Thursday, October 8, 2009

Going the distance!

Hey Lovely people,

I know its been a while but if you could only imagine what life feels when you can take the power back. I've been consume by the simplicity of my everyday chores; breathing and loving my family and of course indulging in every thing I possibly can specially my new healthy being. Its been easier experiencing life on my own skin and sharing it with my love ones than writing about it. I need to write for those who want to know and I will once again continue this challenge. In the mean time here's what's new this month and in celebration of my first year post transplant.

Come with me; I'll take you there!

“After a 3 year hiatus Bay Area’s Latin Alternative Power House OriXa returns Oct
24th (with a new set of lungs, literally!)”

San Francisco Bay Area, - September 23, 2009 - OriXa, one the most sought after Latin Alternative outfits from the Bay Area
and the US returns from a 3 year hiatus, performing live on October 24th at the Elbo Room in San Francisco. The Latin
Ruckus Crew: Juan M. Caipo/drums, Michael Cavaseno/guitar, Charles Gasper/bass and Rowan Jimenez/vocals and
percussion will be unleashing its explosive energy running through songs from the self-titled debut "Orixa", "2012 e.d" and
"Siembra" as well as playing for the first time new songs…with singer Jimenez showcasing a new set of lungs.
The end of 2006 took an unexpected turn for the band when co-founder singer/percussionist Jimenez learned that his autoimmune
condition known as Scleroderma had manifested in his lungs, thrusting him into a battle for his life. Forced to take an
indefinite break, OriXa and Jimenez redirected their attention on finding the clarity, perspective and necessary tools to battle
the situation. With the condition progressing at an alarming pace, in July of 2008, Jimenez was placed on the UCSF
transplant wait list and just 2 months later, on September 15th Jimenez received a bi-lateral lung transplant at UCSF.
The illness and recovery have been a remarkable journey for Jimenez and the band and just one year after the transplant,
Jimenez and the Latin Ruckus Crew are back in full force inspired by a fierce survivalist attitude. If you’re in too deep the only
way to go is deeper. OriXa’s return to the stage is a spectacle not to be missed.

About OriXa

Since the early 90’s OriXa’s relentless presence in the Bay Area music scene had established them as a hard act to follow.
Their unique blend of Rock, Hip-Hop infused Afro Latin grooves and Spanglish flavored lyrics combined with high energy live
performances earned them top reviews and numerous awards.
The group was at the forefront of the Rock en Español movement in the United States along with groups like Pastilla, Maria
Fatal, Volumen Cero ,and one of the first to help breakdown the language barrier in the Bay Area by performing at venues that
did not have a Rock en Español or "Latin" night. The group caught the attention of DJ No Name from the popular Rock Station
Live 105 and was featured on their weekly playlist as well as on Latin Alternative stations across the country and charting on
CMJ for over 15 weeks.
Shortly after the release of 2012e.d in 2001, the songs “2012” and “No Importa” were included on Ark 21/Universal’s CD
compilation Escena Alterlatina along with Los Rabanes, Kinky, Julieta Venegas, among others. In 2005, OriXa’s video/single
"Siembra" received daily rotation on MTVes and a Buzz Worthy nod by the network and was licensed for the ShowTime TV
series “Sleeper Cell”. NPR included Siembra on their 2006 Top 10 list Latin Alternative albums to have next to BajoFondo,
Cafe Tacuba, Caifanes, Manu Chao to name a few. Orixa appeared on LATV, Telemundo, LAMC and supported top Latin
Alternative acts on stage such as Café Tacuba, La Maldita Vecindad, Cypress Hill, Julieta Venegas, Molotov and Jaguares.
Other highlights of OriXa’s decade long career include a California Music Award in 2001 for "Outstanding Latin Album of the
Year" with their previous release “2012 e.d.” as well as an ASCAP Latino award for "Best Independent Band", SF Weekly
“Best International Group”, East Bay Express “Best Rock en Español group”.

Saturday October 24 2009 9:00PM Tickets $10
Orixa with Kapakahi
Elbo Room
647 Valencia St
San Francisco, CA 94110 Ph: 415.552.7788
For more become a fan

Contact: (510 ) 418-6985

Life is short; rock on, Rowan

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Catching my Breath:Part 6- "Now What"

