Monday, August 15, 2011

Surgical Follow-Up

Last Wednesday, Mike, the boys, and I took a trip down to Madison for my first surgical follow-up appointment.  We left early so we could stop at Dick's Sporting Goods to shop for football gear.  After having lunch at TGI Fridays, we headed over to UW.  First I had to have lab tests and then I went down to the transplant clinic to meet with Dr. Bellingham.  After coming in the room and asking how I was doing she immediately asked about Sara.  She was very pleased to hear that we are both doing so well.  Dr. Bellingham removed the 2 extra stitches I had done the day I left the hospital and then basically just took time to talk to me.  I have great respect and admiration for her and all of the doctors and nurses at UW Hospital.  They have been simply wonderful to me throughout this entire process and I cannot say enough good about what they do!  My lab results were given to me by the nurse before I left my appointment.  They had warned me that my creatinine would go up after surgery due to the right kidney having to take over and do all of the work.  Ideally the creatinine should be under 1.0.  Before surgery mine was 0.76.  The day after my surgery it was 1.26.  And last Wednesday it was back down to 1.06!  That was great news.  My hematocrit and blood sugar were running low, but they were not concerned about that at this point.  Dr. Bellingham told me to come back in 6 months, which surprised me since they had originally told me 4 months.  So I made an appointment for February.  The next day, my coordinator Chris called to tell me she was sorry she missed me when I was down there.  Then she told me that I actually DO need to come back in 4 months and that I should never listen to the surgeon -- ha!  Of course she was kidding.  It turns out that health-wise it would be no problem at all to be seen back in 6 months.  However, due to the strict governing of transplant centers, there are two national agencies which require follow-up reports on the donor after surgery.  One asks for a report at 6 months, but the other one wants it at 4 months!  So, Chris had my appointment changed to December, which will also allow me to finish up my Christmas shopping in Madison :-)

Most days I really feel pretty good!  I have been able to get back to doing some fun things and getting out of the house.  Sometimes I get very tired, but they warned me that I should expect that.  I also am waiting for my belly to go back to normal size, but I am fitting in most of my clothes so I guess I am on the right track!  It has been really great to spend time with Mike and the boys while I am recovering.  We are all going to be in for a shock when we resume school and work! 

Sara continues to do great!  Her creatinine today was 1.5.  It has continued to drop, which is awesome!  Tomorrow she goes to Madison for her follow-up appointment.  I am anxious to see what they have to say.  Hopefully they will allow her to finally have her dialysis catheter removed for good!  Friday I had lunch with Sara, her mom Carol, her sister Carrie, and her nephew Seth.  It was the first time I saw her since I left the hospital.  She looks amazing!!  When I look at her I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this journey of faith had purpose.  It is incredible that God knew what that purpose was all along, and that He would eventually bring Sara and I together and place His hand of grace and protection over us.  It's truly an amazing feeling!

I have had several people tell me that I should turn my writings into a book.  I would love to consider that, but my biggest fear is that nobody would read it -- and also that I have no clue how to start writing a book!  But the other thing I would love to do is speak about my journey.  Not sure where I will start or if anyone even wants to listen, but for now I am hoping and praying for an opportunity to line something up. 

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