10/21/11

424) Clinic Appointment

October 20, 2011
Thursday


Transplant Clinic Appointment
Met with Dr. Lewis this afternoon for my now quarterly appointment.  According to the doc, "You look great!".  He went over labs; cyclosporine a little high so he wants me to do a set of three blood works on Halloween morning at 7, 9 and noon.  I usually take my meds at 8.

Other than that he thinks, like he said, that I am doing really good.  Always a good thing to hear.  Next appt is my annual physical in March.

9/23/11

423) Take Action Now!

September 23, 2011
Friday

On Tuesday, September 20, Representatives Michael Burgess (TX) and Ron Kind (WI) introduced the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2011 (H.R. 2969). Eighteen other Representatives joined them as original co-sponsors.  H.R. 2969 is the much anticipated House version of S. 1454, which was introduced in the Senate in late July.
 
Letter sent just now to my legislators:
"As your constituent and on behalf of the more than 600,000 Americans living with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), one of the world's most prevalent and life-threatening genetic diseases, I urge you to co-sponsor the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act of 2011 (H.R. 2969) recently introduced by Representatives Michael Burgess (TX) and Ron Kind (WI).

I am currently taking immunosuppressive medications, after my successful kidney transplant in March, 2009.  My own coverage will end in March of 2012.  Estimated cost (co-pay) of my meds at current prices is (with my excellent insurance coverage) will be $3132 per year.  Without medical insurance to help defray the costs, current costs of these medications today (9-21-11) is $7868 a year (for MY dosages) or $650 per month.
Many people think that switching from the name meds to generics saves people from paying so much, but according to my transplant doctor and team, generics cannot be trusted to interact the same way over time, nor can their interactions with the other necessary medications be completely assessed until sometimes too late.  These are my personal reasons for asking you to support this important piece of legislation.

H.R. 2969 is important bipartisan and bicameral legislation that will ensure kidney transplant recipients are able to maintain Medicare Part B coverage of immunosuppressive drugs necessary to avoid organ rejection and a return to more costly treatments. Medicare covers the full cost of dialysis for a patient�s lifetime; however, under current Medicare coverage policy, Medicare will only pay for necessary immunosuppressive drugs for 36 months post-transplantation. Once the 36-month period ends, kidney transplant patients are forced to find other ways to pay for expensive immunosuppressive medications.


According to data from the 2010 Annual Data Report of the U.S. Renal Data System, extending Medicare coverage for immunosuppressive drugs ($15,000-$20,000 per year) is far less costly to Medicare than a patient returning to dialysis ($76,000 per year) or receiving another transplant ($100,000-$125,000). As of July 1, 2011, the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) reports that more than 89,000 people are on the kidney transplant wait list. Of this 89,000, approximately 5,000 are PKD patients.


Given the cost data and numbers of those awaiting a transplant, the Comprehensive Immunosuppressive Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Patients Act makes for good policy and will provide a long term savings to Medicare. Furthermore, kidney transplant patients will no long have to worry about how to pay for these important medications. Now is the time to change this outdated Medicare policy and provide lifelong access to these vital drugs, and I urge you to co-sponsor H.R. 2969." 

7/28/11

422) Stopping Paroxetine and current notes

July 28, 2011
Thursday

 
Bernadette called last night to adjust my meds down!  Too much myfortic in my system, so we are dropping to two in morning and two at night.  Good news.  She said, "too much myfortic increases chances for infection..."


This morning on Morning Edition, a story on live transplant procedure that decreases rejection:  check it out at Treatment Boosts Survival Rates For Some Kidney Transplant Patients.

Also, I've been writing on a post reporting on my leaving behind my long-term anti-anxiety meds, paroxetine.  Never finished it cause of busyness in other venues... so, here it is from the draft.  Now it has been two weeks or so without any paroxetine!


