I wish there was a way to throw “Internet confetti” because I’d throw handfuls of it to all of you reading the blog. I have had my new kidney three months now and it’s working, “very well,” (a direct quote from my doctor). These three months have been full of activity – doctor’s appointments and a few surprises.
For those of you who have been following the blog, you know that I had some serious problems adjusting to the anti-rejection medications. For the first two or three weeks, I had little or no appetite and had insomnia like I invented it. Now, thanks to the Prednisone, I have my appetite (and a couple of other people’s) back and also thanks again to the Prednisone, I’‘m still not sleeping much but I do catch a couple of hours here and there.
Also in terms of medication, a few more of my mine have been taken away and/or have been reduced, which makes me very happy. I think I’m getting closer to what will eventually be my “maintenance dosages” – the meds that I will be on for the rest of my life. Those maintenance drugs will be adjusted (as need be) based on blood work results.
This three-month recovery period has been like a roller coaster ride and surprise party at the same time. You’ve all read about some of my ups and downs while I’ve been on this journey but the surprises didn’t bring smiles to my face. Let me explain: The first surprise was the sudden appearance of what my son lovingly called, “my peach fuzz.’ I called it a mustache. The day I noticed it in the mirror, I had to look twice to see if I was really seeing what I was seeing. So I guess it really was more of a peach fuzz thing as my son said but since I wasn’t expecting it…surprise! I was able to take care of that pretty easily though and so far it has not returned.
My next surprise wasn’t so easy to take care of and really isn’t within my control, which is difficult for someone like me, who tends to be a little on the control freak side. Surprise number two was the return of my “monthly visitor,” who had stopped visiting a year or so after I started dialysis! To be honest, I hadn’t missed my “friend” and was more shocked than surprised by the visit. But I had been told that it could return and it did. Isn’t it amazing what a new organ can do to a body?
Another major change that has happened is that my visits to the University of Michigan Hospital have now been reduced from once a week to once every three months. That’s a pretty big deal for us because when I was first told that we’d have to make that trip once a week for a while, all I could thing of was the expense associated with that and hoping that I could get early morning appointments so that my husband would be able to make it to work on time. I’d like to mention again how blessed I am to have family and friends who have offered to drive me to any and all of my appointments (especially Anne & Ann).
As I continue to go through the recovery period, I’m learning a lot about myself. For those of you who know me, you know that I love to read and I love the Internet. I usually research everything that peaks my interest and although that can be a good skill to have, it can also be something that causes a lot of anxiety. One day I spent too much time on a website reading about other kidney transplant patients and problems they had that caused them to lose their new kidneys.
Needless to say, I let emotion take over fact and logic. I knew that I had excellent blood work results from the moment I received the kidney. I knew that my doctors were more than pleased with my recovery and I also knew that I felt better than I had in years. But I let other people’s stories scare me and stress me out. Fortunately I have very wise and supportive people in my life, one of them being my Aunt Claudia who told me, “Jackie, those people aren’t you” and my doctor, who said, “ Jackie, stop reading those things, you don’t know if those people did what they were supposed to do to take care of their kidneys.”
It always helps to have people in your life that can remind you that you are as unique as the gifts that are given to you. It’s also important to listen when those people in your life give you insight. So I listened and now I’m not as quick to compare everyone’s story to my own. I still read blogs and leave comments being as encouraging and positive as I can. I know that it helps me when people read my blog and leave the same kinds of comments.
Three months is a milestone for me but I’ll be the first to admit that it hasn’t all been easy. It STILL has all been worth it though. I don’t know what the next three months will bring; I’m still working at what to do with my new life. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. I don’t want to waste the gift and the opportunity that I’ve been given – I do know that writing makes me feel like I am using one of my gifts to help others.
I can tell you all that I hope that at some point in the next three months (or sooner) I hear from my donor’s family and I hope that they received some comfort from the letter that I wrote them, thanking them for the generous donation I received from their family member. I also hope that during the next three months, I continue to stay healthy and get stronger with each passing day. Of course I’ll continue to keep you all updated in future posts.
* Please continue to visit and read Anne Rau’s blog at: http://anne315.wordpress.com/
Anne is waiting to hear when she will donate a kidney to a patient that needs one. Anne is an altruistic donor – donating selflessly to a complete stranger because she understands the need that is out there. For those of you who don’t know Anne, she is a smart, clever writer whose blog about being on the other end of organ donation is very interesting.
One bit of information that my doctor mentioned to me at my last visit is that there is a “National Transplantation Pregnancy Registry” out there. I found it remarkable that after having transplants, some women actually got pregnant and carried babies successfully. How wonderful that women who had dreams of motherhood, after being on dialysis and having transplants, could have their dreams realized.