Friday, December 21, 2007

toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'

Welcome everyone once again to my blog. I know, I don't post for six weeks, then I get on here twice in almost no time at all. What's the world coming to?

You might have noticed the title of today's post. I've been brushing up a little bit on the Klingon language, and discovered how one might wish a speaker of Klingon a Merry Christmas. You would say, toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu' or literally ''Our-savior's birthday you-enjoy!''). Why do I know this? Well, I think if you've been reading the blog up to this point, that answer is quite obvious.

Here's the latest news from the cardiologist: my mitral valve prolapse continue to be "moderate to severe," as it was six months ago. She said that she was pleased, and I will have to come back in six months to have another echo cardiogram and let her see if it stays the same. She also asked if I had noticed any more palpitations, but it had only been two days since I had last seen her, so I had to tell her no. I had mentioned at my last appointment that I noticed my irregular heartbeat about once a month or so, but it is not too bad (just noticeable).

Well, that's about it for me for this week. I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas and any time off of work that they might receive. I've got a picture (not all that great, but what do you want) of my Christmas tree for everyone to enjoy!

Until next time, remember the words of the Christmas cow, "Looooooooooow"

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

11 Months Later: The Transplanted Kidney Works Great!

Well, it has now been a little over 11 months (not since I last posted, silly) since I had my kidney transplant. I have to say that everything is going great. I went to my regular post-transplant clinic this week and the doctor said that I am doing great.

My creatinine remains at 1.0. My BUN is still 12.0 (which is good). Sodium, potassium, glucose, phosphorus, and all the other chemicals look great, too. The only thing that is "out of normal" is my magnesium, and it has been slightly low ever since the transplant, so I do not think that they are worried about it too much.

I have my one-year Glofil test scheduled in January. If the results are normal, the doctor said that I will only have to go back for a Glofil every January (which is nice). The Glofil is always at least a half-day appointment, so it will be good from a time management standpoint to not have as many of those.

I had a renal sonogram while I was in the office on Tuesday. The doctor wanted to make sure that my old Polycystic Kidney is not in there causing any problems. The technician obviously could not tell me anything that she saw, but she let me look at the kidney and it looked just as gross as ever. She also showed me the new kidney, which was just perfect looking. It had that great kidney shape, and obviously is doing it's job quite well.

In medication news, I am slowly working down my prednisone dosage. I had been on 10 mg for several months, and since I am almost at my one-year anniversary, I asked (last time) to get on a lower dosage. So, the doctor said to drop my dosage one milligram per month. I am on my third week of 8 mg, so I'll be down to 5 mg by the end of February (I think). I have not started noticing any of the side effects, like always having the "munchies", going away yet. Maybe that won't be noticeable until I have been on 5 mg for a while.

I also saw my cardiologist on Tuesday. She wants to get another echo of my heart to make sure the my mitral valve prolapse is not getting any worse. She said that it still sounds good, but she still wants to take a look to make sure. She also increased my dosage of atenolol (for high blood pressure) from 25 mg a day to 50 mg a day. I just started that, so I don't know the full effects yet. She said it is possible that I will become dizzy, so I am watching out.

Work has been extra-super-crazy for the past month or so. The company is doing a giant software upgrade on some of its internal systems, and I have been deeply involved in End User Acceptance Testing. This is taking several hours a day every day, and has not quite come to an end yet. I am hoping that we will be done before Christmas. I really don't want to keep working on this project next year (for 3 or 6 more months). At that rate, it will be time to upgrade again before this upgrade is completed.

Other than that, not much else is going on. I played my violin in a couple of Christmas concerts, and that was fun. It's been cold and rainy in Texas (but not freezing cold, just 40's cold).

I have that echo on my heart scheduled in the next week or two, so I'll let everyone know what's going on then. Until later, have fun, and enjoy your Christmas!

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Tuesday's Clinic Appointment

Well, I went to the clinic on Tuesday (the 23rd). The doctor's office moved down the street a few blocks to remodel their building. It wasn't too bad, though it was smaller than their normal office. Hopefully the newly remodeled office will be nice and have a much larger waiting area when they get it remodeled.

I had to call to get my lab results, as they did not move the lab facility. My creatinine is still at 1.0. There were no problems on any more of my blood work or urinalysis. I noticed a little bit of blood in my urine on Friday night, but it wasn't that much. I think perhaps a cyst burst in my old PKD kidney, as it had been hurting some the past few days. I called the doctor, but they said just to stay well-hydrated and not to worry about it unless it got a lot worse.

Not too much else is going on. I have to sign up for the new insurance year at work in the next week or two. I will have to talk with our HR department, because Medicare is going to switch to being my primary insurance in April. I have to know what level of insurance to get if I am going to be on Medicare as the primary instead of United Healthcare.

See you all next time. I hope to have more information then.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Answering a Question

Well, my last blog post was on September 13. It seems that I also received an e-mail question that day from one of my faithful few readers. I apologize for it taking me SOO long to get to your question, but I thought I would answer it here for all to enjoy:

Hi Nathan,
I have been on your blog list for a time now. I don't know if you have time to answer a question for me, and if you don't that's okay! I am a 53 year old woman, and I have PKD. It was diagnosed last year after I was having chest pains. They found it in the scan that they did. After that I have had numerous tests, but it boils down to just taking blood pressure medicine for now! My question is about eating protein. My doctor says don't eat too much protein and mostly chicken (OR, rather not much red meat). However, do you know if it just about the quantities going through the kidneys....and that maybe I could eat more if I string it out over time? Yes, I know I can ask my doctor, but I would also like to see what someone else's experience is! I have found your blog very encouraging Nathan. And, I have been praying for you too! You have been through so much with this disease, and I think you are doing so great. And, I like that you are keeping up living your life!
God bless,

Well, Cindy, I am glad that you asked. I try to take time to answer all the questions that I receive, and if the sender doesn't say otherwise, then I try to answer it on the blog so that the other readers can benefit from my "wisdom" of sorts.

Like you, my doctors also advised that I cut down on the protein while I was working my way toward kidney failure. I found that your best bet is to eat as little red meat as possible. If you do eat some, then you should string it out over time. You don't want to have steak and eggs for breakfast, a juicy cheeseburger for lunch, and meatloaf for dinner. If you have steak and eggs for breakfast, then don't eat any more red meat that day.