I'm not sure if I can make you understand what's going on inside of me but I keep writing because I want to transfer my feelings and experience to people, I want to show you something special to make you smile to make you go Wow...Let's go! Now what; I tell you now what.I have been back at work since last Feb. at full throttle. One can only imagine at times while at the brink of disaster how things can possibly be turned around and in a split second; just a split second everything plays in your favor. This is my story...or at least for now. I wake up every morning around 5:15 am; I sit still for a second and take a big breath...BIG BREATH! I take my vitals and go straight for the toilet...Ah! little pleasures of life. Once I've done some waste management I go back to weigh myself. This is part of the process involving taking my vitals but I'd rather weigh myself after my W.M.S(waste management session) for accuracy you know. Most consistently I would get myself ready to hit the gym by 6/6:15am and kick a 1 and half hour work out that includes, a half hour to forty five minutes of cardio and the rest with some stretching and weight lifting. I should be at work by 8. Again I say most consistently because there are days where I just want to kick it, make some coffee and wait for the girls to wake up. It's a lovely thing to see and I look forward to it every time I make that choice. I have been actively playing and making music. I have developed a keen sense for playing trap and have gone as far as to assemble a beautiful's so therapeutic just banging away in true rock n roll fashion completely uninhibited and wild!!! I love it. I have been doing great stuff with my family - camping trips, rafting, fly fishing, rock climbing. I'm also riding my bike to work twice a week for a kick ass 16 miles(8 in and 8 out). This something I'm very proud of and it feels freaking amazing!! I mean can you imagine that nine months ago I was hooked up to an Oxygen concentrator and waiting for a lung transplant; can you say Crazy! I can. Nothing is mundane these days as I soak every minute of every hour with boundless appreciation of the moment. Even as I injured myself last month while climbing; which I wrote about on my last post. That experience itself made me feel so alive. There I was just like anybody else paying the price for playing hard and loving it. I maintained a focused frame of mind and I brought myself back in the game. There's no time to waste this time around! My life is in full motion. I can't even crop a future plan its just wide open. I still find myself at times trying to process what I have gone through. I've been thinking about trying to get in touch with the family of my donor but I think I will wait for the year to be complete. This is something I have been really contemplating. I also keep thinking of what kind of work I'm going to be doing to give back to this amazing journey and learning experience. I definitely want to become an organ donor advocate and get involved with some organization regarding the need to create awareness and to encourage people to get involved and become organ donors themselves. One thing I think about everyday is how my life has been touched by that action and the effect that took upon my family and I wish for the process to become something natural for people; for them to believe that they will become an extension of something greater than the life they live or we live for that matter. I still wish to keep being a donor myself and continue to live by example. Just had a birthday last Friday and look forward to many more; nothing seems impossible these days. As the future can be uncertain I keep my frame of mind in check and visualized one day at the time; this allows me to maintain a cadence and I don't skip a beat. In September will be a year since the transplant and it will be a mile stone as well as the beginning for the foundation of the years to come. I have learn so much about myself; I can't wait to find the best vehicles to transfer knowledge, motivate and inspired people. I'll be back with more notes, I'm getting ready for some doc visits and some final tune ups regarding my Scleroderma. Keep on coming and following the blog this is just getting better. I want to Holla at my dear friend Ethan Pringle for the awesome article on the recent 277 Climbing magazine issue and of course to Andy Outis for the magic and Climbing mag for the amazing support. I'm back in the saddle and cracking full time again. One love, Rowan

Friday, April 17, 2009

Basic Up-Date!!

Hello There Beautiful People,

Let's see...I have been very busy getting myself in shape and enjoying everything about my new life; it has been incredible. I feel so strong with a nice pack of muscles back in my body, biking, weights , playing music/singing and yes a bit of climbing.
I'm currently taking a break (by default) as I dislocated my ankle while doing the latter mentioned; believe it or not in my 16 plus years of climbing I had never injured myself. I thought about it a bit and Oh well shit happens! No, but seriously, my small injury was caused by a combination of 2 things:

-Being so pumped about life and feeling the power of my body slowly surging up; I mean off the couch I was doing V3 and V4 ( easy but not so easy) and finally just about 2 weeks ago sending my first V6(hard but not too hard). This was a great accomplishment so I pushed a little harder.

-Being a little fooled by my own stubbornness and wanting to keep getting stronger I lacked the judgment to say to myself keep steady. Regardless it could have happened to anyone and its a great lesson to be learned.

At this point the ankle is looking good and I will be back on my feet by next week. PT again is on my list and this is something I'm very familiar with, and I'm very consistent so do not worry. As my dear abuela "Chena" used to say..."Just another stripe for this Tiger".

I will continue writing my chapters once I'm back at full swing but I wanted to let you know a bit of what I have been up to.

This month April 28Th I will be showing my short film "Full Lung Capacity" and doing a bit of a talk about my life post transplant. This is a series of presentations sponsored by The E campaign as part of the Coalition of Organ Donation Exponents’ (CODE) Organ Donation Awareness Lunch Seminars. I will encourage everyone to join the UCSF campaign for Life – a campus campaign to encourage the entire UCSF community to register to become organ donors.Here's a couple of articles.

