I am still alive with only one kidney. Okay, haven’t gotten over my drama queen issues…. And am being a smart ass. 6 months is a big deal in the organ donor business. I don’t feel much different than I did at 5 months, or 4 months, or 3 months – but just happy. And still very glad and energized by this whole process. Every day I marvel at how blessed my life is/has been and how this experience has enriched it. Those of you who know me well, are probably wondering how the heck I can say that after the past 2 weeks – but you know what? A tea bag quote kind of sums it up – the heart sees deeper than the eye.
I wrote last week about Gabby’s experience with the pit bull – she has totally rebounded, stitches removed today and is fine. I took her off her pain meds after a day – heck – if I can do it – she can do it! (just kidding – she was no longer acting like she was uncomfortable) However, as we got through that drama – my cat Sebastian (white and black guy on the critter page) was noticeably declining. I won’t bore you with the full details, but after a couple vet visits and a few days – the verdict was that ‘Bas had cancer, was end stage, and I needed to make a tough decision. I had him “put down” on Monday. I can’t recall when I’ve cried so much, was so scared, or so sad. He was not even 10 – way too young for a cat. Part of the diagnosis process was both an x-ray and ultrasound. Both vets commented on how good his kidneys looked! So proud of my boy! So Sebastian is off in kitty heaven hopefully being brushed 24/7 and keeping everyone awake with his purring. Special thanks to all who sent nice messages and words of support and to my friend Amy (Gannon) who donated in his honor to Watermelon Ranch (www.wmranch.org – a no kill shelter in NM).
And while I’m super sad about Sebastian – I was also reminded how the compassion and kindness of others is so important in our lives. I had the great fortune of working with incredible vet offices through both pet issues and it was just a great reminder of the beauty in other people. And when I stopped perceiving the situation with “my eyes” and just followed “my heart”, I was able to just let go and trust. I’m a control freak and this was not easy! But it’s also something that you learn in the donation process. Parts of it go as we want, sometimes it doesn’t (the repeated delays of moving forward…), but in the end everything works out. I know I’m stronger since the donation 6 months ago – not only physically, but also emotionally. One of the great gifts of this donation is that I know I can do anything I set my mind to. I may not always like what I have to do – but darn it – I can do it.
I believe Lisa is going to post on her 6-month medical review, so I’ll let her report on her status. My 6-month appointment is May 6th. I’ll be in Denver for a meeting, so decided to just go back to the transplant center. I am quite anxious to see how my kidney is doing……
I’m an emotional eater. When I’m bored, I tend to eat. When I’m sad, I tend to eat. When annoyed, frustrated – you get the picture. I also ALWAYS can find excuses to make poor food choices when I travel. I thought I had last week covered because I told EVERYONE I was on weight watchers and I’d have to behave. I think I gained 4.5 maybe 5 pounds last week. That’s just dumb. And a setback for me. So, I went to a weight watchers meeting last week, but skipped weigh in. Worked my butt off (literally) this past week and weighed in tonight. I was still up 1 pound from my last weigh in. But, with renewed resolve. After losing 4+ pounds in 4.5 days – I know I’ll have a loss next week and I know I’ll hit my 10 pound weight goal.
On the topic of kidney donation – I’d like to welcome Margot as a reader of this blog. Margot is 62, lives in Santa Fe and is donating a kidney to a cousin on May 11th! It was great to meet her via phone today and hope that you all will pray for her and wish her and her cousin luck. I don’t know a lot of details, but the recipient is a young woman who lives in Greece and this will be her 2nd kidney. She also has a sister in failure and in need of a kidney. The sister is A- – so if any of you know someone considering donation, we can certainly get folks in touch with each other. Margot will be donating at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and has promised to update me post donation. I’m so excited for her- but that seems a bit wrong for someone who is preparing to undergo surgery. I guess I just know how much this has changed my life and know she’ll have no regrets.
And onto my soap box. Aggressive dogs should be on leash or not allowed in public. Gabby (pic above) was attacked by a pit bull this past Saturday. I’m not one to hate all pit bulls. I’ve met some perfectly nice ones. But this particular dog, Amber – attacked Gabby when I first got her 1 ½ years ago. Since that time, on our weekend walks – I avoided that dog and its’ owner at all costs. They would also watch out for me and get Amber on leash or change course. The other woman that walks with Amber’s owner has told me more than once that Amber has a short fuse and should not be off leash. Well – this past Saturday, while I saw their cars – I didn’t see the women or the dogs until it was too late. Gabby was attacked again. This time – it resulted in her needing 6 stitches, and she has multiple puncture wounds on her back legs and thighs. Brin was bit as well – but one bite and he just removed himself from the melee (so thankful for that!). Amber was euthanized. This didn’t have to happen. The owner knew the dog had aggressive issues – she had attacked her other dog last week – yet she still let her run off leash. When I called after leaving Gabby in the incredibly kind and capable hands of my vet office – my intent was to plead with the owner to start leashing and possibly muzzling Amber. I did not ask her to euthanize. It really breaks my heart because this could have been prevented. So if you have a dog that has aggressive tendencies or know someone who does – please encourage them to be responsible owners. Off box. (and epilogue – Gabby is doing well – she’s back to terrorizing Brin and dog toys that don’t have stuffing, but has decided she needs to sleep with her head on my pillow while in recovery.)
1. Sorry for my melodrama over the need for glasses. If this is the worst thing that can happen to me “health”-wise – then I remain a very lucky person.
2. I went to Weight Watchers this morning. I had a new scheme that since I’m traveling next week and it’s really hard for me to stick to a low fat, low calorie, good for me food choices when I travel – weighing in later in the week this week, and as soon as I get home next week – I’d have more incentive to behave. Very happy to report that I’ve now lost a total of 9.6 lbs and hit my 5% goal.
3. I received a note from weight watchers that I was losing weight too fast. They recommend 1-2 pounds per week. Tough. I have momentum – I’m going to keep doing what I can.
I really need to schedule my 6-month post donation transplant physician check-up. These 6-month visits are entered into a database to track outcomes and health status of living donors. I continue to have an incredible life and much to be thankful for. I’m amazed each and every day how much incentive and drive becoming a living kidney donor has given me. I wear my “I’m a living donor” t-shirt to bed because I’ve never wanted to publicize the experience for attention. But, I’m strongly considering starting to wear it in public. A bit more weight off – and I can wear it as a dress! Hope everyone has a healthy, happy weekend.