheryl W. said...

Thanks for sharing. So happy that you’re doing well and what an amazing mom you have! Here’s hoping 2010 is the best year yet for all of us!

January 2, 2012 12:13 AM
173
anita said...

Angie, though I never could get the hang of cake pops, at least not without tears, I’ve found creative inspiration and enjoyment on your blog Which I regularly follow. Just want to say how much I appreciated you sharing so honestly with all of us in this post. It’s an honor to know more of what you’ve faced throughout this year and I pray and hope continued health and recovery for you in the coming new year. Oh yeh, and I adore your mom!

January 2, 2012 12:14 AM
174
Marthie said...

I’m so happy that you made it through 2011. It sounded so tough for you and I can only imagine. My aunt before had to do kidney dialyses until she finally had a transplant. It’s some tough stuff. I hope 2012 brings you continuous success with your cake pops and a healthy life :)

January 2, 2012 12:14 AM
175
Jakelyn Piccoli said...

I love this post and I love the fact that you are better even more!!

January 2, 2012 12:16 AM
176
Tina From New Baltimore, Mi. said...

This made me smile. So happy for you and your future. Here’s to a wonderful 2012!

January 2, 2012 12:18 AM
177
Karen N said...

I’m not Japanese, nor can I read it, but those characters in the circle are also Chinese characters as well. I’m pretty sure it just says “Japanese”, as in the book is in the language Japanese.

January 2, 2012 12:26 AM
178
ToqueGirl said...

Wow, this is truly inspiring. Really. ! I’ve made some of your recipes, and they were delicious! Thank you :) Happy New Years to you and your mom

January 2, 2012 12:27 AM
179
Neesie said...

Wow…what a year!
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. I’m so pleased that everything is going so well….you deserve the best.
Both you and you’re mum are amazing woman.

Good Luck for a wonderful 2012 ;D

January 2, 2012 12:34 AM
180
Angie said...

You are such an inspiration. Through all of the issues with your kidney, you stayed strong and your story has truly moved me. Best wishes :)

January 2, 2012 12:34 AM
181
Jamie said...

This post was fascinating, raw, powerful and real. People are attracted to you because of your unique ability to coomunicate to us through your blog as though you are talking to us in the same room. Your journey has been incredible. I’m so happy for you that your mom was able to help you…pretty incredible.
I’m in my first year of nursing school, this post has definitely provided inspiration and I hope to get patients just like you in the future.
Happy New Year to you!

January 2, 2012 12:37 AM
182
Nikki said...

Crap, you made me cry. But really, I don’t mind, it seems like such a small thing considering the tears you must have shed.

Thank goodness you are doing so much better and that your beautiful Mum gave you such an amazing gift. You inspire me to forget those niggly little complaints and live life to the full, making the most of every day.

Thank you for your story, you kept me hooked till the end and I even peeked at the icky pictures :) A very happy, amazing, wonderful and adventurous 2012 to you and your family, it’s gonna rock!

Nikki
Eveningsong Ink

January 2, 2012 12:38 AM
183
Glory/ Glorious Treats said...

Thank you so much for sharing more details of your year with us! I have been reading your blog since 2007, only a few months after your first posts, and I have enjoyed each and every post along the way. You are so very talented and creative, and an inspiration to many people in a huge variety of ways!

January 2, 2012 12:40 AM
184
Christine N said...

Some of those meds look familiar; I’m a heart transplant patient. Good luck to you in the new year!!!

January 2, 2012 12:40 AM
185
Ann Denner said...

I wanted to let you know you really helped spark a love for creative baking in me, & build a tad of confifdence. While I can not seem to get the nake for amazing cake pops I have enjoied created cakes for friends & family alot lately & I plann to save up for your book & cake pop kit I think they would be fun to perfect. I know you are blessed & feel those blessings & that is why I enjoy you so You don’t take your days & who you spend them with for granted, & I try to live that way even though my crowd is smaller & more humble, wishing you Love & Health in 2012 Thank you for being you.

January 2, 2012 12:41 AM
186
Danielle @ Belleza e Luce said...

Here’s to you and your mom! Two of the most amazing and inspiring women I know. Wishing you continued success in 2012 and beyond!

January 2, 2012 12:42 AM
187
Jenna Short said...

you are an inspiration!
I wish you only health in the new year!

January 2, 2012 12:47 AM
188
Terri said...

I enjoy your blog so much and feel like I’ve gotten to know you so well through your posts. Thank you for sharing your talents and your struggles. Your photography is beautiful and your writing is witty and fun to read. This post was not the most fun to read, :) but it was a great essay on this past year for you and was interesting and inspiring. I wish you health and happiness! Thanks for opening up this window into your life for all of us see.

January 2, 2012 01:00 AM
189
Christine said...

I admire you and your strength so much. Glad to hear you’re doing well!

January 2, 2012 01:05 AM
190
Brenda said...

Once you begin to read you can”t stop. Really emotional; laugh some times, sad others. Congratulation for your success in everything.

January 2, 2012 01:06 AM
191
cecily ruvalcaba said...

such a beautiful post.

January 2, 2012 01:14 AM
192
Sarah R said...

what an inspiring post and year!! So pleased that your transplant is doing well. And may I say, you are looking fabulous! that weight gain obviously disappeared again. Wishing you a wonderful and healthy 2012.

January 2, 2012 01:14 AM
193
Susan said...

Such a mind-blowing year! I couldn’t imagine going through dialysis and a kidney transplant. What a wonderful blessing you have in your mother, and what an amazing year for your cake pops! So glad that you came though with flying colors! (So loved to see it didn’t affect your wave or gorgeous smile!) Hope you have a fabulous 2012!

January 2, 2012 01:18 AM
194
laura said...

I used to be a dialysis tech, long ago. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, but look at you!! Staying motivated and keeping a smile on your face. Here’s to wishing you a healthy and happy 2012.

p.s. I got your Cake Pops book for Christmas. I can’t WAIT to try out a recipe.

January 2, 2012 01:21 AM
195
Country Girl in the City said...

Loved reading this entire post, even the parts with blood(I’m a veterinary nurse – I even did peritoneal dialysis on a dog once!) What a year for you, I’m glad things are going so much better for you. I love reading what you have to say and I even give hubby updates about you once in a while.

Happy New Year!
Margaret

January 2, 2012 01:27 AM
196
PupCakes said...

Sending you and your mom wishes for continued good health and many wonderful adventures in 2012 and for many years to come.

I read every word of your post and marvel at your resiliency and your faith. You wrote from the heart and I hope that a wise publisher asks you to write an entire book about your experiences. You have a lot to tell and your inspiration is wonderful.

You have instructed the world in the art of cakepops but you have also taught people about the things that matter most in life like love and generosity of spirit. You are amazing!

January 2, 2012 01:50 AM
197
Shannon said...

I love your blog and I hope you stay around for a long time so that I can keep following you!

January 2, 2012 01:52 AM
198
tori said...

I am so happy you and your mom are doing well! Happy New Year! You are an inspiration to all of us with the passion for baking and now for so many more.

January 2, 2012 01:59 AM
199
Viktoria - Pinkpastry said...

What a journey! Its been fun as always following you, and at least buy yoour book here in sweden too. Whising you an awsome 2012, big hugs from Sweden!

January 2, 2012 02:09 AM
200
Michelle said...

Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Blessed New Year!

January 2, 2012 02:17 AM
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