If you really enjoy your red meats, then I would recommend (just me, I am not a doctor) staying to no more than one serving per day. That will give your kidneys less to process, which should, in theory, allow them to function longer.

Thank you for your prayers and for being a faithful reader. I will try to be a bit better about answering questions that I get to my blog posts. In fact, I'll probably do another question this week, if I get some more time to do it.

Oh, wait, in other news, I got my 24-hour urine results last week. It seems that my creatinine clearance is still over 100, which is wonderful. I guess the variance in my Glofil results is just a variance which should not concern me.

Thanks for coming by to read today. Hope it was informative and helpful to anyone wanting to eat more chicken. See you next time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Update on My Aunt's PKD Walk Donations

My Aunt (who lives in New Mexico) has been raising funds for the upcoming PKD walk. As of today, she is half-way to her goal of $250.

You can check out her page here:

Thank you to everyone who has donated. The money goes to help research into Polycystic Kidney Disease and hopefully some day will help fund the cure for this disease (if not for me, then for others).

In other news - it has been just over 8 months since I had my transplant on January 11, 2007. I am doing well and am glad to have received the new kidney. I am thankful that I have been doing well so far.

I turned in a 24-hour urine and a blood test last Monday. My Glofil test was a little lower last time than it had been, and it worried me just a little bit. I asked the doctor if there were any problems and they suggested that we do some testing. I have not heard anything from them yet, and I hope that means that nothing is wrong. I guess if I have not heard anything by Monday I will probably call them and find out my results.

But, all is well here. I look forward to good news from the doctor. And, I look forward to the next eight months being just as good as the first.

See you later!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Help End Limit on Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplants!

The PKD Foundation has recently sent me an ACTION ALERT!

Action Alert:
Help End 36-Month Limit on Vital Anti-Rejection Drug Coverage for Kidney Transplant Recipients!

More than 60 percent of PKD patients will develop kidney failure and be forced to rely on dialysis or a transplant to live.

While Medicare covers dialysis indefinitely, in many cases, it will only cover vital immunosuppressive drugs for kidney transplants for 36 months! Once this period ends, transplant patients are forced to find other ways to pay for these expensive medications.

Many cannot afford to continue treatment.

You can help end this 36-month limit and make a true difference in the lives of PKD patients nationwide!

Take part in this Action Alert today!

Learn more about other PKD Foundation efforts, such as the Walk for PKD - this month in cities across the country!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Doctor's Visit - 08/28/2007

I had my regular follow-up clinic visit on Tuesday. The doctor said that I was doing well, and that my lab reports all looked good. My creatinine remains at 1.0. My magnesium is up from 1.1 to 1.6. A normal magnesium is 1.7 to 2.1, so I guess that is good. The rest of my numbers looked about like I have expected them to. My White Blood Cell count is at 7.3, which is always nice.

The doctor said my bone density test was similar to the first one they gave me. I scored exactly the same on my lumbar region (spine). I actually got a slightly higher score on my hip bone, which I guess is good. That means that my exercise and calcium supplements have been working. Speaking of exercise, I got back to doing that this week. I got my ID badge at worked coded so that I could use the fitness facility we own. It's about 15 minutes away from work, so I'll try to go there two to three times a week and get some walking done.

I talked to the actual doctor about the Glofil problem that I mentioned last time in the blog. My score has gone down about 10 points since the first test after the transplant. The doctor said she didn't know what exactly was wrong, or if it was even a problem. She asked me to do a 24-hour urine test to make sure my clearance was still good.

I'll have to see how I am doing the next time I go in. But, the doctor doesn't seem worried. She didn't need me to come back for eight more weeks.

See you all later! Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. I know I will. My mom is coming in town to see the new house. Should be loads of fun.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Bone Density Scan - Results

Here are the results from my Bone Density Scan (taken back on August 6).

This was the worse of the two results (taken from my hip bone). Though I do not know exactly what this means, there is a small chart that gives me a usable amount of information.

The small circle in that chart shows that I am at "Increased Fracture Risk." The WHO (in 1994) classified this as Osteopenia.

So, I think these are pretty similar to the results that I got back in January. If there is greater demand for more information, then I can try to find out more from the doctor when I see him next week.

So, that's it for today. Please pray that my bones don't get worse in the next six months. I am going to get back to doing regular exercise to try and keep my bones in good shape. Thanks!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

September 2007 PKD Walk

Greetings everyone!

I got a message from my aunt this week (she lives in New Mexico). Here is the letter that she is sending to all of her friends:

A message from Beverly Laude

Dear Friends and Family,

Most of you know that my nephew, Nathan, has Polycystic Kidney Disease and received a kidney transplant in January 2007. Now, he is leading a (mostly) normal life, no longer dependent on dialysis to live. My niece, Angela, also has PKD, but so far is not facing as many devasting medical problems as Nathan.

I am participating in the Walk for PKD. I've set a challenging goal to raise mondy to fund research to find a cure for PKD! With your help, we can make a real difference, together.

Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD) is one of the most common life-threatening genetic diseases, affecting 600,000 Americans and 12.5 million people worldwide. In fact, it affects more people than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, Down syndrome and Huntington's disease--combined! Still, few people know about it. There is no treatment and no cure... Yet. I am walking to change that.

You can make a secure donation online by simply clicking the link at the bottom of this message. Whatever you can give will make an impact - no donation is too small! I truly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Thank you for helping me help find a cure for PKD!
Click here to visit my personal page.
If the text above does not appear as a clickable link, you can visit the web address:

She is going to walk in the 2007 PKD walk. If you would like to help in the fight to find a cure for Polycystic Kidney disease, please visit the link above and donate some money to help find a cure. You may not know me or anyone else with Polycystic Kidney Disease, but this could be your chance to help find a cure to the most prevalent genetic disease in our world today.

Please take a minute to visit her link and donate, if you feel so led. Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule for this message (and hopefully, become a sponsor).

Enjoy your day!!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Question Received Via E-Mail

I got an e-mail on Saturday asking me a question. I will reproduce the e-mail here (minus any personal information) and attempt to provide the best answer that I can.

