Tuesday, September 6, 2011

3 months ago

3 months ago, right now, I was on the way to the hospital. Texting my brother who was already being prepped for surgery. Freaking out a bit as we missed our exit and were barreling far farther uptown than we needed to be. 

3 months ago, right now, no one knew if my brother's truncated body could spare room for a new organ. And if it could be squeezed in, there were no guarantees it would work. 

3 months ago, right now, anxiety was kicking in. After 6 months of ups and downs, starts and stops, endless testing and countless delays, I was almost frozen with the reality that it was now real. Really happening. My first surgery. Losing an organ. Grappling with fears of anesthesia and recovery. Pain. The calm I'd finally found went into deep hiding. In fact, it's only starting to come back. I've been living on a thin edge since surgery: nervous, tense, scared of I'm not sure what. I think my body is still processing all it went through. 

3 months ago, right now, my brother and I were diving off a cliff into the unknown. 

3 months is a major milestone after transplant. And 3 months later Sidney gets a tremendous gold star. An A+ for effort. My brother's new kidney fit right in and started making serious changes. Dave's creatinine was .9 at his last visit - a number that means healthy, normal kidney function - the lowest it's been in 25 years. He's no longer taking medication for gout, something he'd been on for 16 or so years. His prednasone dose keeps being lowered as his body is tolerating his new kidney well. His energy level is amazing to watch in action. And he doesn't need dialysis anymore!

Yes, he still has health issues. New kidneys don't vanquish diabetes, much to my disappointment. Nor do they eradicate high blood pressure, or solve the other health issues he's grappling with. Anti-rejection meds bring their own set of issues to the table. A heightened risk of skin cancer. Breaking out years after you'd expect to. But, a healthy kidney makes a huge difference to the body as a whole. And the knowledge that an integral part of you isn't in end stage failure certainly helps too. 

3 months post surgery I'm good. Last night someone asked, in hushed tones with a look of concern on his face, how everything was. For a moment I wasn't sure what he was talking about. My body is getting back to where it was. Just back from vacation, I did a 15 mile bike ride, boogie boarded with abandon, carried relatively heavy bags up and down flights of stairs. The wall of exhaustion hasn't hit in awhile. I've got a bit of post-surgery weight to lose and my incisions are sometimes sore, but that's it. And my soul is lightening. Last week I halved my daily dose of Lexapro, something I've been taking for a little over a year. After living in this kidney bubble for so long, glimmers of other things are starting to seep in. 

3 months ago, right now, there were  only question marks. But, on September 6, 2011 we have and answer. Dave's got a healthy kidney an they're doing just fine.