I’m back in black baby! This year has absolutely started out with a serious bang and I couldn’t be more excited about it! 😀 I apologize for the delay in updating everyone, things have been a bit crazy, but now that I’m at home and things have slowed down a tiny bit, I can finally take the time to share my story! 🙂
So, you already know that I was drugged up and puffy from getting my wisdom teeth when I got the call, so, here’s an image to help put you in my frame of mind at the time…
What I didn’t realize, was that my excitement wasn’t making me throw up…it was a bad reaction to the penicillin they had me on. LOL! Yeah, that lasted all…night…long. I was vomiting even while I was walking into the ER to check in! Talk about making a grand entrance! 🙂
When they told me the bloodwork was good and I was a match, things happened extremely quick. I don’t even remember much leading up to it. Of course, I don’t remember much AFTER either, but I have been told of several stories about me coming out of anesthesia that cracked me up.
To make the update simple, I’ll just list out the pros and cons of how it went:
– The transplant went extremely smooth. What normally takes about 4-6 hours in surgery, only took them 2 1/2 hours for me! There were no complications, and they said it couldn’t have gone better.
– The lab work afterward to see if it was working properly showed numbers more successful than the doctor said he’d ever seen in such a quick amount of time.
– I have peed more than I ever remember peeing in my LIFE!! I know that’s a bit TMI, but think about one of the things the kidney does, and how it was failing for me….this is a HUGE accomplishment! Not only that, but as I always say, I’m sharing all aspects of my experience, including the “ugly”…
– They released me from the hospital a short 5 days later. I was released on Thursday to go home! How quick is that?
– I finally feel like all those hopes and goals I had are going to start happening for real now.
– My mouth is still KILLING me… and they said because of the immunosuppressant drugs I’m now on, it’ll take much longer for me to heal. Great.
– The pills… oh, the pills. There are about 80 thousand pills I have to take (twice a day) with about as many side effects to go with them. Some will cause weight gain, some cause hair growth, some make me nauseous, some cause mood swings that make me cry at the drop of a hat (that’s a fun one)! I know this will be dwindled down eventually, so I know it won’t be forever, I just need to be patient.
– I’m extremely frustrated at my lack of ability to do pretty much anything right now. I walk like a grandpa, I can’t lift anything more than 5 pounds, I’m extremely slow, I’m not allowed to drive for several weeks, and even simple things like opening a water bottle are difficult right now. Again, it’s my impatience leading to this, because I’m so used to doing things for myself, and as I continue to heal, it will get better. I know this. These damn pills and their mood swings aren’t helping things, though. 🙂
– The experience has been extremely overwhelming. It still hasn’t completely hit me that I just had an organ transplant and all the implications that go with that. Just a few short years ago, my life felt completely normal… and now my entire life has been turned around completely! There are so many new things I have to be careful about now, so many changes that have occurred literally overnight that it’s a lot to take in. They have put the fear of God into me for things that seem normal to everyone else: I have to avoid all sick people at all times, I can’t eat raw foods, mosquito bites and skin cancer can become deadly for me, I have to avoid traveling to 3rd world countries…the list goes on, and it’s all because of the immunosuppressant drugs that have lowered my immune system. I kind of expected some of it, but there’s just so much to learn. When they released me from the hospital so soon, I was terrified that I would mess everything up! It was easy to feel safe when there was an entire staff trained to watch every small change in my health, but now that I’m left to do it all on my own, I felt like I was being thrown to a deserted island to take care of myself. Again, in time, I know it’ll get easier, especially as I continue to learn how to manage a new body organ. Patience, Daniel-son… patience.
So, now, my next steps to make sure the kidney doesn’t get rejected are to attend “clinics” every other day at the hospital so they can test my bloodwork and adjust my medications to fit me perfectly. They will continue to monitor the progress and health of the new kidney and educate me with classes on nutrition and such that I will need to keep it working properly. At first, the clinics will be three times a week for about a month, and go down to once/twice a week, and eventually only every 6 months for the rest of my life. I’m cool with that. I do that with my diabetes already, so it won’t be too much of a change.
I do have to say, what amazed me the most about this experience so far is how many people were there to support not just me, but my entire family. You always know that your closest friends and family will always be there, but when things were happening, people just seemed to come out of the woodwork to wish us well, and I can’t tell you how much it surprised me! People I have never even met were sending me their prayers and positive thoughts, and I truly believe that this surgery was such a success because of each and every one of you/them. It’s humbling and simply…amazing. Thank you. I will continue to keep you updated on my progress and hopefully continue to share with you the many things I’m now able to achieve because you all made this possible for me! 🙂
Things I’m thankful for today:
1. Let’s start with the obvious – I got a kidney! I got a kidney! I got a kidney!
2. That the hospital staff and surgeons were successful and extremely helpful, and there were no complications.
3. The friends and family who came by to visit while I was in the hospital: Aunt Kathy and Uncle Morris, Mike,
Laura, Steve, Elissa, Christi and Veronica. My family who stuck with me every step of the way and stayed with me everyday in the hospital. My coworkers and family/friends who all sent beautiful gifts and flowers and positive messages to enjoy/keep me uplifted while I heal.
4. That I will hopefully not have to do dialysis again, travel and go swimming again soon!
5. A Taco Casa just opened in my town…right down the road!!! Woohoo!!! Yeah, I know… another Taco Casa reference. I guarantee, the SECOND my mouth is fully healed enough to eat tacos, I’ll be there in a heartbeat!
6. A great start to a hopeful New Year!!!