If I had continued my July 13 report I would have said that the only real difference I have noticed since quitting is having very vivid dreams that seem so real that I am not sure I am dreaming.  In one instance I woke up when Liz nudged me to let the dog out at 4:30 or so... got up and took her (the dog) downstairs, let her out, stepped out onto the back porch and felt the hot muggy Austin air.  I felt the breeze, gazed around at the completely familiar scene before coming back into the house and wandering towards the fridge for a cold glass of water.  Then back to the squeaky door to let Chelsea in and follow her back upstairs.  I got back in bed an fell back asleep.


A few minutes later Liz was shaking me again: my whole last paragraph was a dream!  Most of these vivid dreams are run-of-the-mill daily living dreams rather than my more usual weird dreams.  They are marked by brilliant color, clearly feeling proprioceptive sensations, and sensing that the dreams are lucid dreams. 

In general, my behavior has been okay, according to Lizzie.  If anything, in my attempts to watch my behavior and not "fly off", get irritable, or act crazy, I have been less demonstrative.  I think she called it "in my self", but maybe she should put in a comment on this post to clarify her reactions to my reactions to quitting paroxetine.  


More to come!
 
July 13, 2011
Wednesday

In the News:  I think I have been mentioning over the past six months or so that I have been in the process of lowering my paroxetine dosage with the hopes of quitting completely.  Partly this plan was instituted to decrease my overall meds use and save money, but also:  I have been wanting to stop being on this anti-anxiety medication that Dr. Moritz prescribed for me sometime around 2002 or 03 (based on review of my meds lists), as I was adjusting to freaking out about having PKD and the prognosis of eventual dialysis and transplant.

# What are the withdrawal reactions occurring with paroxetine?

These symptoms may occur upon stopping treatment with paroxetine. Typically they can include dizziness, altered sensation (eg. numbness, “pins and needles”, “electric shock sensations”), sleep problems including intense dreams, , anxiety and headache.
Less common symptoms include agitation, nausea, tremor (shaking of parts of the body, eg. hands), confusion, sweating, diarrhea, palpitations, emotional instability, irritability or problems with vision (eyesight).

In some patients withdrawal symptoms may be severe in nature or prolonged. Usually, however they are mild to moderate and self-limiting and should resolve within 2 weeks of stopping paroxetine. Patients treated with high doses, those treated for longer duration and patients whose treatment is abruptly stopped may be at an increased risk of withdrawal symptoms.

European Agency for the Evaluation of Medicinal Products (2004) Questions and answers on paroxetine.  Retrieved online July 13 from http://www.antidepressantsfacts.com/2004-04-23-EMEA-paxil-seroxat-warning-EU.htm  

7/12/11

421) Bernadette Report

July 12, 2011
Tuesday

 
Bernadette called this morning to report on yesterday's labs... and said, "Your creatinine is down to 1.5 and dropping your cyclosporine dose in the evenings was evidently a good move.  It is at 145 now."  In explanation, she added that high cyclosporine decreases blood flow thru the kidney and can be a cause of raised creatinine.  This is a good report: next labs set for July 20th.

7/7/11

420) Transplant Clinic Scare

July 6, 2011
Wednesday

After the clinic called last week and change my appointment, I arrived at NAMC this morning at 6:50 am. for re-registration (a task required every three months) and then labs, and then my usual clinic visit at 9:10 am. After lab work, I stopped in at the cafeteria for two breakfast tacos and coffee with my 8 am meds; and settled in to reading my new text for the Fall Semester SFBT class.

At the clinic things started being bothersome as Maxine hurriedly cuffed my arm and pumped me up for my BP while asking me questions and rushing through her tasks. My BP: 157 over 70 something... to which I mumbled something like, "probably cause I just sat down and am talking..." Then, after 10 minutes or so (reading time again), Bernadette enters and informs me that my creatinine is up to 1.7, my hemoglobin is down, and my salt is high. Great news!

