Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Given the opportunity to receive an organ transplant is half of the equation. The entire time while researching the possibility I was making myself very aware of what I was getting into. Time was of the essence but I had to look into many important aspects of the path I wanted to undertake. First of all, facing my own mortality was something that would change my views, constantly, although, I have to say I was never afraid to die I did think about it quite often. This subject was particularly hard to talk about with Heather; it broke my heart everytime and I would fall deeper in love with her. While doing a hypnotherapy session my teacher asked me that question and I explained to her that it was difficult for me to be afraid about death simply because I had not experienced it and that, when the time came, I would just move onto it as another chapter in my life or a time to travel as the Mayans would have considered.
To be honest, basically my brain could not register something that I had not experienced. I know you may think, well Rowan, you are crazy, you can't experience death; once you're gone you're gone. True and that's a fact, the point is that I was very much alive; I love my life and I wanted to keep on living so even thou I thought about death often some how I just new inside my time to move to that level was not to arrive yet; at least not now or until I had finished what I set out to do with my life. Living my dreams and on the way try to enable at anytime possible other people's dreams. Specially those of who I immensely love most; my family.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that I was not afraid of death myself but the reason why I thought about it so much was because of the things I would not had been able to do if I would die. It killed me to think I would not be able to see my daughter Kaya grow in to a beautiful woman and see her become her own person and see her living her dreams. It totally pissed me off to think about would I be death not to be able to enjoy the rest of my life with the most wonderful woman I had ever known. Heather and I have been married for 15 years. Our life have been so rich and we have had so many adventures and gone through so many things together,she is my best friend. At times I felt if that were to happen it was like I had been cheated. I thought of how we had built this amazing place in our hearts for each other and now what: I'm about to bolt......No way man; Heather to me had become more beautiful than ever, she is my soul mate and to add to the equation she's become so hot ( I have to say this is very important in a relationship; and she's all that) as the years have passed by again....no way Jose; I'm not ready to check out. I said to myself; dude dying its not an option here.
The second thing on my list was the complexity of the surgery. This was as incredible as it was scary but beyond that was Third; the wave of changes I would have to adjust my life to. The amounts of drugs I will have to be under for the rest of my life didn't come without a price; the side effects list was long overwhelming and at times certain. Loosing hair, tremors, swing modes, loosing a bit of sight but the big "C" (Cancer) pose the biggest treat; I mean I have already been dealing with Scleroderma; my autoimmune condition for 6 years and look where it had got me to. I could not possibly get a grip that if I could fix the problem I was in by going through the transplant that could put me be back at the beginning of another race for my life yet again. All in all after I would do the math, there was no a single excuse in my mind not to take my chances. It was all worth it; I wanted to live and the feeling of leaving this wonderful place I was in didn't set in my brain as a choice however; taking the risks did.
I read a couple books while I was getting worse by the weeks but one that really got my attention was Terry McBride's "The Hell I Can't"; the book was given to me by my dear friend Morita who herself was a believer that one can enable yourself to cure oneself. Terry's story was compelling and gripping, although different than my experience we shared a common ground. Our spirits and willingness(called stubbornness) would have so much to do with our drive and passion for life that it will serve us as the greatest vehicle for self discovery, curiosity and most importantly enabling us to create the conduit needed to move into and under take the biggest obstacles we were faced with. Regaining control of our bodies, mind and finding the tools to accomplish the ultimate goal. Contributing to the healing process; yourself. I had chose a completely western approach to under take my situation but I also new that that was only half of the ticket; I need it to play a roll within; be involved in the process and so I went on a quest to find my new "Frame of Mind".
Meditation, Affirmation, I started doing art, I started a blog to open myself to anyone that would read my notes, I had my friend Tyler come in once a week and fly me with Acro Yoga, massage to help my blood circulation and we would also do energy work; most importantly I never gave myself a break regardless that my capabilities were getting cut short. Mobility was very important to me and so I kept myself as active as I could rather than feeling down I went on a trip to finding beauty in everything, in every action and cultured the value of being at the moment. Then I started to focus on how soon I wanted this to happen; I new I had limited time and my body was working hard. I have had the chance to know how it felt to be fit and I new what being strong felt like. My body was going down but my mind had all this knowledge and even thou physically I could not perform the neurons in my brain that were designated for those tasks were still shouting commands at me. Rowan; you are on your way stay focus and visualize everything materializing in front of your eyes; I would say this to myself everyday and especially during those 7 weeks before my transplant. Things came to reality so suddenly I'm still processing the levels of complexity that has taken to come to this side of the road from where I was. At times when trying to explain this to people still seems very surreal or like it never happen. but I know where I was and where I'm now, my life has taken me to some amazing roller coasters but my new "Frame of Mind" has empower me beyond my wildest dreams. Life is so beautiful and when your mind has the capacity to soak it all in and you are ready to surrender you can realize that dreams do come true. You have to put your mind into it.
Please come back and check: Catching my Breath: Part- 4 Ready-Set-Go
Monday, December 8, 2008
Dear Love Ones,
Words can not convey a feeling when as powerful as the one I'm currently experiencing. All through out this journey I have been able to touch so many lives as well as the lives that have come to touch mine alike. My journey has been an incredible vehicle for awareness of goodness in this amazing community I'm so honor to be part of. From day one people came from so many places and with so much support it is just incredible to say the least.
The two main fundraiser; The full lung Capacity Comp at Iron Works(The Melvin Gang, you guys are amazing) and the Recycle Life Fundraiser at Pizzaiolo (Charlie everything you touch , you make it good) could not have been better in fact there were egregious and of course they could not have come to reality thanks to the high energy and amazing work of such an incredible committee, you guys rock the house in truly ruckus fashion!
So many people to mane it will be almost unfair just to list a bunch here, you know who you are. From family and friends to people who just happen to come across my blog and became involved just because this journey touch a note they could not disregard; may all our life's keep on rising.
