Catching up

It’s definitely been a while since I posted anything, but I really didn’t have much to post recently.  I successfully completed the training hike I mentioned in my previous post.  Though I was really wiped out by the end of it.  Still, it felt great to be out and to have accomplished that.  It made me feel much more confident about completing the Grand Canyon hike.

I was on vacation a few weeks ago and during that I time I got to have dinner with Kerri and Bryce again.  I had a nice discussion with them about whether or not I would like to meet my recipient.  And following that discussion I thought about it some more and I have decided to do it.  Regardless of how the meeting actually goes, it will give me an opportunity for closure.  As for other kidney related items.  I’m still doing great.  I still only have a slight area of numbness and my scars are still a little tight, but nothing I can’t live with.  I did call my transplant coordinator yesterday and spoke at great length.  My recipient is doing great (he was actually coming yesterday for his check-up).  I let her know that I would like to meet him, but not until after my Grand Canyon hike.  She said we could arrange something for October.  She also said that we both needed to complete a questionnaire prior to our meeting.  I’m not entirely sure of the questions or the purpose of it, but I’m sure it’s to protect both our interests.

In addition to discussing that with her, I also offered to volunteer to provide whatever support or advocacy I could to others.  She asked if I was interested in the Transplant Center’s patient advisory council she had mentioned previously and I said “Definitely.”  She is also going to put me in touch with someone from LifeShare of the Carolinas.  It will be interesting to see what, if anything, comes of that.

Nine weeks

Today marks nine weeks post surgery.  Not much new to report.  I went hiking again this past Sunday as part of our training for the Grand Canyon hike in September.  We did Mt. Mitchell which is the highest point in North Carolina.  To simulate the Grand Canyon experience, we started at the peak (~6600 feet) and hiked down to a campground that was at 3200 feet elevation and then hiked back out.  I did pretty well, I was pretty tired at the end though and I think the elevation near the top had a lot to do with it.  I still need to work on my stamina and energy, but I felt accomplished having completed this hike.

Eight weeks

Today marks eight weeks since my donor surgery.  I went for my first get back into shape/training hike two days ago.  It felt good to be out.  However, due to my previous lack of activity I was definitely winded earlier than I should have been for some portions of the trail, but I managed to keep up with my hiking partner, Rob.  I was also very, very sore in the aftermath of the hike.

Other than that, there’s not a lot to report.  I’m still feeling better and better.  I’m hesitant to call myself 100% back, but I think I’m very close.  I was tempted to call my coordinator yesterday and tell how good I was feeling, but I didn’t.

Labs

The lab results are back from my second follow up and everything looks great.  My creatinine levels are really good, so my lone kidney has picked up the slack.

Second follow up

As promised, here are the updates from my second follow up appointment earlier today.  First I met with my surgeon, everything checked out fine and my restrictions have been lifted.  I can now resume all normal activities, and that I just need to listen to my body and not overdo it.  They did take blood and urine samples to run labs on to make sure all is truly well.  I should have the results from those tomorrow.

Following that I met with my coordinator and got an update on my recipient.  He’s doing well and is getting back to his normal activities.  He apparently is an outdoorsman who enjoys fishing.  She did say that he mentioned wanting to meet me and I let her know I’m still on the fence about whether or not I would want to do that.  Additionally she asked about my whole thoughts on the experience.  And I let her know that I gladly tell anyone about my experience.  I told her how valuable it had been for me to have Kerri’s donor Amy available to answer my questions along the way.  She then asked if she could use me in that fashion for future donors and I said I would be happy to do so.  She also offered other opportunities for me to help.  She said they have a patient advisory council for the transplant with whom they consult on different topics and that I would be more than welcome to participate in that.  She also mentioned that, assuming it’s successful, would love to use my Grand Canyon hike story as well, possibly even through the hospital’s press/PR department.  She also gave me some goodies.

SWAG

My next follow up appointment won’t be until early December, six months post surgery.

Testing, testing

Today I decided to test things a little and see where I’m at physically.  I did one pull-up and a few push-ups.  Hanging for the pull-up, I could still feel the tension around the large incision.  But, other than that things felt okay.  I felt really out of shape after, meaning I’ve got a lot of work to do.

Six weeks

It’s hard for me to believe that it has already been six weeks since my surgery.  The time has flown by.  I still feel like I’m feeling little bits better each and every day.  I’d say I’m at about 95% now.  I’m really hoping to be able to start working out at least a little soon as I still need to start getting back into shape and getting my energy and stamina levels up.

Picking nits

I checked in with my coordinator to see about my next follow up appointment which should be next week and I got an immediate reply of:

“You have an appointment 7/24 at 2:00 PM, see you then.”

I know I’m picking nits here, but I find this quite annoying.  First, that I’m not asked if this time works for me, just here’s your appointment.  Luckily, I can make it then.  Second, that as quick as the response was I have to assume the appointment was already on the books.  If I hadn’t asked, how long would it have been until I found out?