I stopped doing my art for a minute but will get back into it ASAP as I may have some incredible opportunities coming my way....more to come here!!! Music wise I started to do some work with my friend Melissa Hutchison who will be backing me up on vocals in a few cafe shows I will be booking this summer. So stay put and come to celebrate; she's got some beautiful pipes!!

My family is doing great, Heather as usual always so supportive and just my rock for that woman. Kaya just turned six and boy she's a handful...but nothing that I cannot handle. I'm currently the assistant coach for her soccer team "The Cherry Bombs" and we are having a blast.

Please stay in touch and follow up with me. Love to read your comments and love to know what are you up to as well. A new chapter for "Catching my Breath " is in the works.

Much love!


Thursday, February 26, 2009

Catching my Breath: Part 5-"Coming Back from Space Travel"

My eyelids felt like they each weighed 50 pounds; I could hear voices around me and quickly id my wife, Heather's sort of coming from the left side of the bed but there was another female voice on the right side I did not recognize.....He got a very nice pair of lungs; one of the best I've seen in a long time. They were beautiful!

I immediately felt like I wanted to open my eyes and see this person's face but again it seemed virtually impossible. I decided to moan! MMMMMMMmmmmm
Heather asked me if I was Okay and I guess I must have said yes in some form. I had been out of surgery for quite some time but I was just barely regaining consciousness. At first, from what my friend Chris explained to me, I was connected to a respirator; a pretty large hose ran through my throat down to my diaphragm helping me to breath. For several hours after the surgery I was not quite ready to breath on my own so while I became stable and some of the anesthesia wore off I needed to be assisted in this way. Eventually the system was removed and everything was in the right place....and my body kicked into action. I guess soon after is when I found myself trying to open up my eyes. I felt so tired but at the same time I could tell that there was something different, that something had taken place and that I had gone somewhere and come back. Even though at this point there was still a cannula on my nostrils I could feel my breath going in and out without hesitation.....I felt I had been through a time machine and I was coming back from space travel.
I could only imagine what had happened while I was gone; while I was out; traveling. It took nearly 9 hours from the moment I arrived at the operating table since I made it back. I refrained for trying to open my eyes and started to recreate in the best way I could a picture of the happenings. My gown removed, needles going in, fluids injected, my chest and arm pits shaved and cleaned with antiseptics to make my skin fully sterile and basically exposing it as an open canvas for scalples to trace a line of entry.

I was given a clam shell incision; probably about 25 inches across my chest. It is not a straight line and to be honest its quite a fancy cut. A small incision was also done to my sternum and finally my rib cage lifted to create the grand entrance for probably one the most complex surgeries around, a bi-lateral lung transplant. I'm not a doctor but I read enough about it and by the time I signed myself up for this, I knew this was no joke and that were anything to go wrong well then lot of things would've turned wrong. Everything came together as I had planned. I expected not less from myself, the preparation and all the stamina built up to this moment had been tested and yes I had run my ultimate race with unprecedented results. I was breathing again.

Taking the first few breaths after the doctor ordered the nurse to remove the cannula was an amazing experience. I clearly remember Dr. Hoops saying; " Why is he still on oxygen? I want him to start breathing completely on his own , this is overkill take it out."

Having been connected to an O2 concentrator for the past several months prior to this moment was something I was not psyched about; although I knew it was absolutely necessary for my survival I longed for this moment. There I was, back breathing like a normal person, like you're supposed to; getting oxygen wireless again!

I immediately felt an incredible surge of energy and my brain could not keep up with everything I was thinking about. When can I walk? When would I be able to sing again? How long before I'm out of here? When would I be back home to my family....I mean the list went on and on and on and the craziness of it all settled in more and more....Well kind of. I mean I don't even know that I can still completely fully understand. It is not that I don't know what happened but if I stop to think about it for a second, I am breathing through someone else's lungs; absolutely mind boggling and truly incredible.

I felt I was coming back from space traveling because it really felt I had gone beyond my own space. I had gone to a place where everything about myself had been meticulously deceptive. Who I was mentally, physically and emotionally and some how I felt revitalized, I felt somewhat like everything was new. I had been working mentally so much towards specific goals but now my mind felt different about everything; I could multitask; there was no need to think about one thing at a time I was just exploding and showering myself with ideas, scenarios and all kinds of different plans. My brain was fully oxygenated. My oxygen saturation levels were up and this made a world of difference and my body was kind of in shock but stocked.