Four key people I want to acknowledge because I really tested their strength to the full extend of human capacity are, my wife Heather to whom I'm for ever grateful to have been sharing my life for the past 15 years and now the endless possibilities that await us. You truly held it together to the core, your man is back so lean on me. I love you so much. My daughter Kaya whose energy, witty personality and love inspired me everyday, Heather we made a good one. My brother Juan Jose who team up with me from day one to bring me back to self and while living in SF played a major roll in my early recovery after surgery. We walked miles and miles and listen to a lot NPR, I love you negrito. Last but not least my dear and best friend Chris Bloch who so unconditionally gave everything he had to give in every spectrum to see me rise.Yo Chris; you're a rock star, you have brought so much happiness to my life and family, we wish to be able to be there for you for the rest of our lives; you are one of us and we love you so much. You are my Dagw; we made it man!!
It is hard to keep it simple when something of this magnitude takes place in someones life; so I will cut this now because I want to keep writing in the year to come and I know there will be so much more to share. I will after next week continue posting where I left regarding my trip to UCSF and all in details for you to revive that with me; so come back after Dec 15Th for another chapter of Catching My Breath! It only get better and better.
Much Love, Rowan
Monday, October 13, 2008
Back in the early 90's I had spearheaded a new movement that would eventually create a new demand and forge a new category for music in Nor-Cal. Although Rock en Espanol had its early beginnings in this country dating back to the 50's and 60's it had never taken a full identity. Rock en Espanol became the new talk in town through the Bay Area and right after showcasing my new band a surge of new groups started to clone. Los Angeles had seen the same surge and demand for the ranga but being so close to the border the sound generated was highly influenced by Mexico. The Bay Area wide cultural diversity offered something different and the movement was in its infancy. Clubs all over started opening the doors for this new sound eventually giving birth to "La Rockola", the best and only place to see the cream of the cream of the new movement of latin rockers emerging in the Bay. "La Rockola" was featured every Sunday at the famous "Berkeley Square". This venue was brought to reality by the Caipo brothers, Eddie and Juan Manuel who at the same time, along with me, would plant a seed for underground sonic history. OriXa became one of the most sought after Latin Alternative outfits in the US; the brain child of myself and long time music partner Juan Manuel Caipo. My life as a local celebrity in the music scene of the Bay Area was a humble achievement. By 2003 the band was ever demanding and we had started working on our upcoming album "Siembra"; a process that would takes us 2 years to complete and what later would become our breaking point.
At the same time my life was taking another turn…my daughter, Kaya, was born in April 2003. By the end of 2003 it seemed as though I had conquered my menaces; Scleroderma didn't pose a threat anymore or at least it seemed that way. Kaya gave new meaning to everything. Without her and without the support of my family and friends I think I would have fallen into darkness. As time passed I learned more about my condition and all of its possible scenarios. Undertaking this situation would force me to face the greatest battle of my life.
No one could prepare me for my next chapter. Having stabilized the condition for almost 2 years gave me great hope and I kept on trucking. Early 2005 "Siembra" was a reality and the boys and I were ready to take over the world. The record was hot and all we needed was the right timing and the right place to diffuse our artistic concept. By 2006 OriXa was going strong. We were on the top of things - MTVes was giving us love, due to our our strong single "Siembra" with a video directed by Leonardo Ricagni from Mojo- A Band Apart; a small independent film company owned by Quentin Tarantino. We were playing great shows and doing what we love. I was in heaven. Even though I knew I was fighting a monster I was still able to hang in there and do what I was made for, music. Playing great shows with some of our peers, hanging out, playing the Fillmore with Café Tacuba, El Tri, touring with La Maldita, hitting New York, LA and our very own Bay Area. I was breathing it, living it. My life seemed perfect. Kaya was thriving, family life was beautiful and music was there to support me. I was a Rock Star.
Towards the end of 2007 we all started to fade within our circle. OriXa had been at it for almost 13 years, especially Juan Manuel and I. The band and I started to lose momentum and what had begun as a great year was slowly deteriorating, and so was my health. One of the potential issues that could occur with this condition is that it could attack my internal organs. I was diagnosed with a mild form of systemic scleroderma, however, that was not enough to rule out the possibility for it to turn into something fatal.
OriXa and I decided to take a hiatus from the scene; this was something we all had personally agreed to as we felt we have had a good run for awhile and were due a much needed break. Our last release “Siembra”, which we were very proud of, seemed to have done great things for an independent band but, in the end, we were overshadowed by the greater forces of the industry, lacked a strong management team and most of all, any financial backing to enable our work to be marketed to reach the masses. “Siembra” did not tap its highest potential. At times we felt sad, frustrated and even angry. Letting go felt very hard but we all took space, went in different directions and decided to focus on our personal lives and interests.
2007 began with a strange blue feeling. It was hard to imagine that OriXa would be asleep for a whole year or even more but I was okay with it and it was time to get back to raise my game regarding my condition. I was in it for life so I had to really take the time to focus my energy and pour myself into finding what could make me better. Not having the pressure of the band would give me more time to stay focused.
In April 2007 I started to notice that I was running out of breath rather often. This sensation had started towards the end of 2006 but since I was always a very active individual I didn’t pay much attention. In fact, OriXa’s performances were always praised for the high energy I brought into it. I mountain biked, rock climbed, snowboarded. I never questioned it and convinced myself that I was just a little out of shape. After taking a Pulmonary Function Test it was clear to me that that was not the situation. Reality had struck again. The condition had manifested in my lungs, and a very slow but certain progression was at work. Relentless amounts of tests determined that this was real, and I was put on a new trial of drugs to find the perfect cocktail to stabilize its progression. By the end of the year I had lost 20 pounds in 6 months. This was due to the fact that I had lost 50% of my diffuse capacity, the lungs ability to transfer gases. Scleroderma was thickening and damaging the alveolar walls of my lungs. This made my body work 3 times as hard, consuming 3 times the amount of calories than an average person. Basically I had turned into a runner without running at all. Breathing had become a very difficult task, I had to move slowly to avoid exerting my system, at times needing supplemental oxygen to keep my oxygen saturation levels up to pace.
