It’s hard to believe that it has been one month today, since I received my life saving kidney transplant.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this happy and content with my life. For the past 2+ years I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety surrounding the waiting process. Now with my transplant I am overjoyed with the new life I’ve been given. The freedom to start and live my life again.
I want to give thanks to my donor and their family. If it wasn’t for their decision to be an organ donor, I wouldn’t be here with my new kidney. For those of you who don’t know, I received a kidney from a non-living donor. I do not have any information on the person or their family at this time. I’ve just been told numerous amount of times by the OHSU team that I received a great kidney, and that I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
These are pictures of us in pre-op, where I was minutes away from going in to the operating room!
When I received my kidney it immediately started working. It was peeing A LOT. At the same time I got my kidney, the surgeons also removed my dialysis catheter. My surgery was about 4-5 hours long. They say the kidney was placed in me around 5:30 pm. I woke up in the post-op around 7:30 pm, and was eventually wheeled back to my room around 9:30 with pain meds.
For next three days I had intense IV immunotherapy drugs and was mostly in bed sleeping, thanks to the IV Benadryl. However, I was up and walking the day after my transplant. The team wanted me to walk at least three times a day.
Here is a picture of me walking for the first time and sleeping. (Be aware that there were lot of things in and on my body. I had two IVs, a CV line, a catheter, and a draining bulb on my left side. But my smile says it all!)
The routine was steady and predictable in the hospital; morning meds, morning doctor visits, sleep, eat, sleep, evening meds, sleep and constant check-ins with the nurses and CNAS. I can’t say enough positive things about the nurses on the 4A of OHSU. They were attentive, informative, and supportive. I was fortunate to have two of the same nurses for three days in a row. We discharged on Saturday afternoon. The doctors thought I was doing well enough to go home and they wanted me recovering in my own environment.
These pictures of us leaving the hospital with a new kidney!
Since being home, I’ve had to time to relax, rest and eat. It’s weird having all this energy. I didn’t realize how tired my body has been for the last three years. With my new kidney and the steroids, I find myself sleeping less and having more energy, I’m not sleeping for 9-10 hours a night anymore. It feels good.
My kidney function is doing great! I couldn’t have asked for a smoother process. Before I had my transplant my creatinine was 5.0 something after my transplant it’s been around 1.05. For those of you don’t know creatinine is a measure of kidney function you can find more information about it here.
These are very graphic pictures of my scars. The first picture is my scar with staples and the second picture is my scar without staples. I had the staples in me for 21 days. If you look at the first picture on the left you can see the scare from my first transplant. Random fact, they have never removed any of my kidneys. I currently have four kidneys in my body!
I have two weekly blood draws to measure kidney function, immunosuppressants and medications. I was going to clinic once a week, but since I’ve been doing so well, it got moved to biweekly. Whenever I’m in public I will be wearing a mask for the next three months, and anybody who has been sick in the last two weeks can’t be around me. There are other restrictions but I won’t go into details about them. If you want you can come visit me and hear about them instead!
Thank you already to everyone who has been supportive and helpful in my recovery. I feel so lucky and fortunate to have people that care about me. This has been quite a journey for me and for those who have watched and been a part of it. It gives me comfort to know that there were so many people praying, hoping and wishing for me to get a kidney. I hope that you still continue this journey with me.