DATE: AUGUST 4, 2007 at 5:42PM

Hi Nathan...

I'm writing in search of some better answers than what we are getting. My good friend is 34, male, and has PKD ( he was diagnosed about 3 years ago). We have yet to find any good help. His urine has been bloody for a week, after not being able to get into a doctor he went to the emergency room at a local hospital. After some testing and a CAT scan they said he has kidney stones and sent him on his way. Still unable to get into a specialist and still bleeding... I'm trying to be supportive and came across your site in my online searching for answers. Any advice or directions you could point me in for more answers/research would be much appreciated. I'm sure you are a busy man, but I thought I'd reach out. Your blog is great I thank you for sharing your experience!

Thank you for you time

Well, I can tell you right off that I have had several kidney stones in my life. The first one was back around 1998 or so, while I was in college. Several of my kidney stones came with blood in my urine, which is never a good thing to see. If the hospital sent him home after seeing kidney stones on a CT scan, then it probably means that the stones are small enough to pass on their own. Now, having said that, the "passing" is not that easy. My first suggestion would be to see if he could get a doctor to prescribe him some pain medication that is a bit stronger than the over-the-counter stuff. I've had kidney stones that lasted anywhere from a day to a week, but usually on the shorter end, once I started feeling the severe pain. I would notice the blood in the urine for several days before having any pain (if it was a kidney stone). If you find that your friend has not passed the stone within a day or two, he should head back to the hospital to complain again, letting them know how long the pain has been going on. If he is not in terrible pain, then the only thing to do is to wait.

As long as his kidney function is still strong, the only other thing to do is to drink a lot of water. That is the only way the kidney stone will get passed. He has to keep drinking water to move the stone out of his system. In fact, I noticed that I usually would have a kidney stone about once a year or 18 months, when I had slowed down on drinking water. It is highly important to stay well hydrated. It is my understanding that keeping well hydrated will help prevent the stones from forming, or will help keep them small enough so that they do not hurt (as badly) when being passed.

And, of course, with Polycystic Kidney Disease, blood in the urine will be a common problem. Does your friend have a regular nephrologist? Is he going to see the nephrologist on a regular basis? That is the only other advice I have. Stay current with his kidney doctor so that they can track the progress of the disease and keep him ready for any problems that may come his way.


I hope my e-mail was helpful. I just sent that exact text to M.R. earlier today. I hope everyone is having a good week. I had my bone density scan on Monday, and I am still in "Increased Fracture Risk" like I was six months ago. I'll know more when I see the doctor in a couple of weeks. If I get a chance, I'll try to post the results of the test between tomorrow and the next doctor's visit.

Have a great day!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Answering Comment Questions (and more)

Good morning everyone! It has been almost two weeks since my last post. The good news is that there continues to be nothing wrong. I am feeling well, and am enjoying having energy and motivation to do all the work that a new house requires.

I received a comment on a previous blog post:

The question comes from Bmaddny on July 25:
Hey, what was your creatinine prior to your transplant?

Well, Bmaddny, I'm glad you asked! That question can be answered in multiple parts. Way back in 2005, while I still had two kidneys that soft-of worked, my creatinine was between 2 and 4.0, depending on the month they were checking. Once my left kidney got infected and removed, my creatinine shot up to 6, and then I think even higher. By the time I was on dialysis, it was not unusual to see a creatinine of 9 or 10. So, depending on when in the past you were looking, I have had a multitude of creatinine levels. The 1.0 that I am getting now, post-transplant, is the best that it has ever been (since it has been tracked). I hope that helps!

(and more)
Well, the title hinted, and here it is! I finally scheduled my bone density scan for Monday, August 6, 2007 (in the afternoon). That way, the doctors will have three weeks to review the results prior to my next appointment. Then, they can tell me if I am doing better or worse than I was on January 25 (when I had my first-ever bone density scan).

Finally, a medication update. I do not recall when the last time I updated everyone was, so here is the current list:
  • 9 am: Bactrim (400mg/80mg)
  • 9 am: Calcium +D (600 mg)
  • 9 am: Cerefolin (PAL/M5) (two)
  • 9 am: Folic Acid (800mcg)
  • 9 am: Myfortic (360mg)
  • 9 am: Prednisone (10mg)
  • 9 am: Prograf (5mg)
  • 9 pm: Atenolol (25mg)
  • 9 pm: Calcium +D (600mg)
  • 9 pm: Fish Oil (1000mg)
  • 9 pm: Lovastatin (20mg)
  • 9 pm: Myfortic (360mg)
  • 9 pm: Prograf (5mg)
  • 9 pm: Zyrtec (10mg)
Have a great week everyone!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Post-Transplant Glofil #3

Good Morning! (And, if I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening, and good night).

Tuesday, the 17th, was my 6-months Post-Transplant Glofil appointment. As always, if you are unfamiliar with the Glofil test, you can read about it in a previous post here:

My score this time was 76.3. That is down from the last two scores. On 2/22, I got 86.1 and on 5/14, I got 82.0. I spoke with the nurse at Dallas Transplant Institute this morning, and she said that this is not a problem. Since my creatinine is stable and my urine output is stable, then there are no worries. Speaking of that, they ran labs on Tuesday as well, and my creatinine remains at 1.0 (which is wonderful). The next Glofil comes 9 months after my transplant date, which should be around October 11, 2007.

And ... while we are talking about lab reports ... the only problem the doctor pointed out on my lab report was that my triglycerides are pretty high. The acceptable range is 32.0 to 238.0 mg/dL. On 6/19, my triglycerides were at 175.0. But, yesterday, my triglycerides were up to 281.0. The cardiologist had previously complained that my triglycerides were too high, so now I need to work with the two doctors to get on some medication to get that down. The transplant doctor suggested that I might could take Fish Oil supplements, if the cardiologist will approve. I am going to send my lab reports to the cardiologist to see what dosage of fish oil that they suggest in my case.

The only thing left to schedule for the transplant clinic will be a Bone Density test. It seems that they cannot do the bone density and the Glofil at the same time, due to the Glofil using a radioactive dye that would interfere with the bone density. The bone density test is pretty quick, so I will see if I can get one scheduled for some morning soon (they want it done this month).

