Saturday, 31 December 2011

Three Weeks Later...

Well, it's now three weeks after the surgery and both the recipient and I are doing well and recovering quickly.  I talked to Manu this week and he sounded good - upbeat and positive.  In the second week after the surgery, there was a bit of a concern for him because his creatine levels were creeping up past the normal 120 (his had crept up to 130 then 150).  The doctors did a few tests - X-rays of the new kidney, blood tests, biopsy, etc - to see if there was perhaps something wrong with the kidney (yes, the super-bionic kidney).  But they found nothing of concern.

So it possibly could be the anti-rejection medication that all recipients must take to keep their bodies from rejecting the 'foreign' transplanted organ.  The doctors normally must give the recipient varying doses of this medication until they find a dose that keeps his levels in the normal range.  And this week, Manu's levels are dropping back into the normal range again, so the doctors will keep an eye on that.  Please continue to pray for Manu and his family.  Pray that he recovers well and that there will be no other concerns with the transplant.

As for me, I am recovering much quicker than I had expected.  I was able to get off of all pain meds after only a week post-surgery.  A week and a half after the surgery, I was able to go for walks of 2.75 km, 3.25 km and 6 km.  And at the 2 and a half week mark, I started running again - 5 km and now 7.5 kms.  So I am doing really well with the recovery!  But I'll try to milk it a few more weeks - breakfast in bed and being waited on hand and foot sure is nice!  ;-)

And as you can see from the 3-week-post-surgery foto below, the incisions are healing nicely.  You can barely see the 1cm keyhole scars anymore (yes, 1 of the keyhole incisions was INSIDE my belly-button).  And the 12cm / 5 inch incision is normally hidden by my pants so no one will ever see it except me.  It is kinda lumpy and  tough though, so that still bugs me.   And also, the only other things that still get me is the fatigue (surgeon said it can last for months - but afternoon naps sure help!) and the bloated/swollen feeling in my abdomen (and no, it isn't just my own gas that causes this!).  But I guess the only cure for these things is time.  So thanks for continuing to pray for Manu and me!  Will keep you posted....

[caption id="attachment_1364" align="aligncenter" width="615" caption="3 weeks after surgery"][/caption]



Thursday, 15 December 2011

Love Handles Still There!

[caption id="attachment_1334" align="alignleft" width="177" caption="Me - 15 mins before going into operating theater. Doped up on nerves and excitement!"][/caption]

Well, it's been a week now since the kidney transplant surgery and all is well.  The transplant was a success and the kidney has 'kicked in' immediately in the recipient's body.  I didn't know this, but for some recipients, the new kidney might take a few days or even weeks to start working.  But not for my recipient - my kidney (his now) was working overtime!   I talked to his wife and she said it was working too well!  It had cleared about 9 kg / 20 pounds of fluids from his body in a couple days!  In fact, it is working so well at clearing out the toxins and fluids that the nurse had to put him back on an IV / saline drip to keep him hydrated.  Too funny!  As one friend puts it, I have super bionic kidneys - and now the recipient has one too!

I am doing well - the pain is diminishing daily and I am able to do more and more each day.  It really ONLY hurts now when I bend over too fast or laugh or cough or sneeze or sit up too quickly or blow my nose or hiccup or burp or brush my teeth too vigorously or turn my shoulders to the side or strain too hard on the toilet or roll over in bed or walk too fast or walk up stairs or walk down stairs or walk too upright or right after eating or drinking or when taking a really deep breath or...or...or....  So as you can see, I am really doing great; improving everyday (as long as I sit absolutely still on the sofa)!   ;-)

My surgeon told me that I can start trying to run again in a couple weeks, as the pain decreases and as I am able.  So I am truly itching to get out of the house again!  Just have to wait until my internal organs return to their normal positions - they had to move things around to get access to the kidney.  And until I don't feel so bloated!  During surgery, they had pumped my abdomen full of gas/air to make room for the video camera and surgical instruments.  And I still have some of that residual gas left in me, plus all the natural gas that my body produces on its own - makes for a very bloated belly region, as you can see from the 'after' photo.

And as you can see, there are 3 holes (hence the name keyhole surgery) about half an inch in diameter across my belly, from the left side to my bellybutton, where they stick the camera and instruments through.  And a longer 12 cm / 5 inch incision just under the belt-line where they take the kidney out from.  My surgeon asked permission to video the whole surgery, so I might ask him to post it to youtube so you can all watch!   Just kidding - he did video it, but it is for his own personal performance evaluation.  I hope.  ;-)

And look - they forgot to take my love handles away!   Might have to go back and have them do it all over again and take those love handles away!  NOT!  And yes, that is my natural skin color - yellowish white!  ;-)  Ok, I'll keep you updated - thanks again to everyone from all over the world for your support, prayers, emails, comments, etc.  Thanks for joining us on this journey.  Can't wait until the next one!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Twelve Hours and Counting...

Well, we are less than twelve hours away from me being about a half pound lighter.  ;-)   Tomorrow, Wed, the 7th of Dec, at 7.00 AM I check into the hospital to have my kidney taken out and transplanted into someone else.  The actual surgery will take place at about 8.00-8.30 AM and will go until about 12.00 noon.  Then I will be in the recovery room until about 3.00 PM and finally get up to my room sometime after 4.00 PM.  I have to honestly admit, that I am a bit nervous - mostly excited, but a wee bit nervous too.  I have never been hospitalized for anything ever, so am not sure what to expect.  Becks and the recipient's wife are actually very calm and at peace.  Hope that rubs off on me tonight!

So please be praying, especially during the surgery part - for those in the USA, it will be your Tuesday morning/afternoon and for those in Europe, it will be your Tuesday evening/night.  Thanks for praying!

Becky and I met with the recipient and his wife today and we had a quick, but good chat.  At the end, we prayed together and thanked God for this gift that he is receiving and for the even greater gift that God has given us and that we celebrate at Christmas - the gift of His Son Jesus Christ!  Afterwards, he had tears coming down his cheek.  Pray for him - he doesn't know the Lord (yet).  Pray that he will recognize the ultimate gift that God gave humanity - salvation and eternal life through Jesus Christ!

Here's a 'before' foto...;-)  We'll post an 'after' foto in a week or so.  They are taking my left kidney, which is normal for this procedure.  I'm gonna ask them, since they have me opened up anyways, if they can take my love handles (Schwimmring) away too!  ;-)  Just kidding.  Well, maybe not.  Ok, I am signing out for now - see you all in a week or two!  And again, thanks for being patient and joining me on this year and a half journey.  This phase of the journey is almost over - 12 hours and counting....