🎶I owe, I owe, it’s back to work I go!🎶

So the time has finally come. I return to work today after a long 12 weeks of recovery. I have to say that the break has been really nice, aside from the whole recovery thing. After 15 years of working at UPS, taking a few months off is really nice! I got to spend tons of time with my family, catch up on all my TV shows, play lots of Xbox, went to the movies a ton with the Moviepass card(what a bargain!), and even got to do a field trip with CJ. For those of you who want to know about the recovery process, it was rather painless. I only took some mild pain meds for about a week, then it was just Tylenol for anything I was feeling. As for the time, if I had a desk job, I would have been back in about 3 or 4 weeks. Since I have a very physical job, I got put on the full 12 week treatment. I’ve slowly added more to my daily activities and strain I’ll let myself do. About a week ago I began picking up CJ, who weighs about 50 pounds. I have noticed since doing these things that my wound would ache a while later. Mowing the lawn was another thing that added to the discomfort. Not to say it was a paralyzing type pain, just severe discomfort. Tonight will be the real test. Going back in and twisting and pulling and lifting. I think even without the surgery, taking 3 months off would be difficult to walk back in to.

I really want to say thank you to all my friends and family who have been there for us during this time. From the ones who were there right at the start offering financial assistance to the people who showed up with dinners for us during the first weeks of my recovery and to all of you who kept Todd and me in your prayers, thank you for your love and support! Without all of you we definitely would have had a much different experience through all of this. Words cannot express how blessed I feel to have the family and friends that I do.

It’s been a while

So I was released to come home 3 days after the transplant. A short time really. I was told it would be 3-5days and I got it done early.

One of the things I believe was best for me was to walk. My wife was incredibly insistent that I walk every 30 minutes or so. It wasn’t painful or anything and helped my body get the blood flowing. I think this helped me get to go home earlier.

I know some people are asking for photos of the scars. I will get those posted as soon as I figure out how to put a gallery link. Some people may not want to see them.

Now that I’m home, I feel a bit more comfortable. Getting to sleep with my pillow, on my couch, etc. I didn’t get to sleep in my bed for about a week. It is uncomfortable to lay down flat. I prefered to sleep sitting up on the couch with my feet propped up.

Being a 3rd shift employee for 15 years has my sleep schedule all kinds of messed up. I can’t sleep at night. I try but it just won’t happen. Most nights I’m up until 4. That puts me 4 hours earlier to sleep than when I was working. So I guess I’m moving the internal clock around. I’m hoping to get to sleep closer to midnight by the end of the week.

As for how I feel, I won’t lie. It hurts. More of a discomfort hurt, but still there. I guess a dull pain in places, some sharp shooting in others. Last night my belly button was really bad. I believe some of the glue was pulled up and poking me. I just couldn’t get it to stop. I tried laying g on my side, belly, sitting up…. Nothing helped. Angela was brave and clipped the loose ends off and I was a bit better. Still had to basically lay still to keep from feeling it.

I am mildly concerned about the lower scar. It feels like there is a hard spot behind it. I’m guessing the scar itself. I’ll ask my Dr on Monday when I have my 3 week follow-up appointment. I hope and pray I don’t have a hernia or anything down there. It hurts when I laugh or sneeze or cough.

I hope I covered most everything that’s going on here. I’ll try to do more posting now that I’m up and feeling better.

Getting going again

So, the transplant was a success! My brother is feeling much better and I’m doing well. I’m off the IV and my catheter is out as well. It took some trying to pee for the first time, but I got it done and have gone a few times since.

My feet have swollen though. I have the leg compression devices on them, but they are still swollen. Hopefully it will calm down now that I’m able to get liquid out properly.

Other than that, I’m doing really good. I got to walk over to Todd’s room and visit with him some today. That was really great!Me and Todd post transplant

Last day with 2

So it’s the last day with 2 kidneys. I did my best to eat properly last night. Went out to eat with my parents, Tom, and my wife. We ate at long horn around 5pm. I had some pork chops and mashed potatoes. From what I’ve read, that should be a decent meal. Looked like softer white meats and the like were a preferred diet pre-operation. It seems that having white meats and avoiding fruits/vegetables and fiber are the best ideas to avoid post operation constipation. I guess the last thing I would want would be to have to push with the wounds.

I feel like I’m in a state of contentment. Like the eye of a storm. It has been so hectic lately and this weekend and today have just slowed down. My wife has let me just relax and take it easy at home, work let me take off a little early… Just nice and easy times.

I want to say thank you to everyone who has been praying for my family these past few days. I have had so very many people coming up to me and telling me about it. Entire churches took time to pray for us and our doctors. It means so much to me, and I thank you all!

I guess it’s time to get ready to hop in the shower so I can make my 5:30 arrival time! I am really excited to do this! To be able to help out my brother is a great honor and privilege.

And it finally got me

Got up this morning and decided to mow the lawn. Figured I’d not be able to do that for a while. So I put my head phones on, put on Michael W Smith radio on Google play, and started up…. Then like a flood, emotions hit me. Not just that what I’m doing is all cool and helpful and everything… I started thinking about life in general. That God gave me this bonus that I get to share with my brother. I guess I was feeling such happiness that it set me off. Who knows. So I’m sure my neighbors are curious about that one.

And we are a Go!