So, that's all for today. Maybe I'll find out what the cardiologist wants so I can get my cholesterol down. Have a great day!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007

It has been over a week (almost two now) since my last blog update. I received several excited e-mails after my last post. Everyone was so happy to hear that I had nothing to update! So, that's always good news, though I don't know how exciting it is to read.

Let's see ... what can I say for this week's post? Yesterday (Tuesday the 10th) was my third wedding anniversary. Jenny and I have been through a lot over the past three years. We were glad to be able to celebrate at home (and not in the hospital) this year. We didn't have to go to dialysis or the hospital, so it was a wonderful anniversary!

I got my Glofil procedure scheduled for July 17, which is the same day as my next clinic appointment. If I am right on my timing, I think they will want to do my second bone density scan on the 17th as well. My first scan showed that I was a little light on my bone density. Hopefully, my density will not have decreased in the past six months.

The only other thing I can think of that is possible is that the doctor may take me off of the Bactrim. I've been on it for six months, and I think that the original nephrologist said that I would only be on the Bactrim for six months. If not, then I'll have to get a new prescription for it, since I have no more refills. I'm thinking it's the end of taking that one.

That's about it for today. I'm feeling healthy and drinking lots of water. I'm trying to do some exercise (either walking or riding my bike) several days a week after work, though it's not as easy as it was when I wasn't working.

See you next time!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Couple of Quick Updates

Hey everyone!

It's been over a week, and it seems I have had nothing to say.

Our church had Vacation Bible School this week, and Jenny and I participated by being "park security." We had the event at a local water park. The only problem was the torrential downpour that occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday, which reduced us to two days of VBS instead of four. But, I think the program was a success overall.

In kidney news, I think all is going well. I am trying to keep myself well-hydrated. I stopped taking Nexium this week, and I do not think there have been any negative side effects. That will save me several dollars a month, so I am glad to be off another medication. I think the next medication I get to cut out is the Bactrim, but I won't know until after my next clinic visit in the middle of July.

Speaking of clinic visits, I still need to schedule another Glofil test. This will be my "six months post-transplant" workup, so it should be a good one. I am going to try and set that for the same day as my clinic, so I don't have to go down to the office twice.

I also need to remember to call my cardiologist next month and see if they have any other options for lowering my triglycerides other than the "tricor" that they wanted to put me on. The nephrologist said no because it could raise creatinine. I guess I'll have to make that call next week, too.

That's about it for today. Nothing much, but I am still doing well, so that's always good news! Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Clinic and Cardiology Updates

Welcome to Wednesday! It's been a little over a week since I have sent out an update, so I figured I had let enough time elapse. I have a couple things to cover, so the post won't just be fluff.

I had a cardiologist check-up last week. The doctor said that I seemed fine and that she wanted some blood work (to check my cholesterol) and to get an echo of my heart to check on my mitral valve prolapse.

I had the echo cardiogram done on Monday afternoon. The technician was not able to tell me anything (of course). The doctor called on Tuesday to let me know that my prolapse looked about the same as it had six months ago, and I will need to get another echo in six more months. That was what I had hoped for, since it had gotten worse between the last two echoes I had had done. But there was not change on the latest echo (Monday) so I am in good shape for another six months. That means no valve replacement surgery for me (yet).

I also had my post-transplant follow-up clinic appointment on Tuesday (yesterday). My creatinine is still at 1.0, which is great!! The other numbers in my lab report all looked about normal, so that's good news, too. In fact, the doctor said that I was doing so well that I do not have to come back for a whole month! That's wonderful, since it means less time out of work to go to the doctor to hear that I am doing well. I'm also glad that the new kidney is working well enough to keep me out of the hospital or out of the doctor's office.

Coming up next will be another Glofil and another bone density scan. Those are both scheduled at the six-month after transplant mark. So, come July 11, I will need to get that on the books. I guess I should go ahead and schedule the Glofil soon, since I already have a doctor's visit set up for July. That will keep me from having to go down there twice.

That's it for today! Stay tuned next time for more fun kidney information (or not fun, I guess it depends on what you enjoy).

Monday, June 11, 2007

Sermon Notes - Perseverance

Good morning blog readers! I come to you today with some notes from the message that I heard in church yesterday morning. Normally, I attempt to regale you with stories mainly concerning my kidneys (or adventures surrounding said kidneys). Today, I thought I'd provide you with a little insight that I gained at church yesterday and how it relates to my kidney journey.

We have been studying 2 Peter 1:5-8 in church for the past several weeks. Here are the verses, as taken from
5) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7) and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
8) For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

As you may have guessed from today's blog title, Sunday's sermon was on the phrase "and to self-control, perseverance." The pastor spoke about how perseverance, in this passage, is not referring to just "hanging in there" but more "to remain under," like a pack mule under a load. He spoke about how persevering is not just staying under a burden, but looking forward to the results that will come about because of the burden being borne. His focus was on the Christian life, and how the trials and tribulations that we face are all worth it because, as Christians, we have the prize of an eternity in Heaven with Jesus waiting for us.

In my mind, I thought about my kidney disease. I have always looked at it as being a part of my life. It is not something that was caused by something I did, and it was not something that I necessarily deserved. I was born with a genetic condition that would cause my kidneys to fail, and they did indeed fail. But, life was not over. I knew that I could look forward to a life with a transplant. All during dialysis, I knew there were lots of people all over the world praying that God would provide a way for me to no longer be on dialysis. Back in January, God provided a kidney for me. All that I had gone through led me to this transplant.

What is my application for this? Do I just go back to life as normal? No! I keep in mind the way that life was on dialysis. I also am reminded of the family that lost a loved one and chose to donate his organs. This gives me a couple of great reasons to care for my kidney like never before. I try to drink water all day long, to keep myself hydrated and to keep the kidney happy. I take all of my medications on time every time (except that once) in order to help prevent rejection. I am trying to stay healthy with my diet and a little exercise to keep my body in good shape so I don't lose the kidney through another problem.