I could see everyone's face in amazement of what had happened and how suddenly I was right back at my sarcastic punk ass self. I could see their smiles and I just knew...its gonna be alright. My wife could not stop looking at me and just go wow, my brother kept saying amazing just amazing and my friend Chris was like "Dude you are back"...all I could think of was I wanted to see my daughter Kaya and tell her what an awesome trip I had and that I was coming home soon with out oxygen. After all once you're back on earth from space traveling you don't need oxygen anymore.

Come back for Catching my Breath:Part 6- "Now What"

Friday, January 9, 2009

Catching my Breath: Part-4 "Ready, set, Go!

On the night of the call several things ran through my mind, but the one that overwhelmingly took most of my attention was how lucky was I that at only 7 weeks I was already where I wanted to be. I don't want to sound like a superman or anything that makes me greater than life but I really knew within that all the things I had been working on had enabled the flow for the events about to happen; I just needed to get to the hospital for my ready, set Go!

I was rolled in on a wheel chair by my brother Juan, my best friend Chris and wife Heather following by my side. Chris had his camera on and he was filming everything he could. Registration and getting into a room went smoothly and we all settled as people came in and out to collect information, draw blood, take my vitals etc. Again I found myself very much focused on conserving energy. I knew I was going to need everything I had in me to sustain what was about to take place in my body. I had arrived at the hospital by 9:45 pm, at this point it was about 12:15 am and the traffic of people coming in and out had stopped and we were all left kind of in limbo. We did not know yet when I was going to get in. The lungs had just arrived at that point but several things needed to happen. More tests and match of anti-bodies, blood type and sizing all needed to be confirmed......We all gazed at the clock incessantly and wondered; I felt I needed to rest and Heather was so tired she laid with me on the bed and we both fell asleep. My brother followed and Chris stayed up filming. We woke up around 3:00 am and realized several hours had passed. Heather wondered if they had found something unexpectedly wrong with the organ; I knew that was a possibility, however, I had previously redirected this scenario in every affirmation session I had engaged in and I went again to dismiss it by locking myself into place with my frame of mind. At this point Heather decided to ask a nurse for an update. Surprisingly, the nurse responded: " Oh everything is set and ready; he is scheduled for surgery in the next few hours".

Well I guess this is it, I said to myself; we all looked at each other in a bit of despair; I would call this excitement because really this is how I felt. In the next 20 minutes an IV will be hooked to my arm, my vitals rechecked and a bed will roll in to take me to the operating room. I got one last coughing attack as I was getting transferred from bed to bed. This is something I will no longer experience, I said to myself. The anesthesiology team came to meet me and talk a bit about the drugs to be used and of course, sign some more paperwork as part of the protocol. All kinds of risks are involved in such type of surgery and so everyone needs to be clear about the facts. It's about 3:45 am as I'm rolled out of the room and my brother, Heather and Chris, with camera on hand, are following me until we hit the restricted doors. The doctors explained they still had not taken the lungs from the other body and there was still a chance they may need to abort. I kissed and hugged everyone, it was particularly hard for Heather and I totally understood what was going through her mind. I could sense a little fear as I gaze deeply into her eyes, I knew I was going to come back soon enough and we will be able to plug into our love for life and into our family. I whispered in her ear not to worry and locked into the sweetest kiss. I briefly made eye contact with my brother for one last affirmation exercise and never said good bye; I said I see you all tomorrow. I raised my fist and called for my brother a famous Che Guevara quote "Hasta La Victoria Siempre". The doors locked behind me but the entrance to my new life was just about to open up.

Once I got into the room I decided to focus on my mental state and immediately started reciting my mantra. "The Breath of Life Will Easily Flow Through Me". The team in the room made me feel so relaxed right away, we chatted and made small talk as I was getting connected to all kinds of different little apparatus and a few more IVs. I kept focusing on my breath and momentarily reflected on my good old lungs while in my mind demanded for some neurons to fire on immediately the proper commands for the new ones to get on with the program. I think about it sometimes and I felt a little crazy but good crazy! Finally one of the anesthesiologists asked me: "How are you doing buddy?" I said good. "Do you need something" he said as he heard me mumbling my mantra and I said "No thanks I'm just meditating out loud". "Well alright I'm going to give you something to relax you a little, Okay?" I said sure.

All I remember is saying my mantra a few times before everything went out but just right before I would completely surrender in a split second I wondered, how many dimensions would I transcend and if anything would change while traveling on the journey ahead. Finally I'd said let's go.

On January 15th will be 4 months since my surgery; my body has done so much and so well it is beyond anything I can explain. Nothing is mundane anymore and life is priceless as everyday I get to take the biggest breath while I listen to Kaya's little voice: "Papa let's get up and play a game". I've been playing it rather well.

Come back soon for Catching my Breath: Part-5 "Coming Back From Space Travel"