written on November 14, 2014
Here we are, four weeks post-transplant and I’m still feeling great. It’s been fun talking to people on the phone this week because everyone keeps commenting on how great I sound. But I don’t just sound great, I really do feel great also.
These last four weeks have gone by surprisingly fast. I’m still not really feeling any pain – every now and then I get some pins and needles where the nerves are coming back. That’s almost nothing though. I guess having the nerves cut in the first place was the true blessing in disguise, because it prevented me from feeling any pain right after the surgery. I definitely didn’t expect that to happen. I know four weeks ago I told everyone I wanted to fast forward a few weeks so I would be on the other side of the pain from peeing and the discomfort when laying down, but now that I’m here I’m wondering where the four weeks went. It really does go by quickly when you’re not really paying attention to it.
I’m hoping that next week I can start going to clinic once a week (I currently go twice a week – Mondays and Fridays. I’m hoping to switch to Tuesdays if I can start going once a week – Tuesdays are apparently the lightest patient load days). I’m also hoping I can reduce my prednisone to 5 mg a day. On Monday I asked the doctor about doing that and he said he normally would have reduced it by now, but the longer I stay on it, the hope is the less likely the IgA Nephropathy will return to the new kidney. Although he did say the majority of transplant patients who had IgA before the transplant do get it in the new kidney, but most people never show any symptoms of it ever again (they only know they have it because they get the new kidney biopsied and the IgA deposits show up). So that’s positive I think. I’m hoping it never comes back, but if it does, the next best thing would be for it to never get aggressive and just stay there, in the background, doing nothing.
Today (Friday) is also supposed to be my last official day of isolation. That means I might be able to start venturing out into the world. I’m sure I’ll still be wearing a face mask, at least for the next month (or even longer, depending on how bad the cold and flu season is this year – I will always be at risk for getting sick if I’m around people who are already sick). And I’m sure that once I go home, I’ll keep wearing a mask around the kids through the winter. Unfortunately this is the time of year when they are bound to get sick a lot. Last year both of them were sick on and off for three months, and then my wife and I kept getting sick as well because of it. I’d like to avoid that this year, and every year going forward. Staying healthy is the main goal now.
Looking back on these last four weeks, and the last nine years (since I was diagnosed with the kidney disease in the first place), I’m realizing how much better I am now than I’ve been in a long time. The nephrologist I’ve been seeing for years used to always tell me that once I got a new kidney, I would feel so much better that I wouldn’t believe how bad I had been feeling for so long. I know I’ve mentioned that before, but I keep thinking about it. Because I don’t remember now how bad I had been feeling (well, except for over the summer with the high blood pressure and migraines – I don’t think I’ll forget that anytime soon, and if I do, I can always re-read my blogs!). It turns out I had been feeling bad for a very long time. Your body adjusts to that though, and it does it so progressively that you don’t realize what you’re missing until you get it back. The most amazing part is how wonderful I feel and I’m not even at 100% yet. I’m still in healing mode, so my energy levels are still a little low and my hormones and appetite haven’t leveled off yet (and let’s not forget those nerve endings that still have to continue to grow). I’m guessing I’m still several months away from being back to “normal,” but this really is such a better place to be than I've been in in a very long time.
Thanks kidney, for giving me back so many things that I had lost. It’s only been four weeks, but I know the next forty years (or more) are going to be amazing.