So, all in all, I am thankful that God allows us to learn perseverance. It lets you learn to direct your focus on the good things that are to come. And, if you achieve the positive results at the end, then you are able to look back and thank God for all He has done. At least, in this case, that's how it worked out for me.

Praise the Lord!

Monday, June 04, 2007


Well, it has finally happened. I received my transplant on January 11, 2007. In one week, it will have been five months. Every day, I am supposed to take several medications. Right now, I am taking medicine at 9am and 9pm.

In the mornings, I am now taking: Bactrim, Calcium+D, Myfortic, Nexium, Prednisone, and Prograf. In the evenings, I am taking: Atenolol, Calcium+D, Cerefolin, Folic Acid, Lovastatin, Myfortic, Prograf, and Zyrtec.

Now, we are coming to the oops. Last night (Sunday), it seems that I forgot to take my 9pm medications. Jenny and I were watching a movie, and I remembered to take my blood pressure and temperature like I am supposed. But, it seems that I forgot to actually take my medicine. I didn't notice until this morning when I grabbed my medicine for this morning. So, I didn't quite make it five months of being a perfect transplant recipient.

But, I did take my medicine this morning (just ten minutes ago, in fact). I think that forgetting my medicine once will help me to remember better from now on (or at least for the next five months).

In other news, the wedding I attended this weekend was very nice. My friend was married, and I enjoyed being his best man. I was surprised to hear the minister (also a friend) tell the story of how Josh had offered to donate his kidney to a close friend. He brought up how this showed his friendship and willingness to serve others. The minister mentioned that it was a good quality to see in a potential groom. And, the bride liked it, too! So, even though his kidney was not a match for me, I was glad to hear that it was a good experience for the two of them.

Here is a picture from the wedding. I didn't ask the couple if I could post it, but ... oh well.
In the picture are the minister, the groom, and me (in a tux)!

Enjoy your day -- see you next time.

Friday, June 01, 2007

More on the Dryer Vent

Wow. I never realized that so many people had helpful hints on cleaning out the dryer vent. If I had any idea, I would have been more specific in my problem.

Let me start out with a very simple drawing. Below you can see "sort of" what the house looks like.

As you can see, the GREEN square that I have drawn represents where the dryer is located. Because of the way the house is situated, the dryer is NOT on an outside wall. Therefor, the exhaust vent for the dryer goes straight up and out on to the roof (I would guess around 20 feet high).

My first cleaning exercise was to pop the rain cover off of the roof side of the vent and empty it of all the lint. That single exercise decreased the drying time by half. It still takes a bit longer to dry the clothes than it did at the apartment, so I still have some more cleaning to do. I attempted to put a brush down the vent (from the roof) but was not able to reach very deep. I may have to try to attach the brush to a mop handle or something similar to get a longer stretch of the pipe.

I have made sure that all of the area that I can reach is clean. I've seen some gadgets to clean out the vent that are kind of like a plumber's snake, and I may try that. I may also borrow a leaf blower and try to blast all of the lint out by force. We'll have to see.

Now, you didn't think I would post and not mention anything about kidneys, did you? For me, everything seems to be going well. I am feeling healthy, and I think all of my medications are at a good level. I have not been having too many GI issues, now that I have been taking the Myfortic for a few weeks. I think I mentioned on Tuesday that the doctor did not need to see me for the next three weeks, so that is great news.

I had someone ask about my Glofil score (it was slightly lower than my first one). The doctors mentioned that they don't have "established" results for transplant patients. I guess they only have a baseline for people with two original kidneys. But, I was told (if I remember correctly) that a good Glofil score for a kidney transplant patient was anything above 70. So, even though my score went down (a little) it is not a concern, since it is still above the 70 mark. If it goes down again in three months (the next time I have a test) then I will ask the doctor about it.

In other news ... one of the bloggers that I read on a regular basis (thank you RSS) is about to get a kidney transplant! It's always great to hear about someone changing treatment methods (going from dialysis to transplant). You can read her blog here:

That's about it for today. Enjoy your weekend. I know I will. My friend Josh is getting married, and I'm in the wedding. It should be fun!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Another Quick Update

I thought of some more things to say after I posted yesterday. So, I decided to go with a "bonus supplemental post" for today.

First of all, I want to say that I have enjoyed being back at work for the past month. The only problem is that everyone here is attempting to kill me. I work in a cubicle, surrounded by cubicles. The loudest sound I hear is coughing all around me. Don't these people know that I have a suppressed immune system? I am easily susceptible to all sorts of diseases. So, despite my enjoyment of work, I have to try and avoid contact with anyone that is in my area. That way, I can stay healthy. It has worked, so far. We shall see how long that lasts.

The other news I have is good news. After I had my blood drawn at the clinic yesterday, I went back to sit in the waiting area to have my name called to see the doctor. While I was sitting there, I saw a familiar face heading to check out. One of the women that was on dialysis at the clinic while I was on dialysis was leaving. I went an talked to her, and it seems that she had just received a kidney and pancreas transplant. She is blind (or mostly blind) and her son was with her. I recognized the two of them leaving. I was glad to hear that she had gotten a transplant and was doing well. I believe she said she got transplanted about a month ago.

So, good news for the lady from dialysis, and bad news for me if everyone at work keeps being sick. Maybe once all the rain slows down they will start feeling better. I haven't gotten sick yet, and that's good.

See you all next time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Glofil Results and More

Welcome everyone! I realize that is has been two weeks since my last posting, and I apologize. Not much has been going on, medically, so I haven't had too much to say.

I went to the clinic today for my standard follow-up appointment. I opted for the Tuesday appointments, since Monday was so terribly busy the last time I went. I left work at 10:00 to be at the clinic by 10:40, and was back at work by 12:00, so that's not too bad. I think I'll stick with Tuesdays for a while.

I got back my Glofil results from my last visit. My Glofil is 82. You may remember last time that my Glofil was 86.1. The doctor said that 82 is wonderful and that I have nothing to worry about. I just need to keep drinking my water and taking my medications.

I told the doctor that I felt like I had been sweating more since my transplant. He said that many patients complain of the same thing and of oily skin. He said that if it gets to be a real problem, I will have to talk to a dermatologist. I don't feel like it is a problem, yet, it was just different than before my transplant.

