Wow, how has another week gone by? I usually blog more than once a week but I’ve been a little out of my routine the past few weeks. I am hoping to get back into the swing of things next week! Fingers crossed.
If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram (if you don’t, add me using the blue icons on the right side of this page under “Connect with Me”!) you saw my update that Chris was hospitalized over the weekend. He had been recovering really well so it was a bit of a surprise. I mentioned last week that we go to the doctor 3 days a week right now so the doctors can monitor Chris’ kidney levels and keep a close eye on him. On Wednesday last week, his creatinine level started increasing. Creatinine is one measure of kidney function and it basically tells you how much of that waste product is in your blood. If your kidneys are working properly, the normal range is between 1 and 1.5. Before the transplant, Chris’ creatinine was 4.0 and higher. When he was discharged from the hospital after his tranplant it was 1.3 and staying in that range. Wednesday last week it had increased to 1.5, which was still within the normal range, but concerning. By Friday it had increased to 1.7 and the doctors said we needed to investigate right away so they sent us to the hospital for a kidney biopsy. It was all a total whirlwind. We left our house early that morning around 6am thinking we were going to a doctor’s appointment and coming home. I specifically remember us saying to each other “We’ll eat breakfast and shower when we get home.” Well we ended up at the hospital and Chris was admitted. His biopsy was done that afternoon and they started him on steroid treatment afterward. Steroid treatment is for rejection and the doctors decided to be proactive and start that before the biopsy results came back. The next day, Saturday, the results came back and confirmed that Chris’ transplanted kidney was in the early stages of rejection. The doctor was very positive when she gave us the news and said we caught it early and it could be turned around, so that was a relief. She also said that it was probably a result of one of his medications being decreased too quickly and that we didn’t do anything wrong, which was reassuring. She decided to continue the steroid treatment for 4 additional days, which would be 5 days total. She even gave us the good news that she was discharging Chris from the hospital that day and the rest of his treatments would be outpatient. Yay!
Chris had the rest of his treatments Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. The good news is that his creatinine is back in the normal range at 1.2 so the treatments seem to be working. The doctors will continue to keep a close eye on him and we are hopeful this will be the only setback in his recovery!
That has obviously kept us busy over the last week and we have spent the majority of our time at the hospital or transplant clinic. But we have had some time at home and I’ve been trying to keep myself busy. I can only watch TV for so long before I lose interest and I’m definitely not someone who can binge watch a show for hours on end. So after a few days of watching TV I was getting pretty bored. But I did manage to find something to keep myself entertained: I’ve been organizing! I hate clutter and I try to keep everything in a designated space. We received so many care packages that I couldn’t find room in our pantry for all of the goodies so I decided it was the perfect opportunity to re-organize. And lets be honest, there were some things in there that needed to go in the trash anyways because they were expired. Oops….
Even though it’s a small thing, I am loving having our pantry re-organized. I know where everything is and it makes sense now! When we moved in, I just kind of threw things in the pantry and that’s where they stayed. Now all of the spices are together and on the same shelf as the oils/vinegars. The baking items are arranged together and we have a snack basket. I can easily find things. My Type A personality is loving it!
While I was it, I also decided to re-organize our medicine area because that has been driving me crazy for awhile. Chris has been on a lot of medication over the last year and he continues to be on several medications post-transplant. I started keeping a basket of medicines and medical supplies in the kitchen several months ago. On the one hand it’s great because it contains everything. But on the other hand it’s easy to toss everything in there and before you know it, it’s a big mess. So I swapped out all of Chris’ old medicine that he’s no longer taking and organized his new anti-rejection medicines. I also made space for his blood pressure monitor and thermometer since we have to take those readings twice a day when he takes his medicine. Now it’s easy to find everything at 6:30 am when he takes his morning dose of medication. No one wants to be running around looking for medicine that early in the morning.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the post-transplant medication so I will share here what I’ve shared with them. Chris will be on anti-rejection medicine for the life of his new kidney. Many people are shocked to find out that a kidney transplant is expected to last 10-15 years, but that is the reality. There are definitely cases of people having kidneys much longer. We ran into a man at the transplant clinic that has had his kidney for 30+ years, which was very encouraging! So it just depends. But my point is that Chris will be on this medication for many years. He is taking a lot of additional medicines right now because his transplant was so recent. Over time, he will eventually get down to 3-4 medications that he takes twice daily instead of the 10 or so he is taking now. His medicine has to be taken every 12 hours like clockwork. We set alarms as reminders because you can’t just forget to take your anti-rejection medicine and then take it when you remember. There has to be a constant level of medication in your blood at all times. It is definitely a new routine but we’re embracing it and adjusting really well I think!
It’s hard to believe we are almost 3 weeks out from the kidney transplant. I’m happy to report that Chris’ brother and kidney donor, Justin, is also doing very well and his doctor is happy with how his recovery is going. It truly is amazing what a difference a few weeks can make. I’ll keep you guys posted on their recovery and other ways I am spending my time while we’re quarantined at home. Who knows what I will organize next?!