On Tuesday I had my post-op visit at the transplant center. They took another blood sample and did another urinalysis. The blood sample was to check my creatinine level (measures your kidney function) as well as other blood counts. The urine sample was to check the protein content in my urine. Both of these tests came back as normal so I’m all set until my 6 month check-up.
The doctor did have a lot of fun with my creatinine level. The lower the score, the better your kidney function. Candi started at 6.0 (complete kidney failure) and I started at .9 (well below the 1.5 that is considered normal). The goal was for Candi’s score to be at 3.0 immediately after the transplant but she made it all the way down to 2.0. I, on the other hand, was at 1.2 after the transplant (still a great level).
Well, the doctor was very pleased to tell me that they had just measured Candi’s level the day before and she was at .6 compared to my 1.2! He said that she clearly knows how to use my kidney much more efficiently than I did. Thanks doc. What that does mean is that Candi’s kidney function levels are absolutely phenomenal. How can that not make you smile?
The doctors also took a good look at my incisions and reported back that they looked great. I have graduated from lifting nothing over 10 pounds to lifting nothing over 15 pounds (and get to graduate to 20 pounds in a week)! This is especially good news for my cat, Pippin. He was sitting at about 12 pounds so he has been out of luck up until Tuesday. The doctor was also happy with my energy level, that I was off the pain meds, and that I was resuming some normal activities like work. He was comfortable with me driving and encouraged me to step up my cardio (I'm up to a mile at a fairly fast pace).
One piece of info that I didn’t know was that I was only supposed to be eating bland foods for the first 30 days. At that point I had already eaten out several times and the food was definitely not bland. Oops! To show my discipline, I left the transplant center and had a Philly Cheese Steak at my favorite spot in Manassas (Philadelphia Tavern for you locals)!
This was my last visit with the transplant center so they also gave me some parting instructions. I was encouraged to buy a blood pressure monitor and to log my blood pressure once a month in a notebook. When I visit my primary care physician, I am supposed to bring in that log so he can see my blood pressure over time. If I notice my blood pressure rising above normal levels, I need to take action to make sure I keep it under control. High blood pressure is one of the largest drivers of kidney issues so this is an item I need to stay on top of the rest of my life.
I was also asked to have a physical performed after 6 months and then every year after that (including full lab work). I have the option of doing this at my primary care physician or returning to the transplant center to be checked. Since I am two hours from the transplant center, I will choose to use my PCP. I was given a nice certificate and pin as a parting gift from the transplant staff. Unless something goes wrong, this was my final visit to the transplant center.
After my delicious cheese steak, I had the opportunity to visit with my friends at the News & Messenger. It was great catching up with them and having the opportunity to thank them in person for the wonderful gifts (I am totally addicted to the Kindle!). They are a great group and I feel honored to call them friends.
So how am I doing? Great! I have now made it through my first full week at work. My energy level is continuing to rise and my pain level is continuing to fall. Most people who see me now would never know that I just had surgery 17 days ago. I’m definitely not at 100% but I feel like I am on my way! Thank you yet again to those who have been praying and also a special thanks to those who have donated to our efforts to raise money for the National Kidney Foundation through the 2010 Kidney Walk. You all are great!