A few months after I started researching and learning about lung transplants I came to very much contemplate the possibility. I had learned through my research that I was a potential candidate for it. Learning about the risks but also the high cost of it completely shocked my world and emotionally taxed my spirit. This is something beyond what I had ever imagined. Emotionally there was no parallel however; there was something beyond my own understanding that was telling me this was my window of opportunity and I had to take my chances. This would not cure me from the condition but would bring me back to somewhat of normal functionality, making me breath hard and strong, allowing me to sing again and, most importantly, to achieve what everyone should have - a better quality of life. Lung transplants are very much at the cutting edge of technology and most people with transplants get to live fuller lives. Within months, in most cases people are back to riding bikes, exercising and having pretty normal lung capacity. Of course, there are lots of risks involved such as rejection and infection, but these are part of the road to take and that feeling inside me kept telling me I needed to tackle this moment without hesitation if I were to enable my own dreams. I learned that 1 out every 5 calls of a potential donor may turn into a false alarm; this was because at times the organ my not be what the doctors are looking for. I basically reprogrammed my mind and told myself: Rowan, one call one time we'll fly.
Stay tune for Catching my Breath: Part 3- Frame of Mind
One Love, Rowan
Thursday, October 9, 2008
It had been just about seven weeks since I got listed for a lung transplant. The first week felt like a long year and then the following ones kind of went on a glide rule by the mundane of my daily grind. I'd wake up around 6 am or so and just kind of stay still on the couch and enjoy that moment of a regular heart rate at about 88/89 BPM while breathing 8 liters of O2 per minute; however, anticipating that the moment I would decide to move into a sitting position, my pulse would race fast like a pika looking for a hole to hide from its predator. This, along with my need for a higher saturation of oxygen, would send me into what would be part of my ultimate daily task - Trying to catch my breath.
Breathing is such natural thing to do. It is very hard to explain in words the feeling of not being able to do it. I would first try to put my mind into a ready face. I'd slowly remove the covers and proceed to a sitting position; in less than a minute my pulse would get all jacked up as high as 120 BPM, oxygen saturation would drop and the acceleration of my breathing would set off a coughing attack that decreased the chances of catching my breath even farther. Taking control of this will take me at least 20 minutes in which, at that point, I would be so exausted from hacking leaving me feeling like I may as well never have tried to get up to begin with. This was not an option for me; I would just cope and take myself through the process and give it a positive outlook. I would say to myself, Rowan, if you get up you can make it to the stairs and then to the bathroom...ah taking a dump, brushing my teeth and washing my face made the challenge worthwhile and so I will just troop and get it done. This was one of many tasks and I was getting pretty good at it, although the idea of getting good at something of such a nature wasn't appealing. My goal was to keep myself self-sufficient.
Keeping myself active became the name of my game and I would play this hard everyday for the weeks to come. I was very lucky to have been allowed to work from home; this kept my mental and emotional state of mind very high. I also became good at this quick. Working at my desk at home also had me setting a routine that enabled me to stay on top of my game and truly it felt great.
On Saturday Sept 13th Heather and I had a real challenging conversation about my physical state; it had progressively gotten worse in the past 2 weeks and the daily grind was getting a lot harder. Heather had been so strong, so willing and was already so overextended herself to the maximum human capacity that I was determined to do my best to try to keep a balance and do as much as I could on my own...but we both knew reality was creeping in and we needed to assess our next move. I had had a pretty shitty night. I was restless and woke up around 4 am and never went back to sleep. I had spent the day feeling completely taxed. I felt tired and very low energy, so by the time we started talking later that day it was obvious things were about to take a turn for the worst. Just the week before my dear friend Bruce Cornell had dropped a wheelchair for me so I could be taken out for my lab work and possibly some little outings to get fresh air; I had been home bound for over 5 weeks and I longed to see the bay. At this point, taking 5 steps would send me off into the void or what at times I started calling, falling into a bottomless pool. Yep I would have to wheel around.
Heather and I talked about the possibility of maybe bringing someone to assist me during the day, to help me with meals and kind of keep an eye on me. This was something I was not thrilled about but I could see that it was inevitable. Heather simply could not bear any more weight on her already endless responsibilities. I simply replied, "Don't worry, I'm still feeling very strong and I will let you know went I get there." Sunday came and it was a very cool day. I felt great and somewhat energized. I had a feeling of real awe that I could not quite put my finger on so I just rode on that high and did some affirmation work. Heather, Kaya and I had spent the day together playing card games, doing art and hanging out. Kaya was such a doll. After dinner that evening we all sat on the couch to cuddle and we were looking for a movie to watch. Around 8 pm the phone rang and as we sat screening the call, Heather jumped up to grab it when she heard it was UCSF hospital. I was not quite as alarmed since "The call" was supposed to come first through my cellular phone however; this would not be the case.
Heather answered and she was asked if Mr Rowan Jimenez was available; again we were both very unsure about the call until I took the phone and said: "hello, yes this is Rowan Jimenez" and the nurse said, "Mr Jimenez, Dr Hoop wants you to come here tonight for a lung transplant." It took a moment to register the sentence but once she asked if I could be there before 10 pm it just set in. Our jaws dropped and immediately we went into autopilot. I mean it had only been 7 weeks and we were still getting our plot together. Emergency contacts, who will take Kaya while we went to the hospital etc. There was so much we had not completely prepared but the call was here and there was no time to waste. Kaya was calmer than both of us. On her own, she went upstairs to her room and packed a bag with a change of clothes and any other necessities. While in the car driving to San Francisco it all came together; I had been so focused and my aim towards the goal I've been wanting to achieve was about to materialize. Hold fast amigo! I was on my way to get a bilateral lung transplant.
Stay tune for Catching my Breath: Part 2- One out of Five
One love, Rowan
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Dear love ones,
This is one the most amazing moments in my life; together at last. This past weekend I was able to go to the beach with Kaya and Heather, we went to the park, took several walks. It was truly something out this world; I pick up right where I left it about a year ago. I'm so happy.
