Today marks the one year anniversary of my donation surgery. I thought I should take a few moments to reflect on everything that has happened since then and the lessons learned along the way. I will also discuss some if the things I would do differently or offer as advice for anyone else who may consider a similar journey.
I am finding it hard to believe that it has been a year already. As I age I am finding that time is passing too quickly for my comfort. We should all remember that our time here is but a speck in a very brief moment of time. You should treasure it and make the most of it. Okay, enough of that, it’s time to get on with it.
The First and foremost item to discuss is my health. With the exception of my little scare in the Grand Canyon, I have had no significant medical issues or complications from the surgery. I had my one year follow up appointment just over a week ago and everything came back fine. My creatinine levels continue to decrease. It was 1.46 at my six month and 1.42 last week. This is a good indication that my remaining kidney is continuing to get stronger and take up the slack.
As for my scars, they continuse to fade. Not that they will ever go completely away, not do I want them to. Here’s a photo comparing them from two weeks after surgery and today.
My recipient, Tripp, is doing well also. I saw him a few weeks ago at the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Walk. Though they still have not removed his dialysis port yet.
Unfortunately I have backtracked on my soda consumption. I had weened myself down to one (and sometimes none) per week. I have allowed myself to get where I am having one per day. I hope to someday reduce that again. I’ve also gained back about half the weight I had lost since I started the process. I feel I am back to a healthy weight and have also started hitting the gym.
Looking back over the past year it is impossible not to see things that I would now do differently.
I hate to admit it, but my desire to schedule my surgery to fit with the planned Grand Canyon hike is one of the things I would probably change. There are a couple of reasons why I say that.
The first one is that, had I delayed, I could have possibly started a chained donation and had that much greater an impact with my donation. That being said, things could have gone wrong with that as well. The recipient of my kidney could have had issues and not fared as well as Tripp has thus far. So I try not to second guess myself too much about this.
Another reason to have delayed surgery would have been so that I would have been in much better shape for the hike. I lost a lot of conditioning and prep time during my recovery. But, I do believe that my having that to shoot for providing good motivation during my recovery.
I do occasionally wonder if meeting my recipient was the best idea. Maybe I should have waited longer before making that decision.
Finally, one thing that I do regret is my lack of patience during the whole process. Yes, it was due to my scheduling desires. But all those involved are working for such a great cause that I should have had more patience and cut them some slack.
In closing I can’t say enough about what a personally rewarding experience this was. The support and love I received from my family and friends was overwhelming. The care I received from everyone at CMC was top notch. I would not hesitate in trusting them with my life again. Let’s just hope it doesn’t become necessary any time soon. I thank you all!