Almost a year?

How did this happen? I received my notice (a bit early) that it’s time for my 1-year post-donation check-up. Next week will actually be 10 months, but it caused me to reflect a bit…. At this time last year, I had passed all my health tests that indicated I was in perfect health to donate. But….the transplant team was still hoping for a closer match to up odds of success. Yep – 12 months ago today, I was still in limbo. Lisa, as you might recall, really liked the idea of a back-up and asked me to not give my old left kidney to anyone else. Hmmm….didn’t have any takers. It pretty much amazes me that the transplant committee didn’t approve the transplant until the end of September. I’ll write more about those feelings next month, but on October 21, 2010, Lisa became the proud owner of my old left kidney – and since it was football season –Brutus (as in Buckeye) seemed to be an appropriate name. No Ohio State jokes or slams please, some of us are bit sensitive and other than getting to celebrate a year with only my old right kidney – can’t say I’m looking forward to this year’s football season.

I’m actually looking forward to getting my labs drawn in a couple months. I’m quite fascinated at this point at how the body heals itself. I don’t have any discomfort around my incisions and seem to have all normal sensation in the area. The only adverse health issue this year has been the whole vision issue. I have 3 pairs of glasses now – I rarely wear any of them. I guess I should, I’m thinking there’s a purpose for them, they just don’t come natural to me.
Otherwise, I’ve really been enjoying these last 10 months. Well – other than the wind, heat and drought of living in the southwest. I have replaced so many plants and keep hoping others will spontaneously burst to life contrary to what every nursery center in the area tells me – dead is dead. Ugh! I’ve made some great new friends and have had the opportunity to talk to a couple of women who were also scheduled to donate. One, Michele’s to her father was successful and they both sound back to normal and enjoying life. And the other, Margot – is in limbo. The transplant team for her cousin is seeking a better match. I’ve been hot air ballooning and subsequently joined a balloon crew. No, that’s not like a gang – well not exactly… basically, when needed, I’ll help the pilot and other crew members get a balloon in the air, chase it around from the ground until it lands and get it all packed up again to do another time. In return, I periodically get to ride. Oh yeah! This past weekend, there was a little ballooning contest and about 30 or so balloons went up. It was wonderful! This morning, chicken dog (Brin) had quite a scare – a balloon was totally stalking him and trying for an open desert dog abduction. Luckily, the pilot couldn’t swoop down with protector dog Gabby in little sister protection mode. Brin typically runs about off-leash – when a balloon (or 3 like this morning) is near – he practically puts his leash back on and pulls me home. Anyway, we made it home safely but he didn’t leave my side most of the day. Let’s see – my other highlight so far was finally seeing a concert at Red Rocks. I also feel very blessed that Lisa took a wrong turn and we missed seeing YES. They need to retire. 90-year old men jamming on stage is not pretty. STYX was reasonably good – the weather (since we missed the thunderstorm during our wrong turn) was terrific. Next up – Sugarland (birthday gift from my sister) this week in Albuquerque and the Zac Brown Band at Red Rocks (Thanks Christine!) over Labor Day. This reflection makes me think that the “Life is Good” folks should design a line of t-shirts featuring kidneys doing fun stuff!

To end – one of the blood tests that is monitored for both donor and recipient is a blood creatinine lvel. This is what WebMD has to say about the test: The blood creatinine level shows how well your kidneys are working. A high creatinine level may mean your kidneys are not working properly. The amount of creatinine in the blood depends partly on the amount of muscle tissue you have; men generally have higher creatinine levels than women. The moral of this story….all the work I’ve doing with my personal trainer could be impacting one of the most important kidney function tests! Oh well…I won’t know for a few more weeks.

And now, for those of you who also think in song….a few lyrics from Rent:
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes,
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Moments so dear.
Five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights
In cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.

In five hundred twenty-five thousand
Six hundred minutes
How do you measure
A year in the life?

Something to think about…. A friend posted on Facebook that today WOULD HAVE BEEN his wife’s 46th birthday. This friend is younger than me and is a widower. I’ve been thinking about his post all day. And I know I’m blessed to be alive, to have friends and family, to have too many animals, my health, a great job and so many other things to be thankful for – but are they really measures of a year in life?