Jacqsworld's Blog

Dialysis, Kidney Disease, Living life with Chronic illness

Six Weeks And Counting

It’s been six weeks (today) since I had my transplant. It’s hard to believe because the time has been flying by. Some wonderful things have happened to me in the past six weeks, one of the best ones, and I can’t say it enough, is no dialysis. To be free from that is something that is hard to put into words. I still wake up on certain days, as if I still had to be there at 6:30am but then I remember that I don’t and I am able to actually go back to sleep. I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss some parts of dialysis…like the people. You don’t see and communicate with people for 5+ years and not become attached to them, especially when you have something so serious and personal in common with them. I have gone back for one visit since the transplant. Unfortunately it wasn’t on one of my dialysis days.  I “dropped” in to see and thank the staff members who took excellent care of me.

As I said, this past six weeks has been filled with so many things. One of them has been a lot of activity. For the first six weeks after the transplant, I am required to go to Ann Arbor once a week (on Tuesdays) to see my doctor in the Transplant Clinic. I also get blood work done there. I have been fortunate enough to get early morning appointments so that Doug can go with me and still be back in Lansing in time to go to work. In addition, I have to  visit a lab here in town every Thursday to get blood work done and those results are sent directly to the University of Michigan Hospital.

Another six weeks issue that I am dealing with is one that I’ve been told is common for some transplant patients. I’ve been having a build up of fluid around the new kidney. The area gets very swollen and has gotten to the point where it has actually drained itself, with no warning…kind of like when a pregnant woman’s water breaks. Unfortunately the fluid returned and I had a procedure done where a doctor aspirated it with a needle. After that procedure, the fluid returned but drained itself again. A surgeon looked at it last week and has decided that in case the fluid returns again,  he has put me on the schedule for  outpatient surgery.  I don’t want to have the surgery but I’ve been told that it could take care of the fluid problem once and for all.

I consider one of my biggest six weeks milestones,  the change in my anti-rejection and other medications.  Some medications were changed, some of the dosages were increased and some were reduced. I am tolerating them better but there’s one that is a battle for me every day. Prednisone. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with this drug but it is a powerful, life-changing drug and although it is a necessary drug for many health conditions, it has some side effects that, like the new kidney, have changed my life. One example is that before the kidney transplant, I was taking oral medication for diabetes, after starting Prednisone; I had to start taking insulin shots. Something that my doctor says I may be taking for the rest of my life. Prednisone also affects your mood, can cause acne and don’t even get me started on what it can do to your appetite – one night at about 11:30pm, I went into the kitchen and made some fried green tomatoes. That is an unusual thing for me to do.  And I’m ashamed to say that  for about a week, I got to know Ben & Jerry better than I should have.

Six weeks seem like a very short time but in many ways, for me, the days were packed. I spent more time with family and friends than I’ve been able to do in years. I’ve often said that my transplant happened at the right time and I still believe that because what would have been a better time than  my son Justin being home for summer vacation. After the transplant I was told that I couldn’t drive for six weeks, so while Doug was working, Justin was my chauffeur. I couldn’t have asked for a better driver and lunch companion.

In these six weeks Justin (and Doug) have been able to see me with more energy than I’ve had in a long time – up close and personal. Justin has been able to see me laugh more, be more silly than he remembers, sing ( like I use to)  and see me as I recover from my surgery. He’s back at school now and I think that since he knows I’m doing well, he can concentrate on his classes and his life in Ann Arbor.

I don’t know what the next six weeks will bring. I do know that at this point, my visits to Ann Arbor will change from once a week to once every two weeks, which is GREAT because gas prices are no joke. I believe that surgery or no surgery, the fluid build up will be a non-issue and if there are other “bumps in the road,” I will deal with them as they come – if they come. This recovery period isn’t an easy process, but it’s so much easier than what I was living before.

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7 thoughts on “Six Weeks And Counting

  1. Kiersten Hedke on said:

    Hi Jacquie,

    I know exactly what you’re going through, with the fluid build-up. The surgery is so quick and simple (oh, and painless), it’s totally worth it. I’m so glad to see that everything else is going great. And that damn Prednisone, you love it because it’s keeping you alive but you hate it because you can’t stop eating therefore you gain weight like crazy. Hang in there, it does get better, after all we’re healthy and alive!

    Kiersten

    • Hi Kiersten,
      Thanks for responding. It’s good to know that the surgery is painless…I’m trying to get myself use to the fact that I need to have it. That fluid really freaks me out! I appreciate you mentioning the “Prednisone” aspect too – my doctor told me to just find healthy snacks to munch on but the Prednisone makes me want fat and sugar:-)

      I can’t wait until I can be where you are and say it’s been 7 years since I had my transplant. I think that’s wonderful!

      Jackie

  2. You’re doing great girl! The bumps in the road are a drag but I know you will do fine wih them. As always I love your positive attitude and humor! BTW I noticed the time you posted this, 4:54 am!

  3. Hey Jackie! What would life be without bumps in the road, right! I can relate to the prednisone! I took it often for a couple of years on and off to “break” my headaches. I hated it. I can relate to the hunger and I couldn’t sleep on it! I am glad your energy is back and that you are singing! Awesome! I praying things will continue to improve every day!

    Robyn

    • Robyn,
      I can relate to the not sleeping on it too. I had insomnia before I started taking prednisone but now it’s just crazy. I gave up on sleep at 2:30 this morning and just read a book. Justin mentioned the singing to me…he said that I use to sing around the house a lot but at some point, I stopped. So he’s glad that I started again.
      Thanks for your prayers:-)

      Jackie

  4. Kiersten Hedke on said:

    In response to Anne’s comment about noting that it was 4:54 a.m., in Jackie’s defense, Prednisone will also keep you up ALL night. My poor husband was off work and home with me when I had my transplant and every morning between 3:00-5:00 a.m. he’d come staggering into the bedroom (I basically stayed in bed on my laptop) and ask so sweetly if he could go to bed. That part of Prednisone will eventually wear off, Thank God!

    Kiersten

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