"One point seven? That's not good. Whats up with that?" She shrugs... and we briefly discuss whether it is really a bad thing or not.

Dr. Lewis comes in and asks me how I'm doing... "okay" I say... "cept for my back pain... and, I know what thats from... hauling rocks the other day..." He has on the table, listens to my chest and back, asks about swelling, has me lay back on the table while he checks my groin and pokes at my new kidney and abdomen in general. Pulls me up to sitting and goes over to look in my record (All this is his usual protocol).

Looking in there at the most recent labs, he seems worried (to me) about it and shares, "After two years it is really too late to be rejection..." and I wonder if he is talking to me or himself. Rejection? Yikes? "So what do you think it's about?" I ask. He runs through a range of things (which I don't exactly rmemeber cause I'm freakin' out), such as "a fluke", "medication issue", or some other unknown problem. He excuses himself to go find the rest of my record and check this out further, commenting... "...they've thinned out your record... excuse me for a few minutes while I go find what I need..." and out he goes.

I sit there in my brain feeling guilty. I must have brought this on myself. I've been too late on my meds too many times... "I'm lazy and no good! (I hear in a parental voice in my head). "Boy, now I've done it... I've ruined my new kidney..." I fret. Then I try to clear my head, take some deep breathes, wiggle my sore shoulders... stand up to get my text book. "I can't focus on THAT right now!" So I sit back down and begin thinking along two channels: don't worry until there is something to worry about & boy, this is a GREAT time to end my anxiety meds!

Dr. Lewis returns and says he thinks he wants me to get two scans so he can look them over, and get scheduled for more labs in a couple weeks and then we'll see whats going on. He asks about my BP and I say it has been running in the mid 120 over 70's usually and he nods at this data. I ask about quitting the Paroxatine and we agree that this is as good a time as ever.

He honestly says he wants more data before making up his mind about the 1.7.

Maxine comes in and asks if I can hang around today and get the ultrasound and the DMSA renal study. "Sure." So, she goes to set them up while Bernadette works up my next appointments and med chart. Maxine returns: the DMSA is scheduled for 1 pm and the ultrasound they'll "squeeze in" before that. First I have to go back to the lab for another blood draw to check my iron.

After the quick lab I trek over to the imaging waiting room and munch on Lorna Doones, drink more coffee, and read another chapter of my text before they are able to "squeeze me in" for my ultrasound. The ultrasound goes easily... Robert the technician is training a young tech on the newer machine than she is used to and she tells me, "I've been doing these for years; he is just showing me how to use this new machine" as if to assure me she knows what she is doing. I'm fine... whatever. They talk about how to do this and that the same and differently while I lay there. She did use warmed lubricant, which I am in favor of. I had to fill my bladder with four large cups of cold water so I was shivering when I got in there. The warm goo and heated blankets helped me settle right in to a comfortable experience.

Then it was back to waiting for my 1 o'clock scan. I walked around in outside in the 99 degree sun for more warmth. The DMSA scan was conducted by Mark
(See Post # 337 & 338, March 2009) and we spent some time catching each other up as he set me up for the scan. This scan takes 30 minutes of stillness and I fall into a slumberous meditation / sleep... and before I know it it is over and I am up and ready to head out. Mark asks me what I am driving these days (still the T-100 of course) and he wonders how I would compare F-150's with the Tundra before I leave.

Later: Bernadette calls me at home in the evening to say that Dr. Lewis looked at the scans and they look okay... is concerned that my cyclosporin (Neoral) is higher than it should be so he wants me to take off the little one (25 mg) at night and she'll set up labs for next Monday, five days from now. I ask about my scare and she seems to think things are A-Okay for now. Whew!



5/18/11

419) May Clinic Visit

May 17, 2011
Wednesday

Clinic visit with Dr. Lewis. Scrotum is healed sufficiently. Kidney function is fine. Next appointment set for lab work early July and clinic on July 11!

