YANP and I have been through some changes

As you’ll notice if you’re not reading a text-only version of You Ain’t No Picasso, things are a bit different around here. I whipped up this redesign to make things a bit easier to navigate and a lot more pleasing to the eye. Aside from stylistic changes, here are the big differences:

the Local section
I often want to write about young bands or small events going on in the Kentucky area, but know my national and international readers would have no interest in it. This section will be host to the concert calendar for the KY (and to a lesser extent TN/OH/IN) area as well as posts on anything else that fits. This is also a big change since I’ll occasionally be having guest writers contribute to this section. More on that in the next few days.

I know we all love ’em, so why not make them easier to find? There are two ways to do that now: the “MP3” link in the menu will take you to all posts tagged as having downloadable MP3s and the “SHUFFLE THIS BLOG” link in the sidebar will open up a Shuffler.fm playlist that will take you to the pages involved as you stream MP3s from YANP.

Aside from the four buttons in the sidebar (Twitter, Facebook, Email and RSS), I’ve also updated my contact information. Many of you are sending packages to the house I lived in four years ago. Many more could benefit from reading over some tips to get me to listen to/post on your band.

Now we get to the “and I” part of the changes. I wanted to write this up as soon as it happened, but I kept putting it off. Eventually I decided that I’d share this when I could redesign the site. That’s a good excuse, right?

As some of the more astute readers have figured out, I had some an unfun medical journey last year that will continue for the rest of my life. Before I get too deep into it, let me say that I’m completely fine and feel healthier than I have since my freshman year of college. But a lot of you have been so great about offering support for something you didn’t even know the details of, so I wanted to share at least a little bit with you.

In late 2009 I went to the doctor with migraines. A few specialists and a lot of tests later and they knew something was wrong with my kidneys, but not exactly what. I did chemotherapy once a month all through the spring of 2010 (didn’t miss SXSW, though!) until my nephrologists decided it was unlikely to fix my condition — which they finally felt confident in diagnosing as Lupus.

In late May I went into the hospital with possible pneumonia and plummeting kidney function. Two or three days into my hospital stay, the doctors told me that I would need a new kidney. Until we could find a good match, I would need to begin peritoneal dialysis. I missed Bonnaroo. I met with a lot of nurses and doctors. All the closets in my new apartment quickly filled with boxes of dialysis solution. Once my dialysis machine was delivered, things got a lot easier. It filtered the solution at night, freeing me up considerably. This allowed me to travel to Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and the Halifax Pop Explosion in NS, Canada all while on dialysis. All this was rather insane, considering that 60 years ago kidney failure was pretty much a death sentence.

During this time I developed a love/hate relationship with my dialysis machine. It’s unquestionably the worst thing I’ve been through, but it kept me alive and in relatively good health. It was a confusing thing to be so annoyed by something vital to your survival. I wasn’t alone in that feeling, though. I talked to one patient who had become so annoyed with his machine that he grabbed the tube coming out of his stomach and yanked the dialysis machine off its stand from across the room. Compared to that, I think I did alright.

Around this time I watched a lot of Seinfeld. Funny thing is, I forgot the occasionally repeated phrase from that series: “It’s not like I’m asking for a kidney!” And really, that’s no joke. Telling people that I need a kidney was one of the worst parts of the whole ordeal. No matter how close I was with the person I told, it was always this weird unspoken thing where I wasn’t directly asking them to get tested for a match, but was really hoping they’d offer. I owe a big thanks to my friend Brad who pointed out to a fair number of my friends that if they didn’t get tested, they couldn’t really expect a kidney to materialize from thin air.

A few months in, I got a call from the University of Cincinnati where I had signed up to have my transplant done. They picked a donor from the applicants but couldn’t tell me who it was. After a very exciting chat with them, I hung up and called my family. After I hung up with my dad, one of my best friends called me with some good news.

I’ve known Cory since we were both in Kindergarten together in Elizabethtown. He had told me he was getting tested, but hadn’t heard back about the process until he called me that day. As if I wasn’t already aware that Cory was one of the best people I knew, he solidified that by telling me he was donating one of his kidneys to me. By the end of the phone call I had said “thank you” so many times that I had to promise him I’d never thank him again. Not exactly easy, but I’ve managed to keep it to about once every three months. He told me he needed to work around his med school schedule (that’s right, the guy isn’t even a doctor yet and he’s already saved a life) but that we should be able to do the transplant in mid-December.

The surgery itself was as memorable for me as it would be as boring for you to hear about. Both our families went up to Cincinnati for the weekend. Both of them stressed out in the waiting room in their own unique ways. Cory and I were fine through the whole thing, though. The doctors enjoyed joking with Cory about med school and I kept myself entertained by trying to get three stars on all Angry Birds levels.

In the end, everything went perfectly. The doctors said that doing a transplant between two men in their mid-20s was a breeze compared to doing it between the recently deceased and an older person. We both woke up on some debilitating pain meds — the highlight of which, for me, was when I woke up from surgery and tried to ask if Cory was OK, but could only manage to say “Is that guy OK? … You know, THAT GUY…. THE DONOR GUY!” It was like David After Dentist, only if David was older and more afraid that one of his best friends might be dead.

So here I am. Cory’s doing fantastic. He’s back to his old vegetarian, athletic, med school self (he’s in such good health I told I’m I’d be happy to take any of his organs). I’m doing great too. Like I said, I feel better than I have in a long while. I’m eating better, I’m almost finished with the Couch to 5K program and I haven’t had a headache in a long time. The only lasting effects are that I have to take a decent amount of pills, I have a gnarly scar and — this is the worst — no grapefruits or grapefruit juice.