I know I have not write much about what went on after the call on Sept 14th but believe me that I will; there's just a lot to put together but I wil make sure I share this with you soon. Thanks for the support and love. Also don't forget about the Full capacity comp Nov. 1st at Iron Works; its going to be off the hook!!!!!
Feeling like a Pamplona bull!!
One love, Rowan, Heather and Kaya
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Dear love ones,
I hope you understand; I'm still putting everything in perspective and letting all that just has happen settle in my head. I will let you in pretty soon so hang in there. For one thing the thought of being able to joying my family with my new physical state its so exiting I won't lie and selfishly so its the first thing in my mind and the first thing I want to do. I can't wait to see Kaya and for her to see that papa is not using oxygen anymore; her words on my episode one video stuck with me through out the entire process and hyper fueled my willingness to stay strong and to put on my full metal jacket everyday. I have missed her so much and of course to be able to salsa dance with my beautiful wife Heather again; something she loves so much and that now I'll make sure we do every day.
The next year is going to be critical for my full recovery. Theres a lot ahead but I'm prepare for the task and I'll have my brother Juan as my care giver living with me for the next 6 weeks; I'm so exited for this as he has been such a rock as well and of course all of you whom constantly keep me on your minds and when the moment came blasted the positive wave of energy that carried me through........please don't stop I'll need to surf in it for a while!
OK I'm being release today and I will have a plan for seeing people soon, please e-mail me at email@example.com and will give you an update on a blast. I won the belt on this fight and now as a good champ I need to defend my right to keep it. Bring it on!
Breathing deeper everyday.
One love, Rowan
Monday, September 22, 2008
Dear Love Ones,
I'll be brief but I won't lie I have so much to say...... all I really want to say right now is that it has been a remarkable experience; although my battle its not over yet I have pass through its power crux. Thank you for helping me built the base of such of monumental road. I had a chance to lightly brisk through all your e-mails and I'm so happy to have just a circle of people that care...it took my breath away; but guest what ? It took a second for it to come back!
Much Love from the UCSF Hospital,
Once again, the Rowan you've always known!
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Dear lovely people!
Well its been awhile since I posted some notes; I hope you have enjoyed the videos. My friend Josiah has done the Episode series and Chris "The Block" Bloch did the climbing; I'm so thankful for everything that has happened in the past few weeks. It seems like everything is falling into place and I'm getting closer every breath I take.
Its been 6 and half weeks since I've been on the waiting list and about 5 weeks since I've been homebound. I have been working from home and just staying put for the most part; as you've seen in the videos I've been trying to stay busy and physically strong as well as doing a bit of art for the zazzle store.
At the moment I'm not looking as much as the stud I used to be...but let's just say that given the circumstances being able to stand on my 2 feet is quite a great accomplishment; notwithstanding I'm still making my meals, taking showers, etc all in a kind of slow motion but efficiently.
My dear friend Bruce Cornell a special sponsored athlete from MHW, the company I work for, dropped one of his fancy wheelchairs for me this week. Now let me explain; I'm still able to walk and move around but long distances are definitely a big task so having someone pushing me around if I need to or want to go out is the way to go; I can actually enjoy myself more rather than getting all worked out trying to catch my breath. I had the chance to go out twice this week. These were by no means leisure outings - on Monday, courtesy of Mr. Bloch, I went to get some blood drawn for the Inmunogenetics lab for UCSF, this is for tissue matching...and yesterday, courtesy of my brother Juan, I went to get a bone density scan which is also part of my exams for lung transplant. In all it was great to be out although this didn't go without great physical effort. I have to say that while its been hard adjusting myself to living in this condition I don't complain; I feel it's a waste of time and I'd rather focus on affirmations towards my goal; it was hella fun to be out.
A few days back Heather called my transplant coordinator to check in and jokingly mentioned that we were going to start checking into E-bay for some lungs....she laughed and said don't do that yet. She mentioned that they were getting busy and that a few transplants had been done in the past 2 weeks and that probably I was very close. Again there are a few factors such as size, blood match and quality so.....but I won't deny I'm hoping it comes soon!!!
Anyhow please stay in touch, buy some shirts for the holidays and let friends know how cool they are...and come to the climbing comp/party Nov. 1 at Ironworks in Berkeley. Much love to everyone out there.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Hi Beautiful People,
I keep meeting people through the internet; via my blog , facebook and just people I have come across while surfing the net (one of the time killer things I do on the daily). It's really amazing; the stories of some of these people are very invigorating and really inspiring however; at the same time I have come across some pretty sad stories. This situation has at times bring me to the edge of both spectrums and at times takes me to the "what If's".
I won't lie to you; I have some days where experiencing despair is inevitable; I mean no matter how much positive energy I try to focus on and try to generate for my actual reality I do end up coming across the entrance of what I call the black tunnel. This is why I keep a flash light in my hand; that is my spirit. Somehow this brings me back to a safe place a serenity space where I can call all the shots and view my choices. I'm choosing to fight and to stay alive; I'm determined to stay focused and to visualize my future. I'm a husband, a father an artist a climber but most importantly I've always been a dreamer.
I believe that dreams come true when you are focused and invested in your life on making them happen. I'm fully invested, I'm focused and I believe. I feel for some of the sad stories I've read and I'm glad that they bring perspective to my own story not withstanding I guess we are lucky in our very own way. I'm lucky to be here right now and I'm lucky to have the oportunity to regain my life though this experience. I will continue to stay on the same page, taking one day at the time, one breath at a time and one smile at a time.
Monday, August 4, 2008
Let me think about this for a minute....
Alternative use of this device!
But what it really boils down to...it's all in the Mind!
I'm still waiting...I know it has not been long but.....still it sucks!! Thanks for being out there.
Peace and Love, Rowan
Friday, July 25, 2008
Hi Beautiful People,
I had not been writing for a while as my mind was very preoccupied with all kinds of things, mainly the financial aspect of this challenge. Even thou my wife had taken full responsibility of handling all the communications with the bodies involved and addressing the funds I could not separate myself from the fact that this was a crucial aspect of getting listed and so I went into a downward spiral of discouragement and questioning the reality of all possibilities.