I also got back my lab results for today. My creatinine is at 1.0, which is wonderful. My cholesterol is a little higher than it was last time, but still within the normal range. The only number that was out of range was sodium, and it was just a little low (132.8 with the range being 136 - 144). Aside from that, all of my numbers look like they have been. Magnesium continues to be slightly low, but it is not causing any concern.

In non-kidney related news, Jenny and I have officially moved in to our new house. (Well, new to us). We spent the three-day weekend (and the entire week before) unboxing and sorting things where we want them to go. All I have to do now is to figure out how to clean out the dryer's external exhaust vent so that the dryer will work better. We just installed door stops to keep from punching doorknob shaped holes into all the walls. It's going to be a lot of work, but I am glad to get in to a new place.

See you next time. Hopefully it will be sooner than the 3 weeks away for my next appointment. That's right, the doctor said I don't have to come back for 3 weeks! Yippie!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Clinic Visit from Monday

Hi Everybody! (Hi, Dr. Nick)

I had another follow-up appointment yesterday (I am now seeing the doctors every two weeks, which is nice). They scheduled my 3-month Glofil test on the same day, so I was in the office about three hours or so.

The Glofil test was nice and easy. I think that I must be keeping myself fairly well-hydrated on a regular basis. I did not drink much more than normal during the weekend. When I arrived at my test, I was told to drink 5 glasses (about 200ml each) to start. Then, the second round was 1 glass, and I drank 2 glasses for the third and four rounds. I feel like I was better off than the guy that had to drink 3 to 5 glasses each time. I took the test in the morning, and the lab guy was not available after my doctor's visit, so I probably will not find out my results until the 29th, when I return to the doctor's office for my next clinic visit.

In other news, my creatinine was down 0.9 (from 1.0 last time). It is always good to see my creatinine down, and I am pleased any time it is below 1.0 (which is very good). This means that my new kidney is functioning well after about four months of living in my body.

They drew my cholesterol and everything looked good. I think I will be able to stay on the Lovastatin instead of the Lipitor (saving a bunch of money every month).

I think that the Myfortic is much more gentle on my system than was the Cellcept. I can't tell for sure, since I am taking an antibiotic for some "other" GI issues. I will stay on two Myfortic per day for the next two weeks and see. If I'm doing okay, maybe I'll ask the doctor to raise me to three per day.

I am almost done taking the antibiotics from the GI doctor. I don't know if they are working or not. I guess they will have to do another study to find out. Luckily, I won't have to take any more after Wednesday. I do not like the taste, and I do not think my intestines enjoy them, either.

I think that's it from a health standpoint. We got the carpet and tiles in the new house cleaned by Dalworth, and they did a great job (I was there when they finished up, and it looks very nice). They told us how to seal the grout and how to Scotch-Guard the carpet to help protect both, and we will probably try and do that this week before the furniture arrives. Dalworth also came out (different crew) to clean all of the air vents, ducts, and returns. They even fixed the slight rattle that our air conditioner was having. It seems the compressor was slightly unstable. I am hoping that that lack of dust and dirt will be nice on my allergies for at least a couple of months until our dust fills up the house. Oh, and Dalworth sent me a coupon code which is good for six months, so if you are having some services done, let me know, and I'll forward you the code.

That's about it. My health is wonderful, and the house is nice and clean. I do not plan to do do too much moving, to keep myself safe and healthy. I had some pain in my old kidney after we boxed up some of our stuff, so I am trying to keep my stress levels down.

If I hear from the Dallas Transplant Institute before the 29th, then I will let you know what my Glofil score was. If you remember from last time, my Glofil was 86.1. I am hoping that it will be that good or better this time.

See you later!!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Post-Transplant Glofil Test #2 - MONDAY

Hello everyone!

On Monday, I have to take my second post-transplant Glofil test. For those of you unfamiliar with the test, I wrote about it previously here:

I am going to be drinking a lot of water this weekend. It should be a lot of fun. I will also have my regular clinic (blood work) and doctor's follow-up on Monday, so I should see how my medicine is doing.

In other news, we have closed on our house, and we now have a set of keys. We still have some things to take care of before we move in, like getting the carpet cleaned, but I think we are ready. It will be a big adventure!

I'll let everyone know how Monday's stuff goes later next week. Until then, enjoy your weekend.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Medications

Well, it seems that I have to take a couple of new medications. The nurse from my GI doctor called yesterday afternoon to give me the results from my colonoscopy/EGD.

She said that the biopsies did not return any results (which is good). Then she said that the stool samples returned an infection. The doctor prescribed an antibiotic and a pro-biotic to take for the next two weeks. The antibiotic is to be taken every eight hours, and the pro-biotic is to be taken once a day.

So, hopefully, this medication will fix any problems that I have been having. I'm guessing that I will feel healthier, but I have no idea. I'll see in a couple of weeks.

In other news, we had storms here last night that knocked out the electricity. It was out from about 7:30pm - 2:00am. It wasn't a problem, since most of the night we were asleep. Luckily, the power came back on and the alarm clock worked this morning.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Monday's Clinic Appointment

I went to the clinic yesterday. My appointment was at 10:40, so I left work at 10:00. It seems that Monday is not the best day to go in. I did not get back to work until about 1:00. I think for any future follow-up appointments, I will stick with Tuesday or Thursday. I guess all the new patients go in on Mondays, so they get pretty backed up.

My blood work all looked very good. My creatinine is still at 1.0. My magnesium is up from 1.6 to 1.7. The doctor said my sodium bicarbonate level was up (closer to normal) so the doctor said that I only need to take one tablet per day instead of two.

I also switched from taking two 250mg Cellcept tablets per day to taking two 360mg Myfortic tablets per day. I want to have the higher dosage of protection from the anti-rejection medication. I tried it before, but for only about 4 days (and taking three tablets per day). This time, I am going to go with two tablets per day and try it for two weeks. That should give my body (and digestive system) time to adjust to the new medication and see if I still have problems at the end of that time.

The only other medication change was from Lipitor to Lovastatin for my cholesterol medication. The Lovastatin is available at a significant discount from Wal-Mart, so I am trying to save money. I asked the doctor to schedule a cholesterol test for my next appointment so that I can see if the new medication is working correctly. I will probably have them test it again two weeks later just to make sure.

