Saturday, June 25, 2011

four months later

Today marks four months from the day of my surgery - and about 10 weeks since my last blog post. I'm happy to report that everything has gone very well over that time. My belly button has slowly but surely healed itself back into a fairly normal belly button. If you look closely, you can see a little bit of a scar, and maybe the belly button is a little bit deeper than it was before but, for the most part, I think it would be hard to tell that they pulled a kidney through there not long ago.

My energy level is pretty close to back to where it was before. At this point, the only thing I can really notice is that if I am performing an activity that requires a lot of strength (say, clearing the yard of heavy branches) then I do get run down quicker than I think I should. Of course, it could just be I am getting old, too. :-)

It appears that I will not be meeting up with my kidney recipient any time soon. I had made an initial inquiry through my transplant coordinator about trying to arrange a meeting with her, and initially, the response I got was that she was interested in getting together. The only issue (at least as I understood it) was that since she spoke little English, we would need to have a translator along as well. At that point, the plan seemed to be that we would wait a few weeks until she was past that initial post-transplant stage where you are trying to avoid public places, and then I would head down to NYC during one of her clinic visits and we could meet. Weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything until the other day when a social worked left me a phone mail message that she had decided that she did not want to meet up - at least not at this point in time.

I found myself more disappointed than I expected to get this news. After all, when it comes down to it, the whole point of giving up my kidney was so that Jeanne could get one for herself - the fact that somebody else benefited as well was just a bonus. But, I guess I have found it so exciting and uplifting to have connected with Barbara (Jeanne's donor) and Karen (Barbara's daughter) - and so far that has only been through email/Facebook. So, I figured an in-person meeting would be even that much more of a wonderful experience. But, it appears as if that is not to be. I truly hope and pray that she is doing well, and that it is not her medical condition which is preventing us from getting together.

So, enough about me - how about Jeanne? After all, this whole ordeal was really about getting her back to health. I'm happy to report that Jeanne is truly doing fantastically! Her energy level is better than it has been in years - probably since before Brian and Jason were born. Her creatinine levels are down, her hemoglobin levels are up, and she is back to getting involved in everything (school activities, charities, church organizations, etc.). On one recent family hike she mentioned "Hey look - I'm waiting for the kids to catch up to me, instead of the kids waiting for me to catch up to them". Overall, she's down about 75-80 pounds from a year ago before her surgery - at least half of which was simply water weight that her body was retaining because her kidneys could not get rid of it. And, best of all, no more dialysis!

Probably the best sign of all was earlier this month when I went away for a few days to San Diego to give a talk at a workshop. When the trip was originally planned back in January, we were making all sort of arrangements for people to help Jeanne out while I was away. But the February transplant changed everything and by the time the trip came around, none of that help was necessary and she took care of the home-front all on her own (the only exception being for the one night she got a sitter so she could attend the Board of Education meeting). When I arrived home, she was still doing great, and it was me that was wiped out from the red-eye flight I took back home.