Now onward for the Kerrville Folk Festival!

5/7/11

418) Update & Mom's Day Weekend

May 7, 2011
Saturday

Scrotum Update: It is Saturday again and I thought it a good idea to update readers on my last surgery: have been back to Dr. Lewis for two visits and all is healing well. The fluids are gone and so far not returning. There is a nice little scar. For a week and a half afterwords I wore a jock to keep things secure, and had some generalized pain, but really; the healing has been less painful than I thought it would be.

Mother's Day Musings: I am home alone this weekend; Liz with her friends at their annual "girls weekend" at Rocky River Ranch
and Shayna is in Houston at a soccer tournament, so Chelsea and I are here for a quiet weekend of yard work and reminiscing about our mothers and the women we have made into mothers. Many of my friends are putting their mom's pics up on FB as their profile pics this weekend, and in finding one I liked of my own mom, from my early, formative years, it brought back many memories. Many are quite hazy now and yet when I look at them, I have this longing attachment way down deep. This year that feeling is especially poignant since the passing of my older kids' mom, Carol, last fall. I feel, in addition to my own sense of loss, their new sense of loss -- their first Mother's day without their mom. And that associated sense links to my own, more healed sense of loss and brings it back toward the surface this weekend.

I honor both of those women today and tomorrow will add the mother of my last child, Liz.


4/9/11

417) Day Surgery on the Old Scrotum

April 9, 2011
Saturday

Home Report: It is early Saturday morning and I am up by myself... couldn't sleep any longer so I got up to post on my
hydrocelectomy yesterday. Since I got home from the hospital at about 6 yesterday I have been off and on sleeping off the anesthesia. Throughout the early evening, after snacks of bean and cheese nachos, I mostly slept, according to Liz. Then I was up for awhile to eat dinner an dozed through some TV shows and a movie (Toy Story III) and finally went up to bed before ten. This pattern of returning from anesthesia-land seems like my norm and is really a quite enjoyable way to return to reality. Now I am up at 5:45 am.

Pain? Yes, there has been some pain through last night and right now as I sit at the computer. By about 8:45 or so last night I was having some localized pain and took two Tylenol. Describing the pain is easy to do for any men reading this post. It is like someone squeezing your balls ever so slightly harder after you feel that pain, but not to the point where you must scream out. I can't think of a way to compare it to any pain I know women might have.

I never like taking the druggy pain pills they allow me to take unless I get to really suffering. Shuffling around on the couch watching TV wasn't really that helpful for the pain so that is when I went up to the cool bed sheets where I could spread out and lay there in the evening breezes coming through the house's second level. When I lay there quietly and still as a mouse, I feel no pain and drift off to la la land again and again, only waking up when Liz comes to bed or at the end of a dream, etc.

So, back to the beginning of This Kidney Adventure: Ever since my transplant, my scrotum had been fairly swollen and never really quite went down to it's normal "hanging around and down" self. Over time, in fact it started growing... first like a tennis ball... then like a softball... and then the Doc and I started planning for yesterday's operation.

Liz took me to NAMC at 8 in the morning for my 9 o'clock check-in time cause she had a workshop to administer early. I had thought I would sit and grade students' group observation papers until 9 but the guy I complained about back in Post #413
7) was checking folks in and was bound and determined to get me checked in expeditiously this time. So he got Andrea right out there to rush me down to the prep room to do my paperwork. The nurse down there said, "He's an hour early. We don't even have the room ready!". So Andrea took me back to her office to complete the paperwork. That took about 20 minutes and then we are off and back down the hall for the second time... the room is ready and I slip into something more comfortable and meet my nurse, Crystal of the fast talking variety. I can tell she is competently going thru all her spiel efficiently in a way that they explain the 'rules' when you rent a car. However she is nice and playful and we get along quite nicely. She explains that it will be some time before we actually do any prep so I can grade my papers or take a nap. Somewhere along in this time frame, Dr. Lewis stops by to say "Hi" and I ask him how many he is doing today and he replies that it is only me. As he leaves I encourage him by saying, "Do good" and he replies, "Always" and smiles his way out.

