Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Goodbye Dialysis Tube, Hello Life!!

It was exactly four months ago tonight that the call came in that a kidney was available for Lonnie.  It was January and freezing cold out.  The Packers had not yet won the Super Bowl, or even the NFC Championship game for that matter.  We were all so excited for the new kidney, but apprehensive as well.  Would the surgery be a success?  Would the kidney reject?  Would Lonnie's vascular system make it more difficult than the surgeons at UW thought it would be?  How would our emotions hold up through another set of possible highs and lows?  We knew that we needed to fall back on exactly what had gotten us this far -- HOPE and PRAYER.

So here we are....4 months later.  Lonnie has been back down to Madison for follow-up a couple of times now. He gets bloodwork twice a week, which is decreased from the original regimen of three times per week.  The only complication thus far has been that he developed a virus called BK virus(you may remember that back in our days of testing we had trouble with the DQ gene which I promptly dubbed the Dairy Queen gene -- well this one earned another food nickname, the Burger King virus!).  This virus is apparently quite common among kidney transplant patients and comes about due to the immunosuppressing actions of the anti-rejection drugs.  Fortunately, UW managed to adjust the anti-rejection drug dosages down to a level that caused the virus load to drop right back down.  Now they are slowly increasing the medications again until they can find a happy medium.  The doctors and medical staff at UW do not seem to be concerned however that this will be a long-term issue, which we are thankful for. In spite of that Lonnie's kidney functions continue to be very good, which is simply amazing in my opinion!  When I think back to the day that Froedtert Hospital told Lonnie he would never have a kidney transplant I am simply in awe of where he is today.  

As I am writing this post I just happened to glance at the clock in the corner of my computer.  11:07 p.m.  The exact time 4 months ago when Ginger called me to say that the call had come in from UW.  And then I think about today.  This was the day that Lonnie traveled to UW Hospital to have yet another surgery, however this one much simpler.  They removed his dialysis tube that gave him life for so many months while we went on our kidney journey.  With God's grace he will not ever have the need for that tube again.  What a feeling of being set free that must be for him.  Getting that tube out is not just removing a nuisance from his body -- it is also setting him free to enjoy life once again.  Even though he has not used the dialysis tube since the day before surgery, it was always there as a reminder of where he had been.  Now it is gone and life with the new kidney can truly begin!

Many people have asked me whether or not I will still donate my kidney to someone else who needs it.  I have prayed for 4 months about this.  It is on my mind every single day.  Mike and I have talked at length about the options.  While I do not have a set plan at this point, I believe something is in the works.  Stay tuned.  God has a plan!!

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