The other suggestion the doctor made for my GI issues was to stop the Nexium. I told her that I'd like to try the Myfortic first, and if there is no change, then to try stopping the Nexium. Any time I can take less medicine, I am happy. Speaking of which, I think I will stop taking my Lunesta this weekend. I am on 10mg of Prednisone now, and that should be the lowest dosage for at least a year. The doctor said I could stop the Lunesta whenever I felt comfortable, so I think I'll try that this weekend.

The doctor also scheduled me for a second Glofil test for May 14. I know that is a Monday, but since it is a Glofil procedure, I have to be there half the day anyway. So, I will be drinking a ton of water that weekend in preparation.

That weekend is also when we will be closing on our new house! We have all the plans in the works, and just need to sign the paperwork on the 9th to be completed. It is very exciting to be moving into a new house. I just set up the carpet and vent cleaning today, to help get rid of some of the mold and dust in the house. Maybe that will be good for my allergies.

Well, I think that's it for this week. Thanks for all your prayers. Enjoy your week!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Test Results

I received my test results from the colonoscopy and EGD yesterday. There are nine pictures of what looks like it could be the inside of anyone's GI area. There is nothing of note in any of the pictures (and, I don't have a scanner, so I can't scan them to show them off).

Here are the remainder of the results (the text portion):

We performed a colonoscopy and an EGD today based on the following indications:
  • Diarrhea, functional (C)
During the procedure we found the following:
  • No duodenitis, ulcers, masses, or polyps seen. Duodenal aspirate was sent for analysis for infectious organisms. (biopsy)
  • Erythema and nodularity in the antrum and stomach body compatible with gastrits
  • The upper third, middle third, and lower third of the esophagus was normal. The EG junction was normal. No esophagitis, cancer, ulcers, varicose veins, or Barrett's esophagus seen.
  • The terminal ileum was normal without any ulcerations, stricture, inflammation, masses, or polyps. (biopsy)
  • Mucosa throughout the colon is normal. No masses, no polyps, no colitis, and no ulcers were noted. Vascular pattern is normal. Haustral folds are normal. Stool was sent for analysis for infectious organisms. (biopsy)
Our recommendations are as follows:
  • Await biopsy results.
  • I suspect the diarrhea is medication related.
The rest of the sheet is instructions to follow once I get home (which was yesterday).

So, now you see that I am perfectly normal (as far as they can tell from the inside). My colon and esophagus are just like they should be, and my problems might be caused by the Cellcept.

So, that's all I know. Oh, that and I have to have a release from the transplant doctor before I can see the dentist. I didn't know that earlier, but I do now. I'll talk to the doctor on Monday and see if I can get a release to get my teeth cleaned (was supposed to do it in January, but got a transplant instead).

Have a great day!

Friday, April 20, 2007


So, Wednesday, I got a call from 480-423-2335. Now, I don't live in Arizona, so I didn't know who could be calling me. I answered the phone, and it was a recording stating that my doctor's office had an important message for me, and that I needed to call a 1-800 number to retrieve it.

I called the 1-800 number, put in my account number, and the system played a recording for me from LabCorp. The LabCorp people had left me a message to say that the results of my stool study were normal. They did not find any infections or any other problems.

I was glad to hear that I was OK, but I found the experience strange. I do not know why the doctor's office did not just call me with the information directly. They obviously have my phone number, since they called to tell me I have a message. I could have given them my account number over the phone to a person just as easily as to the machine in Arizona. All in all, it was a strange ordeal.

So, there was nothing else new this week. I have my colonoscopy and endoscopy scheduled for Monday. I will be doing my preparation all day Sunday, which should be fun. I got the solution from the pharmacy, and it should not be a problem. The only thing left to do is to buy some Gatorade to drink since all I can have on Sunday is fluids. We have some store-brand flavored gelatin and have to make it on Saturday.

So, hopefully the tests will go well on Monday. Jenny is not working that day so that she can give me a ride home. They don't want you to drive after being "put under" for a couple of hours. I guess the drugs make you a bit "woozy".

That's all for this week. Enjoy!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Update - April 13

Today is Friday, April 13, 2007. I had another clinical follow-up appointment (post transplant) today, and I thought I'd share how everything went.

First of all, I saw the "real" doctor today! The clinic is staffed by several physicians and physicians assistants. The team is headed up by a single doctor who reviews all of the work done for all of the patients each day (with his team). It seems, after my visit today, that he also sees patients himself. Today, instead of seeing an assistant, I got to see the head doctor, and that's always fun.

I told the doctor about the pain I was having in my side over the kidney incision. He said that if it did not get worse or if it continued for several days, then I should worry about it. He said that it just hurting for one day was not a problem. It could have been strained exercising or something like that, and I should not worry about it.

He got my lab results, and my creatinine is still 1.0! That means that drinking all of the extra water is helping, and my medication seem to be working. None of my other numbers seemed out of whack. The "liver numbers" all looked good, and my white blood cell count was still normal (which is nice to hear). The only blemishes I saw on the report were low sodium (never a real problem) and low magnesium (which has been slightly low since transplant). The doctor was not worried about either number. Sodium is especially easy to fix, and might have been low just because of the amount of water I've been drinking.

So, I'm healthy and happy. I got a note from the doctor saying that I could return to work full-time starting on Monday, April 30. And, I scheduled my next doctor's appointment for that day, too, so I can see how everything goes with timing my appointments with working and not using up all of my sick time. I scheduled the next appointment around lunch time hoping to use my hour up for that (we shall see).

The only other thing coming up is the colonoscopy and the endoscopy, which are set for April 23. Nothing for me to do for those until the 22nd, so no worries. Thank you all for the prayers as I continue to recover. Stay tuned next time for more exciting news from the kidney world!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Some Pain Today

Hi everyone. Thanks for reading the blog today. I just wanted to make a quick update for today.

This morning, I noticed that I have some minor pain over my transplant site. I noticed it after exercising this morning. I have been riding the exercise bike for the past several days instead of walking on the treadmill because my foot has been hurting a little bit. I think I slightly injured my foot a bit walking on it funny. But, I have been riding the exercise bike recently, and my foot is feeling much better.