Not to jinx myself, but after the black hole of 2010, this year is looking fantastic. I had to skip SXSW because no matter how good I feel, I don’t need to spend $1000 to be drunk in the sun for a week a right after an organ transplant, but I’ll easily have rebounded in time for Bonnaroo and beyond. My friends, family and everyone have been great through all of this. My girlfriend was especially a saint. She did enough worrying and planning for both of us, allowing me to keep my anxieties to a minimum. And really I can’t speak highly enough of the University of Cincinnati transplant team. It was over an hour’s drive from my home (and the furthest of my three choices for the procedure), but it was completely worth it. I hope no one you know ever needs a transplant, but if UC is a choice, I’d recommend you take it.

I definitely owe you guys a huge thank you as well. Thanks for supporting me through this even though you didn’t know you were doing it. In a weird way, working on this blog through it all made it seem a lot more manageable. Hell, it’s probably the only job that you can do 30 minutes after your second biopsy in a month.


-Matt Jordan

26 thoughts on “YANP and I have been through some changes”

  1. Matt, I’ve checked out your site almost every day for a few years looking for good new music and hopefully a new Bishop Allen song. I had no idea about your medical troubles, but am very happy to hear that everything is looking better. Thanks for sharing your music with us and good luck with your continued recovery. -Jake

  2. Thanks for sharing! So happy to hear that all went well and the future looks bright! Positive thoughts and prayers headed your way for continued good health!

  3. Glad to hear you’re feeling better! You are awesome for keeping up this blog during all of this.

  4. wow. what an incredible story. I haven’t checked in here in a loooong time (or on any blogs really), but found my way via Twitter just now. so great to hear that you’re doing well. site looks great. best wishes for continuing good health!

  5. Ah man, this is great news. Glad to see you were able to fight through it all and still maintain the integrity of this site. I consider YANP one of the ‘original’ blogs that I’ve always looked up to and, on more than one occasion, it’s made me wish I lived in KY.


  6. Thanks everyone. Special shout-out to Frank (above) for sharing a hotel room with me while I was on dialysis and not freaking out at all.

  7. Really glad to hear about the successful operation. Thanks for continuing to run such a ridiculously rad blog. Love the new dino logo!

  8. Heyo Matt – checking up every now and again during your medical woes almost never eased up thoughts, but it’s absolutely awesome that you’re finally on the upturn.

  9. Hi Matt,
    I never met you and most probably never will, but your story realyy touched me. YANP is one of the best music blogs, period. You are doing a beatiful work, and I can guarentee you have a fan in this corner of the world. BTW, the new template is just fine. Hope you can keep this going for a long time.

  10. Hey Matt-

    Met you just after Gogol Bordello at Bonnaroo… Um, 2007 maybe? Anyway, that was a long time back, but I’ve kept up with the blog when I have the chance, and just wanted to add my wishes of support. Keep it up man. Thanks for the touching read, and good luck getting to as many shows as possible this year.


  11. ah. yeah the site looks different. i remember hating the last time it changed, i’m trying not to be so close lineded now

  12. As a kid in California that’s been checking out your blog for, jeez, five years(?), I’m glad to hear you’re doing well. Thanks for helping me look like a music guru to my friends! : )

  13. Matt,

    I’m super glad to see you’re doing well after such an ordeal. I’m a huge fan of the blog, check it every day from Brazil (just to make you realize how far-reaching the dissemination of awesome music is). Really hope you don’t have anything but solid health for a very long time, dude!

  14. Matt: Glad you’re here. Glad you’re writing. It’s an honor to share a classroom with you every now and again.

  15. Been loving your blog for a long time, daily checks for about 4-5 years now.

    Hope your good health keeps up cuz you seem like a great guy/

  16. Matt,

    Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your story, and it is so good to hear that you’re doing well. I’ve been a long time reader of YANP, and you always do great work. Thanks for all that you do, and I hope you have great health from here on out!

  17. Like a lot of the above commenters, I’ve been visiting this site for several years now. I’ve always appreciated your taste in music (you’ve introduced me to many, many bands), but more than that, you’ve always struck me as a very sincere person. This post really touched meā€”both because of what you’ve been through this past year, and because you were willing to share it with your readers. I wish you all the best, and am happy to hear that you are doing better. I hope 2011 is a great year for you!

  18. I’m in the same boat as everybody else above. Thank you thank you thank you for writing such a great blog/being such a great guy. Here’s to a fabulous 2011!

  19. Matt,
    I have been following your site to get my music fix.
    Glad to read your story and you are doing well. I am 48 years old and was diaganosed with Lupus when I was 20. through great medical care I was able to hold on to my kidneys for a long time. in 1998 My sister donated her kidney and 13 years later I am still running with it. And my Lupus has been under control as well. Good luck!

  20. Matt, what an incredible story that is.

    I’m not only thrilled that you’ve made it this far, I’m grateful that the prognosis is excellent and that you’re still doing this site. I pray for you to maintain good health & I’m glad to see you updating and moving forward with your life. — E

  21. Matt–

    Through your work here you certainly have touched the lives of people all over the globe. We are so happy you are doing well because, most importantly, you are such a super nice guy and deserve nothing but the best, but also because your loss would have been felt far and wide. Yours would be impossible shoes to fill. Thanks for all you do here and I wish you nothing but the best in the future. Look forward to seeing you at some shows!


  22. Matt – Powerful story. I am so happy you are on the mend and get to return to your summer festival routine. Look fwd to seeing you…its been awhile. Site redesign looks great by the way. Alright, cheers.


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