this blog

The ramblings and observations of a kidney transplant recipient, although not necessarily for that reason.

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A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (recommended by Killer)
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First Entry
Thursday, April 27, 2006
So...I'm getting a kidney transplant. Lucky me! (really) On May 8, 2006 the amazing surgeons at Stanford hopital will open me up and fix me with what amounts to a completely new transmission. One donated by my lifelong friend Matt. Too EFFING wierd!

I wish I had begun writing about this much sooner in the process. I'm really waist deep in it now and I wish I could read this back later and see where my head was at much earlier in the process. I mean, just about 5 years ago I thought I was normal (or more normal, at least). Although, I knew I had kidney problems as a child, all indicators pointed towards normal kidney function by the time I was 18. At 30, I had all but forgotten the childhood woes of discovering I had a rare kidney disease (IGA Nephropathy). Back then 1982, they called it Berger's Disease, and while I delighted in telling people I had "Ber-zjay's" Disease (very French sounding)....I was never to sure it wasn't really just pronounced "Bur-ger's" Disease, much more the disease of a common 12 year old kid like me.

Around age 30, things in life were going well. Granted nothing was perfect....I wasn't rich, in love, religiously grounded, or overly motivated to solve the problems for all mankind....none of those things seemed that far out of reach. Not as far as they seem now. Funny how those things get exponentially further away the more you want them. There I was....just a bought a house, making pretty good money, not really feeling the impending financial crash headed my way (whenever the stockmarket crash happened around 2000 or so, just a short time before that)....and I'm about to purchase my first life insurance policy. I'm going to protect my future loved ones. The biggest concern I had at that time, was that I would have to reveal to my mother that I smoked because she was basically filling out the forms. While it was a dramatic revelation for me, it matter to her very little. I didntt know that what I really had to be concerned about was not yet revealed and when I found out it would rule the rest of my life (at least so far, but I'm pretty sure from here out as well).

The insurance company politely refused to offer me coverage due to a detection of protein in my urine. While it was a little upsetting that I would not be getting insurance, it was not a big surprise....this was an indicator in my childhood that I had IGA Nephropathy. IGA Neprhopathy is a kidney disease for which there is no cure, but by all indications, 50% of the people who just goes away on its own....the other 50% end in kidney failure. By the time I was an adult all of my symptoms had disappeared, so I operated under the assumption I was in the luckier half of the draw. I went to the doctor, and guess what he told me....guess what he told me....(he didn't say "son you better try to have fun no matter what you do")....he said I had to go see a nephrologist (kidney doctor) and soon. Weird....because I had been to the doctor on a fairly regular basis, and surely if this was some advanced form of IGA Nephropathy someone would have noticed it sooner. But that's what it was.

My kidneys were operating at 15% function. Failure was life would from hence forth be about dialysis and transplant. Both shitty options by comparison to having your own working kidneys. I managed to stretch my 15% out over about 4 or 5 years, and I've pretty much reached the end their functionality. The old transmission is stuck in 2nd gear and I'm on the autobahn trying to 100 mph. I'm getting sick....tired, nautious, skin irritations, tired some more. You will get to read here about my last few days leading up to transplant....probably not very many days of my time in the hospital.....the boring 5 to 6 week of my recovery time, and then my life as an Immnosuppressed human walking the earth trying to avoid infections.

I'll try to keep it up beat.

posted by othur-me @ 4:56 PM  
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