April 21 Update

Hello friends and family. It’s been about 3 weeks since my last blog update, so I figured it’s time to give an update to you all whom I haven’t spoken personally with.  The last several weeks I’ve been on my normal twice-per-week clinic schedule at the hospital. I show up at 7am for blood and urine draw, then I wait around until 10:00 for my Dr. appointment to go over lab results.

If you’ve been reading my blog since surgery,  you’ll know that the most important lab result is the creatinine level in blood.  Creatinine is a protein that’s released by your muscles.  Healthy kidneys filter most of this out of your system and into your urine. Unhealthy kidneys leave some of this creatinine in your bloodstream.   Don’t be confused – creatinine isn’t a dangerous toxic thing – it’s just a very convenient way to measure your kidney function.  The lower your creatinine level, the healthier your kidneys are.   Anyway, a healthy kidney’s creatinine reading is 0.6 to 1.2 mg/dl.  (This is basically a measurement).  A transplanted kidney ideally should be around 1.5.

The lowest I got to was 1.6 – that was about 3 weeks ago. Since then it has risen to the 1.8 range, and that’s where it’s at now.  It’s been consistently 1.8 for the past couple of weeks, so that’s looking like my baseline number for right now.  This could improve (or regress) in the future, but for now it’s a decent number and it’s good that I’m below the 2.0 threshold.  For the first month or so after surgery I was in the mid 2’s – that prompted a biopsy to see what was wrong. After they did find some rejection going on, I went on a 10 day treatment to stop the rejection.  That is when my level dropped to 1.6. In the past 3 or 4 weeks I’ve slightly risen to 1.8 – and have been hanging right there for a couple of weeks now.  My immunosuppressant medication dosage does affect my creatinine level – if it’s too high it makes creatinine go higher.  They’ve been lowering my dosage and things seem to have leveled out.

Anyway, that’s the tedious numbers game – now I’ll get to how my actual life is going. Good news is, I started back to work this past week! It was great to get back in the office and use my brain again. Initially I was concerned I would be worn out during the day – because in the 6 weeks after surgery that I was off work, I wasn’t sleeping very well at night, and was taking frequent naps during the day.  As it turns out, I’ve been sleeping great this past week since I’ve started work!  I’ve felt great at work during the day, and sleeping great at night.  I’ve been getting 7-9 hours each night, which is unheard of since surgery. It’s almost as if I have my normal life back.  That’s a good sign!

One side effect, my transplanted kidney area has been slightly sore this week. I let my doctor know about it, he said to just take it easy and not overdo it. He’s not concerned about infection or any other issues as my numbers look fine.  I’m assuming that the slight discomfort is from actually moving around more, which is a good thing for getting stronger in recovery.  I’m not doing any heavy lifting or anything strenuous, I’m just up and walking around more, driving more, etc… it’s not too strenuous but it’s a lot different than sitting on a recliner all day.  So hopefully this new normal routine of working will make me stronger.

I’m to the point now where I need to plan my Spring and Summer of further recovery and getting stronger. Since I’ve been home from hospital in the past 3 or 4 weeks, I’ve been doing 30 minutes of exercise each day. Now, when I say exercise, I basically mean “moving around” haha. I’m still not allowed to lift any more than 10 lbs, so real weightlifting is out of the question. I do have small 10 lb dumbbells that I use though.  I do the normal dumbbell exercises, but will do like 20 reps with the low weight. It’s better than nothing – but does keep me moving.  I also either walk or ride my spin bike every day.  I do a brisk 30 minute walk now that it’s finally starting to warm up a little (what a crappy COLD Spring we’ve had so far!) … or if it’s too cold out I’ll ride my spin bike in the living room.  I don’t do any heavy sprints or high resistance or anything, just basic pedaling with little resistance – but still it’s exercise – which counts for something in recovery.   Anyway I plan on upping my intensity and frequency little by little as time goes on this Spring, and by summer I’m hoping to be able to start jogging and riding my bike outside. (I’m afraid to ride a real bike outside right now – all the bumps in the road may be a little too rough on my kidney area right now). We’ll see how that progression goes.

All in all I’m pretty satisfied with how things are going. I’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but nothing that couldn’t be handled. I’m determined to continue with my next steps of recovery, and taking care of myself as best I can along the way. Thank you for reading and caring!

Terry
(April 21, 2018)

 

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