Understanding that lack of money could have potentially thwarted the chances of giving someone the opportunity to continue living is a hard concept to grasp; but unfortunately we live in a world where money plays an incredible role in certain freedoms and in this case to be able to financially afford this opportunity.
I want to give thanks to everyone, dear family and friends, who played a role in the past weeks and that somehow held it together for me, you know who you are and G-pops you are the man. I want to specially thank my wife for being such an amazing human being. Until death due us part was too quick too soon and Heather has shown me she was not ready for that and had put herself so out there to fight for our chance to continue living life to the maximum; I'm now more than ever inspired to keep on going. I'm officially listed and any day now I could be called in; it is as exiting as it is scary because this is just half of the battle. Its a beautiful day!
I met yesterday with Dr. Golden and it was thus far the best meeting yet through the whole process; he was so personal and went so carefully through my history he gave me nothing but kudos and busted my confidence. I've learned I dropped some more of my diffuse capacity which is definitely making me move a lot slower than before and therefore I'm also feeling tired as my body struggles to keep up however; I'm still on my feet and believe it or not I have managed to gain some weight; about 7 pounds. I find this to be remarkable and it is my intention to stay this way until I'm called in for transplant. To all of you out there thanks for keeping me inspired and for all you are doing; whether you are e-mailing me once in a while, getting involved with some of the events soon to take place to keep raising funds or just plain being present; believe your every ounce of energy counts and I will be forever grateful.
Peace and Love, Rowan
Saturday, June 28, 2008
What can I say at this point, way too many thoughts in my mind to compress in some paragraphs but I'll do my best to bleed it slowly but definitely not all at once. Next week I'll be turning 40; most men probably find themselves at this point trying to come to grips with the reality of getting old. The big 40 its a bench mark, if you played it right the big 40 is a pinnacle. I did for the most part. I heard a quote many years ago while listening to a Silvio Rodriguez record; finding these words so profound and inspiring I later used this same quote to start a song on my own record back in 2001 while releasing OriXa's/2012 Elegua Digital.
"There are men that fight one day and are good; there are some men that fight one year and are better but there are those men that fight all their lives. Those are indispensable men"
Turning 40 for me is giving me that sentiment; I'm going to fight for the rest of my life. Surviving the tale from my current situation so I can write the next chapter and share it with the future will be one of many.
I'm facing other issues at my 40's; most importantly I'm not worry about how old I'm getting but rather how much more time I'm going to be given to tap the wealth of life and actually get old. Yes man one of the things I've been thinking lately is how I'm looking forward to that; getting old. To get old with the woman I have come to love more than ever because through it all she's shown me we were meant to mate for life. To see my daughter grow and attack her own life the way I have attacked mine in pursuit of adventure and love. To see her find her passions and exploit them. To cherish every moment and to hold my family on the highest pedestal.
I have now officially learned that I will be listed for lung transplant. This has been a big accomplishment not withstanding what still lays ahead, the hills to come are going to be steep and not easy to climb but my fighting spirit is ready and I will strategically knock them one by one. Please check out all the information regarding my donation fund and do your best to get involved and spread the word among your own circles of friends to reach out. Visit the JimeneZ site at my space for some ear candy and keep rooting for me as I enter the octagon of the UFCFL(Ultimate Fighting Championships for Life). I won't let you down; I've been training for this all my life!!
Love and Peace, Rowan
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Hay Beautiful People,
I want to begin this blog with some thoughts and a epiphany. We are all in death row; yes we are all going to die some day.
We can not control when we land and when we at times suddenly have to go but we do have some kind of control over the choices we make in between. I have been given a second chance while in death row. I was in my boxed life and my sentence was delivered. For a moment execution time kept lurking by a near corner and unexpectedly I had an appeal to regain another chance at the fabulous opportunity to be alive. Being alive is such a complex endeavor but being dead, how complicated can that be? I have been confronting my own mortality for several months now and I started to laugh. Yes for as morbid as it sounds I was laughing and that laughter resonated so hard that's when I realize; I've been playing my own life world cup and the ice breaker pass had been thrown at me to kick the ultimate goal and win seconds shy to ending the first half.
Even though I have always played hard this epiphany has made me realize so many things. There's so much I want to do, so many people I like to reach; having the opportunity to go at it for a second half I will make sure to play with much more devotion and freedom, with much love and passion. Is with this note I want to acknowledge all my friends and family, all my team mates and partners in crime for keeping the faith and cheering me for what's to come in my second go.
By next week I will officially be listed to receive a lung transplant at UCSF; I will be meeting with the medical team, transplant coordinator and the financial office to get all the paper work necessary to close the deal. Again there's yet much more work ahead. Waiting can take anything from 3 to 6 months. There's has been cases when this takes only weeks(I would love for that to be my case so keep your fingers crossed) but I need to be realistic and stay focus. My goal is to maintain, maintain, maintain my physical shape and stay mentally on line.
Soon I will be sending some e-mails to all my network as I also will began preparation for fund rising and creating an account where all donations will go for the purposes of enabling me to cope with the cost of the whole process. More details on this subject to come. In the meantime keep the love high, hold fast as we're going for a ride.
"Hasta la Victoria Siempre" Che
PS: "Hold Fast; Here We Go" Rowan playing hard in Fontainbleu-France 2002
picture by Randy Puro
Friday, June 13, 2008
Hello Dear Friends,
I hope all is well with you out there; for some of you in the Bay Area I hope you had a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather in the past week. I really wish I could get my butt to the beach but it would require quite a bit of work however; I've been able to enjoy it in different ways, stepping into the garden and chilling out in a hammock and yes I had a couple of Mojitos and a few beers. At least for now I can still enjoy a bit of those vices as it all may change after surgery. Here's my latest findings.
You'll be glad to find out as much as I was that my heart is strong as bull; even thou my right side has enlarge a little due to the pulmonary hypertension created by the condition the doctors found no reason to prescribe any medication and lifted the the flag on my cardiovascular condition as to be of no problem while under going lung transplant surgery.