I grade about 5 papers... they are written better than I anticipate and actually have some interesting reflections that tell me the students are actually learning the materials... or, at least referring back to the readings and text to sound like they know the materials. This makes me happy and contented enough to lay back after reviewing them, and snooze away the time til Crystal returns with Liz, an attractive nursing student from ACC with beautiful sparkly grey-blue eyes. Crystal asks if Liz can set my cannula for the saline drip. What can I say but "Sure" to this request for this youngster who wants to learn. I inform them both that I don't use lignocaine cause the pain doesn't bother me anymore. Crystal is very happy about my letting Liz experiment on me and Liz and I talk about her classes and what I teach and how nice it is to do practice learning at NAMC. Throughout the little cannulation, Crystal hovers over Liz, walking her through and sharing with her little tips that make it easier, like holding the cannula, removing the tourniquet, and flushing with saline. Liz does a good job and we all congratulate her and she is happy and I go back to grading and snoozing until this Asian Ansethesia nurse whose name I cannot remember (and I think of as AnesthesiAsia) comes in to explain they will be knocking me out and do I have questions. She and the Anesthesiologist (who came in earlier) both look back into my throat and are pleased with whatever they see. I know this because they NOD agreeably.

So, pretty soon Crystal and the surgical nurse (name forgotten) come to get me and we rush down the halls careening around the corners (I always LOVE this part) and thru double doors that magically open to accept my gurney... and into the bright white operating room, parallel parking beside the operating table. I'm thinking, "How am I going to successfully and gracefully shuffle my fat ass over there..." as
AnesthesiAsia says to me: "I'm going to start giving you something to relax... do you feel it......" and then her words are drifting away and everything is okay.

My next recollection is waking up groggily with my Liz coming in the door, saying something, and I happily drift back off... all is hazy but I do remember her reading her book and me waking once in awhile and her giving me sips of water and telling me Lewis said it all went fine and that comforts me back into dream-land. During one of my visits back into waking reality Liz says we are going home and I don't have to stay overnight. During another one she tells me something of her workshop and how it went. The best thing about "recovery" room is that one doesn't have to feel bad about drifting off to sleep in the middle of a conversation with one's wife. There is permission, due to the circumstances, to just nod your head and close your eyes and drift off. How nice.

So, this goes on for some unknown period of time until Lilabeth the nurse comes in to say we can prepare to leave. I can get up and put my clothes on, Liz can get the car and we will meet her out front. My Liz takes off to call Shayna and get the car and I stumble around and somehow make myself put on my pants and shirt and stuff my flannel shirt into my brief case and decide it is too much trouble to bend over to put on my shoes... simultaneously deciding to keep my bright yellow hospital socks and give them to Shayna as my home-coming gift.

Lilabeth comes back with the release forms I sign and a wheelchair and wheels me out to my waiting carriage to drive me home through the Friday Five O'clock Traffic. I am glad that I can put the seat back and drift off to sleep again while Lizzie drive us home. "What a day", I think. Sigh. "And I am still alive" I add. And I am so happy that I'm still on the planet and I've got my Lizzie as my driver... and helper... and partner.

3/26/11

416) What's going on with My Fortic?

March 26, 2011
Saturday

Report: So, at the end of the day yesterday I am sitting at work and Bernadette calls and says she is surprised I answered the phone at 7 pm on a Friday. "I'm the only one here... on a day we are officially closed" I respond. "I am the last one here too", she replies. She has not called to chat, however. They got the results back from my labs on the Myfortic: "You're myfortic levels are non-existent!" she states. "Doctor wants you to take 3 in the morning and the evening to see if that gets the level up." We discuss this for awhile and she wishes me good luck in my upcoming procedure next Friday and we wish each other a nice weekend.

