Wow, 2013 nearly kicked my butt. And in many ways, it left me wondering about many different aspects of my life. There were some great things, some trying times, a lot of retrospection but all in all there is reason to know that 2014 is going to be a great year. Since this is a blog about living kidney donorship (is that a word?) and transplants – I’ll start with the health stuff.
October of 2013 marked three years since Brutus moved north (to Denver) – and the unnamed – remaining, right kidney is kicking some arse! As of December, my creatinine level was totally normal. As in, normal for someone with 2 kidneys and I only have one! Since the donation, my creatinine has been high (as expected) and so has something called the GFR. The GFR is what tells the medical community if someone has chronic kidney disease. While my creatinine was high, my GFR was in a category that said I was Stage 3 of Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)! There are only five (5) stages, and higher is NOT better. I don’t remember being told about that during making a decision or after the donation. It was scary. Anyway, in November I started seeing a Nephrologist to help calm my anxiety about living with one kidney, and by December I was back to Stage 2. Wahoo! Maybe the remaining kidney’s name should be Rocky – for Rockin’ Right!
The other health aspect in 2013, unfortunately is my blood pressure. Post-donation, a donor can expect a 5 mm/Hg increase in diastolic pressure. I went from normal/low blood pressure to way too high. I’m working with the nephrologist to get it under control and for the time being am on beta blockers. The good thing about that – its really helped with my migraines. The bad news -they really make me sluggish. The hope is that I can lose some more weight and my blood pressure will come under control – so hey – there’s a reason for a resolution if any…
All of this has been making me think it would really be great if I could find some funding to do some research and write a book about what it really means to be a Living Kidney Donor. Or maybe what the transplant centers don’t tell you, and you need to find out for yourself. What I learned in 2013 is that it’s a responsibility to take care of one’s body, to educate others about things I can and cannot do (take ibuprofin for one!), and how you really have to be an advocate for yourself in the health care system.
This blog will be too long to totally capture a year – but other highlights or lowlights of 2013 include:
- Adopting a 12/13 year old yellow lab – Sophie suggesting calling her Tinkerbell – she became Tinks. Tinks taught me to live every minute of my life and just enjoy the here and now. She was only with us for 6 months before getting sick and having to be put down, but she made a lasting impression on my life and I’m forever grateful for having the opportunity.
- I spend most Saturdays volunteering for Luvin’ Labs and hanging out with the pups that have been rescued and are awaiting adoption. I think the Lab (and probably most dog) motto should be “All you need is love, and a big slobbery kiss.”
- A job change – let’s leave this at – I’m learning a lot about how the Federal government works. But it’s nice to be using my brain again.
- Trips to Ohio to go to an OSU game, and visit some of the family and friends. A trip to Orlando to hang out with cousins I’ve not spent time with since we were kids. Oh yeah…while there I did a 10 mile race at Disney! And of course trips to the DC area for work and there always seems to be time to see some of my DC pals.
- Celebrating Hanakuh with Lisa, Brutus, Sophie, Daniel and Liz Latts – this also coincided with Thanksgiving, the twins turning 4, and the Ohio State/Michigan game.
I’ve been blessed with expanding my network of friends across the country and locally in New Mexico, good health (for the most part), friends, family, pets, a great job, and a roof over my head. Now here’s to 2014!