Everything else is also OK as per all my results have shown the rest of my body is doing well. My GI track still may need some work however; they may do this after surgery if need be as there is the possibility that medication can help the reflux. I have lost another 6 to 7 Lbs due to the way my body burn calories but I'm planing to attack this by stuffing myself more with protein shakes between meals and just eating like there's no tomorrow, I'm still working and very mobile so it is not an alarming situation as is all part of what my body is going through; I just don't want to let it go because I need to be as strong as possible before surgery. So to all my chef friends come on over and cook me a meal whenever you want!!!
I had the chance to met Dr. hoops the pulmonary surgeon yesterday; it was brief but nice. We did not talk much as it was kind of a drive by introduction while crossing paths in the clinic's hallway and we did not have an official appointment to met. The transplant team will be meting in 2 weeks to finally go through all my results and discuss the final details before putting me on the list. I have to be honest I can't help but feel impatience at times but considering the amount of time it has taking me to get to this point it has not been long and everything has so far gone in the right direction; patience is a virtue and I have to be humble about this opportunity.
You have to understand something here; for a dude like me that is so hungry for life chewing my days and hours under this sluggish period can be agonizing at times. I have to say I'm learning a whole a lot about appreciation and the true value of what at any given moment we have while we here. I love my family more than ever and I'm so privilege to have them. True friendships harvest the fruitful values for what they were planted and love shows up in you doorstep in many forms. I'll keep moving forward and I hope you follow me all the way as I look forward to celebrate life with you all.
Peace and Love, Rowan
Saturday, May 31, 2008
In the midst of all keeping myself at peace and with a positive outlook has not been full of therapies and mental exercises; honestly I have a natural instinct in me that taps into the most basic needs. Sound is one of those needs and the music in me is more than ever wanting to come out. Although I have had to put things in hold due to my condition I was lucky enough to have had recorded quite a bit of those sounds last year that by now I can find myself with plenty to do behind a mixing board.I want to send a big shout out to my brother, partner in crime and music producer Juan Manuel Caipo for enabling me to keep creative; for all his love, guidance, patience and amazing talent.
"Quattro " is a music project I envision in late 2006. A few years ago while I picked up a cuatro( not pun intended ; but pun intended) which is a traditional Venezuelan four string guitar I started teaching myself some Simon Diaz tunes and just kind of brisking through cords while strumming wildly suddenly I felt I could write some original stuff keeping the integrity of the instrument and so I began exploring. I started pouring myself into it. One thing led to the next and everything was in front of me. Of about tent songs 4 of them became the pinnacle of what would become "Quattro" and over all what this number started to represent. I live my life passionately by my four senses; touch, smell,taste and site. April of last year Kaya had turn 4 and towards the end of the year my brother Arnoldo had passed away; he was just 46. He was the 4Th of six kids me being the 5Th.
By now this number has taking a special and profound meaning and these four songs definitely carry a special sentiment. Not all the final mixes are done but as I get closer I want to share then with you. I hope they inspire you and take you places. I want to thank everyone that has send me their words of love and support; you guys rock and make me want to keep on rockin'. Take a listen jimenezmuzik
Stay in touch!
One Love, Rowan
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Believe it or not just because I'm going through what I'm going through does not mean I can also get lost in my own selfish patterns of what I think is important to me and just go about doing that and nothing else. Well is a bit more complicated for me I guess, as one of those things I've been doing a lot is taking it easy. Yep just straight up taking it easy. Rest is provably one of those things I need to do the most these days and I have to be creative in the many ways I go about it. Yeah I've been watching some TV, I won't lie is really easy to lay down and chill but man what happen to TV is crazy!
How many reality shows can possibly exist? I even have fantasize of pitching my own reality show. I mean I'm not looking for my flavor of love, don't want to become a Latin Rap Star(they haven't pitch this one yet..they got Viva Hollywood; the search for the newest soap opera Latino Star host by Maria Conchita Alonzo....Ay Dios mio!!!!), my pets are well behave, don't need a super nanny, don't need to go to rehab. I really need to think this one; what would I call my reality show? Let see; Looking for my 9Th life? Fat Chance, Iron Lung, Spare a Breath.....see I have lots time in my hands while I'm resting these days. I love the animal channel too and find the Soup to be hilarious.
Any how; the catheterization exam went well. It was quite an experience and was definitely a bit painful. The results were good, not clogged arteries, nice working valves, and the pressure on the right side of my heart was not significantly severe that it would be in any way a cause of trouble for diminishing my chances of candidacy. I believe we are looking really good. Regarding my esophagus, the doctor explained to me that the best way to go about it would be via surgery. At this point I need to wait for the medical team to met and discuss whether this will be done prior or after transplant.
The other day I got really exited as I received a box from the Immunogenetics Transplant Lab requesting a sample of my blood by not later than June 10Th. A small note in it read: This is in order to to consider you for any lung offers we may receive in your behalf. I called and ask my transplant coordinator what did that meant and was I officially accepted it in the club?
As they getting you pretty close to enter the list they start collecting these samples on the monthly basis as it can not be older that a month in order to find the appropriate match. Again to me this is only an indicative that I'm closer that ever and the thought of it has me very exited but again; I must remain focus and keep my mind in check as there's still lot of hard work ahead.Thanks for hanging in there I
hope all is well.
PS: Let's think about that name eh; think reality mets documentary...that would be a good way to make some funds and create awareness!!
One Love, Rowan
Saturday, May 3, 2008
Lately as I slowly and fiercely bleed out who and where I'm today I have began to look at people differently. I'm not judging people or creating this vague understanding of who they are. I'm putting people in a open space. Not everyone feels confident enough at times to reveal their true self and believe me when I say it took a while for me to get where I'm. I have told you; at times I was so pissed off at the card I was dealt I would be in a funk for hours, and I'm not talking about James Brown funky, I'm talking about foul funky.
