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.

Sometimes it really hits home.

I’m typically a very neutral, non emotional, hard to read, keep to myself guy.  It’s not that I don’t have emotions or show them, but it’s  pretty contained.  I’m aware.  All along, I’ve been level headed about this whole process and still overwhelmed with what my brother is doing for me.  I feel those emotions creeping up on me in waves at times.  A warm feeling, a stutter in my breath and then tears in my eyes.  It’s uncomfortable for me to cry or feel these emotions.  It hasn’t happened often in my life.  For some odd  reason, I’m almost ashamed of it, but know it perfectly normal.

Well, today was really one of those days.  I came  home from my last day of work for a few weeks and pulled up this blog and it just really hit me.  Not sure what or why, but it grabbed me pretty good.  I was alone, but still fought off the tears.  My eyes watered and I had a minute.  I don’t know what I’m afraid of, but I just don’t let myself let that stuff out.

I want to remember these feelings and so I post it here.  I’m not ashamed, it’s just me.  But I want to share that I am very grateful for what my brother is doing for me.  I don’t take it lightly and appreciate it so incredibly.  Love you brother.

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?!?

Two weeks til Transplant

Tick tock.  Seems to be passing slowly, but I know soon enough I will be looking back thinking how fast things progressed.

My newest fun thing is water retention.  Especially in my ankles and feet.  It’s getting to the point that wearing socks is uncomfortable.  I quit wearing crew socks due to the elastic.  When possible I don’t wear shoes.  My feet feel like water balloons filled to the max about to burst.

One last round of testing in Indy next Wednesday and then I see Dr Sutton the next day.

I received my transplant “manual” from IU this weekend.  I haven’t spent much time looking at it, but it does have info for reduced rate hotels.  I will send an email out later with that info.

But you look fine

It’s such an odd condition.  I’ve been dealing with this disease all my life, but until recently it hasn’t really impacted me.  They tell me it has been such a slow progression that I mostly won’t notice it until the end.  Well, thanks to my nephrologist, Dr Jame Sutton, my progress has been well tracked and monitored.  2 years ago when my level dropped low enough to be placed on the transplant list, I felt completely healthy.  I just took his advice and followed the guidelines given to me by Indiana University.

I’ve read in transplant forums, kidney disease is the easiest way to pass away, you just keep getting more tired, until you don’t wake up.  It doesn’t make your hair fall out, your weight doesn’t change, your speech doesn’t change… but internally you are dying.  You can’t filter the toxins.

Earlier this year, my level dropped significantly and that was the first time I really noticed the impact it was having on me.  I was a few weeks away from my quarterly appointment with Dr Sutton.  I had this draining week feeling that wouldn’t pass.  I decided to get my labs done early to see if that would explain anything and sure enough, my kidney level had dropped from 21% to 14%.

So, it was in June this year that I came to the realization that getting a  transplant was in my near future or I would be looking at dialysis.  Up to this point I had let my family know that my opinion was to just keep on trucking and watch the numbers.  NO big deal, I’m fine.  But now, I was feeling the impact and the test were confirming it.   My brother stepped up big and got his testing completed by June and by July we were looking at surgery dates.

In just 2 months, things have moved so quickly.  I am thankful they have though.  At first, we discussed options of transplanting at the end of the summer or putting it off until next spring.  I’m glad now that we managed to get it arranged for sooner rather than later.  This overall feeling of exhaustion just hangs.  There is never enough sleep.  I don’t feel ill, I haven’t completely lost my appetite, I don’t have a fever… but I have a constant overall feeling of ‘I am just not right’.  Anymore, it doesn’t pass, it just lingers.  Almost like a terrible hangover without the sick stomach or headache.

I see Dr Sutton again on the 24th and will have labs done the week prior.  I have no doubt my numbers are worse than ever.  Without this transplant, I believe I would be starting dialysis soon.  If I didn’t have my brother making this donation, I imagine Dr Sutton would have started me on that path in June.

I am so fortunate to have my brother give me this gift.  I’m told I will feel better than I can recall.  I am sure looking forward to 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.