Yesterday my wife and I spent the day in Indianapolis at IU Health. Todd was also going to be there for some tests, so we found him in the waiting room. They both got to meet my surgeon and my coordinator and I got to give more blood and urine!

The meeting with the surgeon was fantastic. He had a whole PowerPoint presentation on why it is being done and how he was doing it. He had photos of his surgeries, facts, and some great information. I’m going to see if he will let me have a copy of the presentation to share up here. He did agree to take some pictures during my procedure for me!! So we can all see what my insides look like!

And now the great news. I just got the call and all my tests came back clean! We are 1,000,000% on for Monday at 5:30am! How awesome is that?!?

Count down is started

So I got the call today that we are 100% cleared to do the final test. I keep hearing “the last tests”. And then there’s another “last test” . So now we are officially on the books for a August 28th surgery with my final “final tests” scheduled the week before.

We also get to meet my surgeon. That will be nice. To meet the person who will have their hands inside my body. I keep trying to come up with questions they haven’t heard yet…

So 3 weeks from now I will be about 8 grams lighter and really doped up, I’d assume. Hopefully they don’t keep me all goofy too long after the transplant. I’m not a wimp when it comes to pain, but I’m not the world’s greatest either.

Getting more real

I think this is starting to become more real in my mind. Up till now I have just been thinking it was simple and far off. Now we have the date scheduled and it is closing in. I’m not worried or anything, it just really hit me as I typed the words into my calendar. Reading Todd’s post yesterday also put the time out into perspective. Just 25 more days, which is less than the number of days since my trip to Indiana. Seems like that was just a few days ago.

An interesting point, it is amazing the number of people I have spoken with that have someone in need of a kidney. From people at work who have loved ones on dialysis to even the insurance companies phone people. Really amazing to me.

Kicking this thing off

My brother Todd has had kidney disease for most of his life. So about a year ago, he asked the family to get a simple blood test done to see if we could be potential donors. Since the wait list can be as long as 7 years, it helps to have a direct donor. It also helps to avoid the dreaded dialysis to get this done earlier.

I happened to be a match! Well, not just A match, but a “perfect match”. So not only can I donate, but his recovery time will be shorter and there is a significant reduction in the chance of rejection. This also means less drugs he will have to take!!!

So I started this quest almost 1 full year ago. Along the way there have been bumps and sidetracks, but for the most part it has been rather decent.

I will say that anyone looking to do this should be prepared to put up with some red tape and paper pushing issues. For instance, I was told by 2 of the hospitals here in town that they would not perform the 2nd round of testing. This consisted of a chest x-ray, an EKG, as well as about 9 vials of blood work and one giant container of urine(24 hours worth). The first hospital said they were afraid they would not get paid. This is ridiculous, as I had an insurance card provided by the hospital doing the transplant! That hospital then referred me to the University of Kentucky hospital. They informed me that, unless the transplant was being done there, they wouldn’t do any of the testing. They told me to just go do it at the Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, since they were the ones doing f the transplant. I thought that was insane, so I decided to go ahead and retry the first hospital. I prayed on the way in that if this was the time God wanted this to happen he had better get me some help. It worked. It just shows that if you talk to the right person (or deity) you can get anything done.

The results from the 2nd test came back in about a week or so. I had a nice clean bill of health! Next step, schedule a trip to Indiana to meet with the fine folks at IU Hospital.

I got to meet with all kinds of people. A psychologist, a social worker, a donor advocate, and a doctor. I also got more x-rays and a CT scan.

For those of you who have never had a CT scan, I’ll try my best to describe it. They put an IV in that will inject a dye to show up on the scan. You lay down, grab ahold of a bar hanging above your head, and the table slides in and out. Sounds fun! Then they explain that the dye will give you a warm sensation and you will feel as though you need to use the restroom. Upon hearing this I think “It’s a kidney scan, so I’ll feel as though my bladder is full and need to pee. No big deal. I’ll just empty mine before the scan.” So I’m all comfortable, shorts pulled down to my mid-thigh, towel laying over my personal spot on a swinging table with a trapeze to keep my arms up above my head. Then I hear a voice say here comes the dye. It started right behind my ears, this hot, flushed feeling, then the whole back of my skull. I thought “Odd, the scan is of my kidneys, why am I warm in my head?” Then the warm moved…. down. Have you ever had diarrhea, been in a car and know it was coming, holding on for dear life that last mile. Then you finally make it home, run in, open the bathroom door, struggle with your belt. Ya know that intense feeling in your lower area through all that. That’s as close a description as I can put on it. Then, as quickly as it showed up, it was gone. The whole process took about a minute,from what I was told. Felt like about 5 if you ask me. So to say “A feeling as though you need to use the restroom” is misleading just a bit.

Then I’m told I can’t go pee until after the x-ray so that the dye stays in and they can see it on there. When it was all over, The x-ray guy let me see mine. He informed me I was going to need to pee soon and showed me a half filled bladder and more on the way! He was right, i did. For the first time ever I literally got to say I could see I needed to pee!

So now here we are. A month after my visit and our case was presented to the board. I was told that they wanted me to do just one more test. They wanted to make sure I was still nicotine free. I was a smoker for over half my life and they wanted to make sure I didn’t fall back on old habits. I took that test last Wednesday morning and the results will be back in a week. After that comes back clean, we will schedule a date for the transplant and get my brother back on the road to feeling more like himself again.