I am wearing a pair of my regular pants today. Finally! It feels great! There is no pain or discomfort, and the button and button hole are not inches apart when I pull them up as they were the other day. Ha, progress.
The belly swelling is about the only thing I’m dealing with physically, and it’s noticeably reduced. I’m just feeling slightly on the fat side of normal. Sort of like if I drank a double protein shake and blew up with gas. The incision is not painful at all and I can sit and lie in any position now. I have to be careful with extremes of movement and I haven’t stretched much, but I can do just about any normal movement pattern.
I remind myself that whatever fluid comes about from the trauma of surgery, for which Tyler had drains like what Dustin has (I guess they use these when infection is more of a concern), my body just has to handle and absorb it. So this seems to be happening. Healing and resettling is occurring. A doctor was here at Randy’s house training with him this morning (came back to the garage dragging a tire as I was drinking coffee – I was hoping to see that thing in operation!), and he helped explain exactly WHAT is healing and why the lifting restrictions are so important. The fascia layer that is under the skin and fat but on top of the muscle, kind of like a plastic wrap around the body, is what needs to heal and will create a hernia if it’s stressed and strained with too much internal pressure. It is a common complication from all types of surgery, and I do NOT want that to happen. The scar on the other hand -- I love it and I'll always be proud of it. Currently it has surgical glue and although it's long, it's pretty minimal, considering the big open surgery.
I did contact the nurse coordinator yesterday to inquire about an odd symptom of a slight color difference between my left and right side of the lower abdomen. She evaluated it thoroughly from a distance and we decided it’s fine, although for general advice she cautioned me to not do too much too soon. She was impressed that I’m walking 2+ miles a day already. Knowing exercise parameters I can see that overuse of light movements can be as stressful as small use of heavy movements, so I will heed her warning, even though I’m sure I could physically walk 5 miles! Anyway, I was pleased with her response. Looks like I’ll be fine with no in-person checks at all between discharge and my one post-op appointment next Wednesday.
One news story aired yesterday and another is pending. I think I’ve reached the limit of my media career now but I am happy to do it, if it helps spread the word and get people talking and thinking about living kidney donation. As Randy said, “These interviews are going to save somebody’s life.” Wow... yeah. There’s a pretty good reason to do it. Hoping to continue the inspiration. Besides, everyone needs more good news stories among the regular news.
I’m blessed by the care of good friends. Randy and Jenny are SO generous to have me here this week and give me a place to relax and heal. It is working. We met Stephanie for lunch yesterday and at the new gym site this morning. Tonight we are going to Liberty Fest tonight in Edmond. Lee took me out for a fun OKC day on Tuesday. Beth is taking me to visit her place tomorrow. Al is coming to visit Saturday. Sunday I’m headed to Tulsa for the last few days where I’ll get to see Dustin and family again, and Mom will meet me there Monday; we have a day trip to Pawhuska on Tuesday and will come through OKC on Wednesday for the post-op and then head south from there. This "free time" has been quite full.
A week from today I’ll be back home and back to reality. At this point I can say pretty confidently that it will be as expected – one kidney life seems to be just fine! I just have to survive that first month at home with no lifting. But that is SUCH a small price to pay for everything good that’s happened here. And I do feel like I can take the same pride in what my body can do from one realm (strength training, kettlebell, barbell lifting) to this new thing (giving a kidney, recovering from surgery, and healing). Our bodies ARE amazing. They are our teammates in this life, our vessel, our transport, and our way to physically experience the world. Although I can’t train right now, I’m even more motivated to have that be a primary factor in my life and continue bringing that to others.
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.