After the Transplant - Part 2

The surgery began around 2:25 and lasted until 6:45.  They woke me up and told me the time was 7:15, so that was the point that I was in the recovery room.  After monitoring my vitals for some time, I was able to be taken back to my room.  There was little pain at that point since I was pretty numb, but my arms hurt from the various IVs I had in them. I had a total of 3 in me, and had had the initial one replaced before surgery.  That one had hurt the most.  My arm was pretty tore up for about two weeks after the surgery.  Other than that, I had 36 staples in my abdomen and a JP drain in my side for fluid in me to drain out.

The thing about a kidney transplant is that they don't actually remove either of my bad kidneys.  The new kidney is actually placed in my abdomen, and hooked up to an artery in my groin that comes from the leg (Or something like that) technically at this time I have three kidneys.  One that works great, and two that are craptastic.  Eventually they will shrivel up and do nothing.  The only thing that currently protects my new kidney is my stomach fat.  Which doesn't give me anxiety at all about being hit in the stomach.  Although the only restrictions after 6 weeks is that I can't play soccer, football, or pro-sports.  Which will be no problem at all for this girl.

Thursday night was uneventful, Keith stayed the night at the hospital and around 8:30 or so, my parents headed home.  I began my first immunosuppresent medication that night (not counting the large dose of steroids that I was given on the way to surgery to prepare my body for the foreign organ being placed in it.  I received 500 mg of prednisone presurgery, 250 mg on Friday, and 125 mg on Saturday before I went home.  I'm currently on the 5 mg pill that I was on before surgery, and can hopefully be weaned off of them totally in the next few weeks to months. Yay!)

Actually the rest of my stay was pretty uneventful, except for the constant nausea we realized was from the pain med I was on.  So they switched it to a pill - which lessened the nausea some, but I still couldn't eat until I changed to plain tylenol on Sunday after the surgery.  Pro - no more nausea. Con - doesn't completely help with pain.  I also had high blood sugar from the steroids, so I had to get a shot of insulin on Friday night.  Thankfully that issue seems to have resolved itself, however, I do need to watch my sugars for awhile.  Sadly I have other food restictions - no delis or buffets where food sits out in the open and are more susceptible to germs.  I also have to avoid large crowds and germy people (aka the kids' school) for a few weeks as my body adjusts to the immunosuppresents.  I'm currently on 8 medications, for a total of 12 pills and one liquid antibiotic in the morning, and 8 pills in the evening.  Some will only last for a few months to a year, and others I will be on forever.  The liquid is in place of a pill (bacctrum) which I am allergic to.  It tastes awful and costs hundreds of dollars pre-insurance, but thankfully I only have to take it for 12 months.  

On Wednesday I will finally have my staples and JP drain removed.  I still go for labs three times a week, but after next week, I get to switch to twice a week.  My hemoglobin is really low, so I tire easily, and I had nerve damage from the surgery in my right thigh, so it's numb. That would be fine, but as the nerves are starting to wake up, I am pretty much in constant nerve pain.  

I don't leave the house except for labs and doctors' appointments, but last Friday on our 11th wedding anniversary, Keith was able to get off work a little early and we snuck away to the movies.  You have no idea how great that felt to get out of the house for a non-medical reason!  Walking is getting easier and I can walk without assistance, even with the numb leg.  

I feel very blessed to have been given this kidney, and I pray for the family of the donor.

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