It's nice when the blog post can start out with some indication of the contents, but really I have no idea what words are going to flow today. If this turns out worth sharing, I'll send it to Dustin to post. One reason I'm really glad we started this blog is that it productively channels the enormous amount of mental activity around the event. Rarely does a life event involve so many aspects at one time -- the physical, the practical, the emotional, the cognitive -- and the brain has to process everything. Once again my part here is easier than Dustin's (he has a lot more details to keep up with post-transplant) so I know if he can do it, I can too.
Dale says, "So far, this is the best day of the trip." We are leisurely enjoying hotel breakfast and coffee and not having to go anywhere today. I feel great this morning. I slept well, pain is minimal, guts are finally back close to normal, and my stomach swelling has gone down from what was feeling like 6 or 7 month pregnancy to maybe a 4 or 5 month. (I really don't know how else to describe it. It's perfectly normal they said, and will continue to go back to normal over the next couple of weeks.) I'm still walking medium-slow and a tiny bit bent over, but mostly pretty normal. I feel no fatigue, no nausea, no brain fog, no crazy emotions. The "in tuneness" with my body that I mentioned in a previous blog post seems to be serving me well. I am quite impressed with my body's ability to handle this serious impact and recover.
The publicity is funny. "Vancleave woman's kidney donation a success" was posted yesterday as a news story follow up to the news story a couple of weeks ago. Dale says he's going to get me a T-shirt that says "Vancleave woman" haha. In the world of local news, where you live is your identity. As for "a success" -- I think so, I hope so. We all do! It has been, so far! But it's a long road and for Dustin there are some more hurdles to clear of over the next days and weeks and months, so maybe from his side it's too early. I suppose from my side, it's accurate. My part has been successfully completed. The kidney has been removed, transplanted, and is working really well. Awesome!
I learned yesterday from my nurse coordinator (who was present during the surgery and took some photos of the kidney for me) that they did NOT cut any of my muscles! Wow! I thought they had to cut through all that and then stitch it back together. Nope, they just cut through the top layers, pull the muscles to the side with retractors, and then go under them to go deeper towards the kidney. That was great to hear, and I'm thinking should help a lot with recovery of previous strength and movement.
Dale and I are going to Dustin's parents house tomorrow to spend a little more time with everyone before Dale heads home, and I'll then have another week or so to recover and rest here before I head home. I think that knowing we'll see Dustin and his family again soon is keeping my emotional "boat" in calm seas. I need to be with them for some more time after all we just went through. If we were immediately headed home I really would feel torn up, like I'm leaving a part of me here. I mean, I am, right? That was the plan. It's a crazy thing. It's all good, but it's hard. And I may still feel like that week after next when I leave, but I think with some more time together and some more time to work through it, it will be OK. And OK in another way, too... I now have Oklahoma family.
Anna Cannington has offered to be part of this program. As a kidney donor with a nephrologist brother (not to mention next level human) she will be able to provide unique insight into "other side" of the transplant process. It is particularly apt for her to join up as she is Dustin's Donor. To schedule a conversation with either of Anna or Dustin just connect with either of us!
Dustin was diagnosed with IgA nephropathy (Berger's Disease) in early 2007. He and his family know well the struggles that come with suffering kidney failure, dialysis and the transplant processes. Born from these fustrations and Dustin's love of strengths-based coaching (centered on what is best in people) comes the Kidney Koach program. This NO FEE program is for Renal patients, their families and nursing staff that want support, understanding and a little help on the path.