Transplant Clinic: Liz and I went to my clinic appointment last Thursday, the 24th, and Dr. Lewis gave me the once-over, pushed and prodded my abdomen, looked down my throat, listened to my heart, etc., and looked over my last labs (except the Myfortic, which takes longer to come back). He reported that my creatinine clearance is 1.3 and my triglycerides are much better, down from 600-something to 300, which is still high but he likes the decrease (they should be in the 150 range). We talked about lowering my paroxetine, which he got a MedCo notice about... I said I have been wanting to get off it for awhile now... so, he suggested I take it every other day instead of every day. Liz will be the judge of if that is a good idea or not, based on my behavior.

In the discussion part of the meeting I brought up my concerns about having to take 2 BP meds a day to now maintain a healthy blood pressure, whereas for years I was taking half of that and maintaining the BP we want. "Is that okay? Seems like taking twice as much for the same result is not good..." "For your situation, I am not worried about that", he replied. I don't need to raise my BP worrying about my BP he concluded. So, I won't. But I still wonder why...

Finally he asked if I have any questions or concerns about my upcoming hydrocelectomy on April 8th. Nope. Liz wanted to know how long I have to stay in the hospital... may get out later that evening, or the next morning. Depends on how it goes. He concluded, "See you Friday, Jack", and Bernadette came back in to deliver my new med sheet and said Lewis doesn't want to schedule next appointment til after the procedure on Friday the 8th.

3/9/11

415) Happy Birthday

March 9, 2011
Wednesday

Happy Birthday today to Mordechai the Miracle Kidney! Two years and filtering fabulously!
I am so fortunate. Thanks to friends and family who have supported me thru this whole adventure. And to Dr. Richard Lewis... my hero!



3/6/11

414) Update on my next procedure

March 6, 2011
Sunday

Update: Well, about the only thing mentionable up here is that I recently joined a FB group of my old old old high school chums and that is bringing up all sorts of old memories and thoughts of people and all. And, there are probably many of those folks who don't know about my kidney adventures so they may be visiting up here. I welcome them up here and hope this blog can be an interesting and informative read.

After much back and forth about scheduling, my next little "procedure" is finally on for April 8th cause the doc and I couldn't find any day earlier when we could both be at the hospital.


2/25/11

413) Annual Transplant Clinic Appointment

February 24, 2011
Thursday

Preparation: To prepare for my annual clinic visit and evaluation I have to get extra blood work and do a 24 hour urine collection, which I schedule for a "Sunday" for obvious reasons. Maybe they aren't so obvious to you readers who don't have intimate relationships with the medical community, but all my pre and post transplant friends will understand... and will also probably find this next little story amusing.

On Super Bowl Sunday I woke up early and remembered that it was my day for my 24 ho
ur urine collection. I had already found the collection bottle that the clinic gave me back in November, which was at the bottom of a pile of stuff in the back seat floor area of my truck; washed it out; and put it up on the back of the toilet for this procedure. So I peed, tightened the lid and carried my container and myself down stairs to breakfast. This bottle becomes your appendage for the day... so, you don't go to the park or out shopping, etc. I filled it throughout the day and superbowl and evening and night until the next morning; when I had to take it to the lab with me to turn it in and get my blood work. Well, the receptionist who usually checks me in says, "What're you doing here today? I don't have any paperwork on you..." and I stand there holding my brown paper grocery bag like a bomb... sure everyone knows exactly what it is rather than a bomb. She calls over to the transplant center for my paperwork and they reply that my appointment is NEXT Monday.

I sheepishly remove my brown paper grocery bag and myself back to my truck and back to the house, where I empty out the collection of my precious bodily fluid, wash out the bottle again, and hang it out on the back porch to dry. I try to think of it as a practice run.

