I can’t believe that I’m one month away from returning to work.
Here is what I've been up to:
Swimming! Before this, I hadn't set foot in a pool in two plus years!
Lewis and Clark College Pool, a summer tradition.
Joshua and I said goodbye to our old apartment and moved into a new home.
Moving day exhaustion, sitting on the porch of our new place.
Celebrated 2 months of my kidney transplant!
Monday blood work at Kaiser
Over the past couple of months, I’ve taken the time to reflect, relax, and take care of myself. I’ve also just been filled with so much gratitude.
I’m so grateful to my donor and their family. Thank you for giving me a second chance at life and for allowing me to finally feell like myself.
After waiting for so long I was becoming a person that I didn’t know and was unfamiliar with. Through all the ups and downs, I truly believe that the hardships I’ve had over the last three years have only made me stronger and taught me patience. Most importantly I feel that this kidney was meant for me and everything was aligned to make it happen.
Thank you to all my friends and my family for supporting me as I healed. Joshua and I have had many delicious meals and have been buying our healthy groceries. With not working for a couple months and taking FMLA this is well appreciated.
Also, thank you for all the well wishes and healing energy sent my way. I know that everyone has been rooting and hoping for a long time that I would receive a kidney. As always, thank you for being on this journey with me.
My mom and I at OHSU for our first clinic appointment post-transplant.
It’s hard to believe that it has been one month today, since I received my life saving kidney transplant.
I don’t remember the last time I’ve been this happy and content with my life. For the past 2+ years I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety surrounding the waiting process. Now with my transplant I am overjoyed with the new life I’ve been given. The freedom to start and live my life again.
I want to give thanks to my donor and their family. If it wasn’t for their decision to be an organ donor, I wouldn’t be here with my new kidney. For those of you who don’t know, I received a kidney from a non-living donor. I do not have any information on the person or their family at this time. I’ve just been told numerous amount of times by the OHSU team that I received a great kidney, and that I couldn’t have asked for a better one.
These are pictures of us in pre-op, where I was minutes away from going in to the operating room!
When I received my kidney it immediately started working. It was peeing A LOT. At the same time I got my kidney, the surgeons also removed my dialysis catheter. My surgery was about 4-5 hours long. They say the kidney was placed in me around 5:30 pm. I woke up in the post-op around 7:30 pm, and was eventually wheeled back to my room around 9:30 with pain meds.
For next three days I had intense IV immunotherapy drugs and was mostly in bed sleeping, thanks to the IV Benadryl. However, I was up and walking the day after my transplant. The team wanted me to walk at least three times a day.
Here is a picture of me walking for the first time and sleeping. (Be aware that there were lot of things in and on my body. I had two IVs, a CV line, a catheter, and a draining bulb on my left side. But my smile says it all!)
The routine was steady and predictable in the hospital; morning meds, morning doctor visits, sleep, eat, sleep, evening meds, sleep and constant check-ins with the nurses and CNAS. I can’t say enough positive things about the nurses on the 4A of OHSU. They were attentive, informative, and supportive. I was fortunate to have two of the same nurses for three days in a row. We discharged on Saturday afternoon. The doctors thought I was doing well enough to go home and they wanted me recovering in my own environment.
These pictures of us leaving the hospital with a new kidney!
Since being home, I’ve had to time to relax, rest and eat. It’s weird having all this energy. I didn’t realize how tired my body has been for the last three years. With my new kidney and the steroids, I find myself sleeping less and having more energy, I’m not sleeping for 9-10 hours a night anymore. It feels good.
Relaxing at home with my new Hello Kidney pillow from Joshua's mom, Megan.
My kidney function is doing great! I couldn’t have asked for a smoother process. Before I had my transplant my creatinine was 5.0 something after my transplant it’s been around 1.05. For those of you don’t know creatinine is a measure of kidney function you can find more information about it here.
These are very graphic pictures of my scars. The first picture is my scar with staples and the second picture is my scar without staples. I had the staples in me for 21 days. If you look at the first picture on the left you can see the scare from my first transplant. Random fact, they have never removed any of my kidneys. I currently have four kidneys in my body!
I have two weekly blood draws to measure kidney function, immunosuppressants and medications. I was going to clinic once a week, but since I’ve been doing so well, it got moved to biweekly. Whenever I’m in public I will be wearing a mask for the next three months, and anybody who has been sick in the last two weeks can’t be around me. There are other restrictions but I won’t go into details about them. If you want you can come visit me and hear about them instead!
Thank you already to everyone who has been supportive and helpful in my recovery. I feel so lucky and fortunate to have people that care about me. This has been quite a journey for me and for those who have watched and been a part of it. It gives me comfort to know that there were so many people praying, hoping and wishing for me to get a kidney. I hope that you still continue this journey with me.
Joshua and I at OHSU for our first clinic appointment post-transplant!
I would like to start by saying thank you to everyone for sending me your thoughts and your love. The transplant has been a success so far! I am drinking (and peeing), and although I'm in pain, I have also been able to walk a little bit.
It's hard to believe that after 2 years and 7 months, I finally received my life-saving kidney transplant thanks to an organ donor and their family. Words cannot describe how grateful I am.
Today, Joshua and my mom will take some classes on how to take care of me when I get out of the hospital. The doctors say that they hope to take me off of IV fluids today. Our goal is to be home as soon as possible. At the moment, it sounds like I may be going home on Saturday if all goes well today. The doctors say that the typical hospital stay is 3-4 days. Saturday will make 3 for us, not including the day I had my surgery.
We have received excellent care here at OHSU. The surgeons, doctors, and nurses have all been extremely helpful and accommodating to us, including Joshua and my mom.
More updates to come. Thank you for following along with our journey!
To all of you reading this, I (Josh) just wanted to give you an update as to what is happening. Alysia's surgery went well and there were no complications. The donor kidney is in its new home and is producing urine, which means that it's working. As I type this, it is 8:45 p.m. and Gayle and I are waiting in Alysia's room for her to return. According to the nurses, she is in an immense amount of pain and so the doctors are working diligently to reduce her pain to a level where she can rest and recover.
We are all very excited that Alysia is going to have her life back. Thank you all for your love and support.
What a ride I've had over the past couple of days. On Monday around 6 pm, I received a call from OHSU letting me know that I was the back-up person for a kidney. A back-up person is someone who is next in line for a kidney if the first person is unable to receive it. The nurse informed that they would follow-up with me on the following day by noon. She told me to go about my day normally.
Around 11:45 am the next day, I received another phone call and the nurse told me what I was still on call for back-up. The person ahead of me was waiting for kidney/pancreas transplant, which takes priority over just a kidney transplant. Kidney and Pancreas transplant must come from the same donor. They still weren't sure if it was a go, so they told me to wait and that they would call me by 9 am the next morning.
After anxiously waiting with phone close-by and volume up loud, the call finally came around 9:15 pm. I was informed that I would be getting the kidney.
By 10:30 pm, we checked in the hospital and started the preliminary check-offs for the transplant: blood work, IV, and many conversations with many different doctors.
After a restless night, we are now sitting here waiting. We are way too familiar with waiting. Joshua has been a great help and my mom is on her way now from Klamath Falls.
Thank you to my family, close friends, and my health team for being there and supporting me. You all know how much this means to me and the mental toll that waiting has had on me over the past couple of months.
Lastly, I am so thankful for one person's decision to be an organ donor. No matter the outcome, i am very grateful for the donor and their family. Please send your thoughts and prayers to the donor family.
Joshua will, once again, be updating the blog through-out my stay. If all goes well, they have me scheduled for surgery this afternoon. Please send prayers my way.