I would pull myself together, rewind my attitude and press play again. It took a minute for me to realize the amount of energy I was wasting and how inefficient my mind was working. When I when public and started to reach out to people; feeling vulnerable made me stronger and I now have an incredible balance.
Looking at people on an open space has giving me even more balance. As I started to get responses I started to pay attention and decided that no matter how they came into this new space I was in I was going to make sure I keep it open. I have found some of my friends or people have become distance, not present at all or become more present than ever.
I guess this are moments where these things resonate the most and in my case, it has been the goal not to expect everyone to feel the same but in one way create some awareness on how friendship impacts our lives and how the true value of reality can upset each individual perception and either makes you react or completely shut down. Understanding this has been amazing, specially now.
Wanting to write about this got fire started by a conversation with some people and friends, some who were interested in known if everyone I new had become aware of my situation and if they had contacted me. If I cared to hear from people or if I was scared. All of this I put in perspective and my answers were, no I did not care if people answered; my goal was to let everyone know where I was, open my space and let them know they were in my mind and not I'm not scared.
I'm going to ride this Jaw size wave like a champ until is over, stop swimming to reach the shore take a deep breath and go wow. Some of you may clap and cheer, some of you may had keep looking from the distance and say; the dude made it let's keep rolling. I know now life is made up as you go and everything you touch and come across becomes a part of it, that's what makes you who you are.
I'll have more updates in the weeks to come, so far I got nutting but sunshine!!
Friday, May 2, 2008
Simple pleasures of life, that's all I want to achieve as I patiently wait and swim with the flow of this process. The O2 is working great and I'm feeling pretty energize. I've been busy at work and so my mind has been a little off set but I think this weekend I'll be writing about some pretty interesting thoughts and some conversations I had with people. Life is a crazy place but boy is beautiful!
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Well I got some news, talked to UCSF transplant coordinator last Friday and basically before being sign up I need to complete one more stage that requires a few more tests, yes a few more test....bring it!
The The UCSF transplant team have a very meticulous protocol when it comes to dealing with patients such as I due to my condition. Sometimes Scleroderma patients may need special assessment on other organs specially the esophagus as at time we may develop some motility problems and reflux conditions. This need to be address before giving the flag for transplant as to know how critical it can be and how they need to approach finding the right therapy to solve any possible scenarios.
What happens here is that when you have motility problems the muscles of your esophagus do not move food properly down the tube to your stomach and then while having acid reflux aspiration can send some of those acids into your lungs. They want to avoid any of this from happening once you have a set of nice new lungs so I will be seeing gastroenterologist that can look into that area and discuss our options. Sometimes drugs can be helpful, sometimes a small procedure may be require.
I do have some small motility function problems on the upper track and some reflux however; I'm not experiencing as some severe cases do problems swallowing food. I'm pretty sure my problems can be control and treated and so the plan is to know exactly what to do.
I will also be seeing the cardiologist and taking a cardio Catheterization Test. I have also been instructed to get updates of a series of vaccines: Hepatitis A-B, Tetanus Shoot, Pneumonia, Skin TB test and Flu Shoot( to me this is kind of an indicative that....YES! I won't say it as I don't want to jinx anything but you know what I want to say....YES!) so I'm staying focus and moving towards my goal. I can't deny that I have moments of questioning my reality but spending time with my girls Kaya and Heather my will, my desire and in some very strange way my sense of duty(with this meaning I feel there's so much I need to do here) tells me it's going to be alright, I'm not done here yet and I know it's going to be tough but I will prevail and there for I need to keep my head up and aim my energy towards success. I have a busy week coming up but I'll stay on top of things and let you know more!
Rock on and Let's go Big!
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The more vulnerable you become the more you can feel. I tell you for a while dealing with these whole thing was not so much a task but it was taking quite a bit of energy. Not wanting to feel vulnerable and wanting to appear strong now have the same meaning instead of two completely different things.
I went public at work today, after assessing all I needed to continue working and presenting it to my HR dept and my own personal department we were all cool. I had a concentrator delivered at my office and named it RjO2; I now understand why Luke Skywalker always had R2D2 by his side. I tactically installed the O2 tubes to allow me free mobility while using my computer and working desk. I sent a blast to a selected group of people; I mean MHW has become such of big company I now barely know half of the people however; I was lucky enough to start working there with the OG's of the company and I feel myself as an OG too. I e-mailed every OG I new.
The result was truly amazing. The sentences were brief but full of positive vibes; some could not believe I was in the middle of what most people would consider a highly lethal fire zone, fully vulnerable but there I was dogging the bullets with a smile, fearless and accurate movement. I open myself to be vulnerable, to feel pain and to release and instead turned into this massive ball of energy that is bouncing off everything that its being trown at it. I can't explain it but one thing is for sure I'm feeling strong...it is possible the extra oxygen has to do something with it; but really the more I expose myself the more capable I feel.
Tomorrow the doc's have a meting to discuss various cases and mine is provably one of then. When you go to bed tonight visualize me with a new set of lungs and if we ever went climbing, playing music, dancing together awhile back(I don't know I use to do all kind of crazy stuff ) make yourself vulnerable enough so that you can have a really strong feeling that we'll be doing that again; I know I will.
Keep on Rocking!
Much Love, Rowan
Monday, April 21, 2008
I have been going through the evaluation process at UCSF for lung transplant; I have yet to received the OK to be entered in the listings but I'm very hopeful that I will. At this point I have had about 15 different test one of them being a cardiac eco which revealed a bit of pressure in my heart due to the extra work is doing to compensate for my lack of diffuse capacity. It was added to my daily therapy the use of Oxygen 24-7; this was something I kind of new was inevitable.
So far so good I actually feel better; just kind of weird having this cannula in my face at all times but hay it works. Still working and trying to stay super active in any possible way I can without over taxing my body. This its been hard but I'm actually getting better at it. I'm just getting around into the details of some of the fund raisers I like to do and other form of getting all my friends to network with me as I learn more abut all the financial protocols.