This last Sunday I am ready again to collect urine for the lab! Same procedure... same brown paper grocery bag sitting carefully at my feet as I wait for the "check in" and lab work Monday morning. Peggy the lab tech laughs at my story.

One thing I noticed and later asked Dr. Lewis at my appointment this afternoon: Why is it that the first Sunday I collected the total amount was a little less than half the amount I collected this past Sunday? I mean... Super Bowl Sunday shoulda produced much more liquid, right? Dr. Lewis shared with me that urine output can fluctuate greatly on any specific day and it is normal for people to pee twice as much on some days and half as much on other days. Huh!

So, the report from the annual visit. First, my trusty scribe, Liz, wasn't there cause she is hosting her School Social Work Conference this week. I had to make my own notes! Secondly, Maxine the nurse didn't realize it is my annual so she starts with reminding me that my next visit will be my annual. I correct her and she is a bit flustered by that news. She rushes around in and out to get the necessary forms and annual questions ready. Takes my BP and it is 170 over something.

I recall to her a fight I had at the hospital registration desk cause I got here almost an hour early today, planning to check in, get some lunch, and read a journal. The check in guy forgot me and I sat waiting for most of that time. And my weight it up too. To 185! I am thinking, "Boy, they let me go to appointments every 3 months and things go down the drain..."

I nice pharmacy woman comes in to go over my meds and she still has the old list that changed since... we update and she makes notes of the way it is supposed to look. Then Bernadette comes in and we visit briefly and she lets me know that Dr. Lewis is 'on time' today.

Then he comes in and we shake hands and he gives me a once over physical prodding and looking at. I talk to him again about my hydrocele, which I don't think I previously mentioned on this blog. The hydrocele has been getting larger and we (Dr. Lewis and I) decided today to "drain the sac". It'll be a one-day procedure where he'll cut a small slice in the scrotal sac and drain the liquid and see if there is anything to do to ensure it doesn't recur. Chance of recurrence is about 20 to 30% based on my web research.

In looking at my lab results the doc reports that the kidney is fine. My 24 hour collection is used to check out filtering rate and it is excellent. My creatinine level is 1.3 which is good and the cyclosporine levels are good. He is concerned about why my myfortic level is low so he is adjusting those meds so I again need to take 2 twice a day rather than one and we'll check it in a month. Dr. Lewis is also concerned that my cholesterol and triglycerides are high and so he is upping my Crestor. These we'll also check in the next month.

And finally, the doc wants me to double up on my BP meds (linsolpril) and if I get too lightheaded I can either split the times or back off again. Bernadette asked me to do a BP log again and email her the results in a week or so.

So, there we have it. It is now almost two years post Mordechai's joining my other two kidneys and he is doing quite well. Now I need to stop celebrating and take care of my diet and other health concerns.




2/10/11

412) Blog Leaping

February 10, 2011
Thursday

News Brief: I am now doing some posting on TNOYS new blog. My first post is entitled "Oh no! The Sky is Falling! The Sky is Falling!
On the TNOYS blog, I will be posting about "best practices" in the strengths-based approach to working with youth and families, our trainings, and possibly a supervisor's corner kind of thing. I will also continue on this blog as my kidney adventures continue. For example, next week is my annual review and appointment at the Transplant Clinic! Stay tuned...


1/6/11

411) 2010 Year End Update & Colonoscopy Report

January 6, 2011
Thursday

News Brief: Three pieces of news for youse ~~
1. Texans can now register to donate organs on their auto registration renewal website.
2. If you watch Desperate Housewives on ABC TV, the character, Susan, after being trampled in a mob scene, is going to have to be on dialysis beginning this new season. We shall see how this dialy-drama progresses.
3. My agency; TNOYS now has started a web log here on Blogger. I don't think we know exactly how we are going to use it... but, if you are interested, check it out by clicking here.
5. A good read on the current "state of union" kind of post on dialysis... calling for a unified approach for "better dialysis". John Agar, in the first post on the Fix Dialysis blog discusses his definition of better dialysis, and calls upon users of the web to come together to found on basic blogsite for a unified approach to blogging in support of better dialysis. Read more at http://www.fixdialysis.com/#

2010 Year End Update: One of the things
about being a kidney transplantee is that once we have a new kidney we are in better shape and happier and yet there are a number of other medical issues that continue to keep us involved with the medical community.

As I have reported in this blog, there is a continuing regimen of medications that must be monitored and adjusted forever. I haven't recorded all my medication adjustments over the past year, but I can tell you that there are adjustments about every month or so. As the transplant center staff review my bloodwork every month or so, they find that I need more or less of the following meds to keep my system in the balance it requires for optimum functioning. It is very important for my good health that cyclosporine and myfortic remain effective. For the most part of the last year, in addition to these anti-rejection meds I have also been taking levothroroxin, crestor, lisinopril, flomax, oscal, calcitrol, and omeprazole. Only the oscal (beginning after my thyroidectomy) has been changed significantly as my remaining parathyroid glands got to working (see post # 408).

This past year has included some medical procedures as well... primarily my parathroidectomy (reported in post # 405) and a recent colonoscopy that I haven't written about to date. After having it rescheduled several times, Dr. Poreddy performed it on December 20th as part of my Winter vacation. I didn't really realize at the time that he intended to do the colonoscopy and an esophagastroduodenoscopy (EGD) to look up and down both sides insides.

As I have said many times in the past, the conscious sedation drugs (sometimes called 'hypnotics') they use to put you out for these delightful-sounding procedures are among the 'best' (meaning giving one a really nice drugged out feeling) I have ever taken. During the procedure one has a sense of what is happening while feeling really relaxed and comfortable. Once in awhile there are some poking feelings and the patient can comment, causing the doctor to adjust their endoscope and keep it on track. As the patient comes off the meds, they have a sense of waking up in an altered dream-like state and I
usually have very scattered, in-and-out thoughts and memories (reminiscent of Billy Pilgrim's popping in out of segments of his life) of the span of time on the medications. Going to work or out for a walk in the park is out of the question. Eating tasty food, laying around on a comfy couch with a favorite pet or stuffed animal, and listening to music are my favorite things to do for about 6 hours after the procedure. I like ice cream, jello, pudding, and a soft pillow during these times. I have never experienced much after-procedure pain at all.

So, Liz was there to talk to the doc after the exam was completed. According to Liz, Dr. Poreddy reported that... "His upper GI tract shows a lot of inflammation and he has colitis, diverticulitis, (...and probably a couple of other itises...). He needs to begin taking omeprazole and make an appointment to see me in 2 weeks." I will spare you blog readers the pictures we have of the tunnels of my insides. Now that the holidays are over, I will make an appointment. I have been taking the omeprazole and while visiting Joan in Dallas, she made me drink some fiber powder in my coffee each morning.

In general, 2010 has been a healthy year for me. Mordechai the Miracle Kidney is doing great and I am back to my regular duties, behaviors, and foibles. Although I am fine, the environment outside my little family system is going to Hell in a hand-basket. My larger professional system is splintering and possibly coming apart from the loss of federal and state funding for training front-line social workers. The even larger social services system is suffering state funding cutbacks by a state governor who believes in tightening the in-state budget to convince the country of his financial prowess: "Texas is one of the few states with a surplus" he claimed during the last state election, as he systematically cut social services to further disenfranchise the already marginalized citizens. "Don't get me going" part of me says to my blog-writing part. This blog is about Jack's KIDNEY adventure, not politics.

Closer to home, just
one sub-system out from us, my adult kids and our brother-in-law's mothers have passed on during the past year, causing us all much grief and pain and adjustment. We are reminded that life is precious and, at least from MY perspective; we owe it to ourselves to live our lives like we would like to be remembered by those who will miss us the most once we have moved on.