I honestly want to thank you all for hanging in there with me. Everyday I get more psyched and I just know even thou its going to be a big kick in my ass that I will come up to the top. I will write more in the days to come and as I get the final results.. I will be be going in for a day exam call a cardiac catheterization, to make sure my heart is in optimum shape which I know it is, this exam is a little more invasive than the eco but a lot more accurate. I'll keep you all posted. Please keep on sending your good vibes and love. Its really working!!
Rock on, Rowan
Dear Friends and Music Lovers,
I first want to say that I hope this note finds you well. It ‘s been a while since OriXa and I decided to take a hiatus from the scene; this was something we all had personally agreed to as we felt we have had a good run for a while and were due a much needed break. Our last release at the end of 2005 “Siembra”, which we were very proud of, seemed to be doing great things for an independent band but, in the end, we were overshadowed by the greater forces of the industry and lacking a strong management team and most of all any financial backing to enable our work to be marketed to reach the masses. “Siembra” did not tap it highest potential. At times we felt sad, frustrated and even angry. Letting go felt very hard but we all took space, went in different directions and decided to focus on our personal lives and interests.
On a personal level, this was no match for what was to come. 6 years ago I was diagnosed with Scleroderma, an autoimmune condition that could potentially take a turn for the worst. I fought the condition with resilience, taking every moment to reflect on life and do my best. On the clinical side I was able to find a specialist who helped me to stabilize the progression of the condition through some severe drug therapy. On the emotional level, family, friends and music played the greatest role in letting me achieve even more stability. I went ahead and pushed forward, trying to live as normal a life as possible.
OriXa was ever demanding and as I started working on Siembra my life was taking another turn…my daughter Kaya was born in April 2003. By the end of 2003 it seemed as though I had conquered my menaces. Kaya gave new meaning to everything. Without her and without the support of my family and friends I think I would have fallen into darkness. As time passed I learned more about my condition and all of its possible scenarios. Undertaking this situation would force me to face the greatest battle of my life.
No one could prepare me for my next chapter. Having stabilized the condition for almost 2 years gave me great hope and I kept on trucking. Early in 2006 OriXa was going strong. We were on the top of things - MTVes was giving us love, we were playing great shows and doing what we love. I was in heaven. Even though I knew I was fighting a monster I was still able to hang in there and do what I was made for, music. Playing great shows with some of our peers, hanging out and playing the Fillmore with Café Tacuba, El Tri, touring with La Maldita, hitting New York, LA and our very own Bay Area. I was breathing it, living it. My life seemed perfect. Kaya was thriving, family life was beautiful and music was there to support me.
Towards the end of 2007 we all started to fade within our circle. OriXa had been at it for almost 13 years, especially Juan Manuel and I. The band and I started to lose momentum and what had begun as a great year was slowly deteriorating, and so was my health. One of the potential issues that could occur with this condition is that it could attack your internal organs. I was diagnosed with a mild form of systemic scleroderma, however, that was not enough to rule out the possibilities for it to turn into something fatal.
2007 began with a strange blue feeling. It was hard to imagine that OriXa would be asleep for a whole year but I was okay with it and it was time to get back to raise my game regarding my condition. I was in it for life so I had to really take the time to focus my energy and pour myself into finding what could make me better. Not having the pressure of the band would give me more time to stay focused.
In April 2007 I started to notice that I was running out of breath rather often. This sensation had started towards the end of 2006 but since I was always a very active individual I didn’t pay much attention. In fact, OriXa’s performances were always praised for the high energy I brought into it. I mountain biked, rock climbed, snowboarded. I never questioned it and convinced myself that I was just a little out of shape. After taking a Pulmonary Function Test it was clear to me that that was not the situation. Reality had struck again. The condition had manifested in my lungs, and a very slow but certain progression was at work. Relentless amounts of tests determined that this was real, and I was put on a new trial of drugs to find the perfect cocktail to stabilize its progression. By the end of the year I had lost 20 pounds in 6 months. This was due to the fact that I had lost 50% of my diffuse capacity, the amount of stretch or expansion your lungs require to function, which makes my body work 3 times as hard, consuming 3 times the amount of calories than an average person. Basically I have turned into a runner without running at all. Breathing has become a very difficult task for me, as I have to move slowly to avoid exerting my system, at times needing supplemental oxygen to keep my oxygen levels up to pace.
I have made peace with my new situation. For awhile I chose to keep it very private. I have now realized that I have actually been isolating myself from the world and from all the things I love. You have to understand that this has not been an easy thing to deal with and that, yes, it took some time for me to come into the light. Feeling angry and pissed off and hoping that I could just take control of it on my own has not been enough. So now I have decided to bring everyone together to help me rise.
A few months ago I started learning about lung transplants and have come to very much contemplate the possibility. I have started to research and found out that I’m a potential candidate for it; I’m in the mist of finding where would this take place but most importantly I’m learning not just about the risks but also the high cost of it, both financially and emotionally. With a transplant costing as much as $800,000.00 this is something beyond what I had ever imagined. Emotionally there’s no parallel. This would not cure me from the condition but would bring me back to somewhat of normal functionality, making me breath hard and strong, allowing me to sing again and, most importantly, to achieve what everyone should have - a better quality of life. Lung transplants are very much at the cutting edge of technology and most people with transplants get to live fuller lives. Within months, in most cases people are back to riding bikes, exercising and having pretty normal lung capacity. Of course, there are lots of risks involved such as rejection and infection, but these are part of the road to take.
I’m writing this to let you know I’m alive, that I miss you all and miss everything I was doing just a couple of years ago, and to let you know what I’m going through. I’m ready to take the leap and I need to create a network of support, emotional and financial and with this blog it is my goal to reach all of you. Dear friends, family, fans, music lovers - help me to brainstorm a plan of attack to make this happen. Let me know where you at I look forward to your words.
Please continue checking in as I will be keeping you up dated with all my findings regarding my situation as well as ways to donate to a fund that I'll be setting up to assist with my medical costs. They say you have to choose your battles, I had not choice in the matter but I'm in full battle mode!
One Love, Rowan “StoneFly” Jimenez