Unfortunately, I also noticed some pain over my kidney transplant today as well. I am not too worried since the pain is minor, but I do plan to tell the doctor tomorrow when I go in for my clinic visit. Since I have a standard follow-up tomorrow, I am not going to worry about calling the doctor today. The pain is minor, so I am not worried.

I would like to have everyone pray for me, though. I would ask that you pray that the pain that I am feeling is not a problem and that the doctors will not be worried. I am glad that I have frequent appointments for just this reason.

And, I have my colonoscopy and endoscopy scheduled for April 23. I was reading the instructions for the preparation today, and I don't think I will be going to church on the 22nd. The preparation is fairly intensive, and is supposed to start at 7:00 am and go for six or eight hours. So, from the sounds of the prep sheet, I will need to stay at home all day. I think the worst part is that I am only allowed to drink (no food) for that Saturday and Sunday. Hopefully, the tests on the 23rd will not show any problems.

Thanks for coming by to read today!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Friday Updates

Welcome to Good Friday everyone. For me, I suppose it was a pretty good Friday. I had a lab appointment today, and I saw my GI doctor as well. My creatinine was at 1.0 today, which is a good sign. I think that I have been drinking enough water, which is good for me. I think that has been the most help at keeping my labs stable.

I saw the doctor at the clinic today. They said that they want me to reduce my Cellcept down to 250mg twice a day (instead of 3 times a day) to help reduce diarrhea. They also called this afternoon to have me increase my Prograf from 2.5 mg twice a day to 3.5 mg twice a day. I guess my Prograf numbers were really low, because they asked if I had skipped a dose (which I had not). So, I will take more of that for at least a week (until they draw labs next Friday). Then, we will see if the numbers are better balanced (hopefully).

I saw the GI doctor today as well. She said that she wants to check for any intestinal infections that might be hiding inside. Since I have a reduced immune system, I am at a greater risk of getting infections (even smaller ones that would not hurt most people). So, the doctor wants to do an endoscopy and a colonoscopy on April 23. She decided to do both procedures at the same time, since I would already be knocked out. She said she will take a look around, and possible take some biopsies if there is not anything to see.

Please pray that I will stay well. Pray that God will continue to watch over me and will help me stay healthy. I am still drinking lots of water, and I will keep doing so. It gets easier to drink more as you get used to drinking more water. Thank you all for coming by to read today.

PS - Jenny really wanted me to update the blog just now, so you can thank her that it got done today rather than tomorrow.

Friday, March 30, 2007

I Have a Big Head - And Little Arms!

I realize that the subject line does not pertain to today's post, but it is funny. If you have seen the commercial that I am thinking of, then you might laugh at that line, too.

I visited the doctor today for another post-transplant appointment. I saw someone new at the clinic, which is okay. They have a large staff at the clinic, and they see you as quickly as possible (which is nice). Today, it was a standard follow-up appointment, just to see how I was doing.

My creatinine was down to 1.0 (which is good news). I guess it was just a problem with dehydration that was causing my creatinine to go up a little bit. I will just continue to drink more water and keep myself hydrated. My cholesterol was 142, which the doctor said was good. She said that all of my lab number looked well, which is always good news. I prefer to hear good news from the doctors rather than bad news.

She had me increase my dosage of Cellcept from 250mg twice a day to 250mg three times per day. The Cellcept is an immuno-suppressant that helps me keep my new kidney. She also said that I no longer have to take my Mycelex (which is the anti-thrush medication). It seems that you only really need to take it for the first month after transplant. She said to hang on to it in case I had a problem, but that it was not likely. She also said that I can stop taking my Valcyte (anti-viral) once this month's supply runs out.

That should be about it. I started taking sodium bicarbonate this week, and it seems to be doing the trick. My CO2 levels were back to normal, and I have been having less heart burn than I did last week.

So, I think everything is going great. The doctor will probably keep increasing my Cellcept to as high as my body can stand it. That should give me the best chance of not rejecting my kidney. Hopefully, if we increase slowly, my body will get used to the medication and not be as uncomfortable.

That's about it for this week. The house inspector did not find too many problems (nothing major). We just have to get some pricing on the minor repairs that we decided needed to be done before we move in. I don't know exactly how much effort it will be, but we will see. Hopefully, the house will be ours in May (on our closing date).

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Friday Lab Update

Once again, we have come to Friday. I am here to give you my update from the visit with the doctor today.

I went in this morning to the clinic to have my blood drawn so I could see if I am healthy again. The doctor said that my creatinine was at 1.2 (which is still a little bit high). She said she would rather see me at 1.1 or below. The solution: drink more water! I told her that I had been drinking at least 80 ounces of water (plus other beverages on top of that) per day for the past week. She said to keep that up, and it should help. It seems I was still showing as slightly dehydrated (though, I do not know how).

Either way, I am doing fine. The doctor prescribed me some new medication (but I don't recall the name off hand, they didn't have any at the pharmacy today). I should be able to get it on Monday, as long as they get it in stock.

I did not get any order to change my Cellcept dosage. So, for now, I will continue to take 250mg twice a day. I may have to call back on Monday to see if they wanted to increase that or leave it alone. I guess that depends on if I think about it on Monday or not. I have to go visit with the house inspector Monday afternoon, so I may be too busy to call the clinic then. Perhaps Tuesday.

So, all is well with me. I will continue to drown my insides with water (and other beverages, to keep up my salt levels and such). I will keep going to the doctor (I have another appointment for Friday), and I will continue to take my medication (including the new one, after I get it).

So, keep praying that my body will continue to accept the new kidney and that I will stay healthy and happy. Oh, and pray that our house inspection goes well. We are looking to buy, and would not like our prospective home to turn out to be a trash pile.


Monday, March 19, 2007

Monday - How I am Doing

Welcome back to the blog everyone. I am proud to say that I am (according to the doctor) doing much better today than I was on Thursday of last week. Now, I say that because I have not felt any worse since I had my transplant in January. I have been feeling great, and I continue to feel wonderful as time goes on.

The problem I was having was with my creatinine. It had shot up from 1.1 to 1.4 (which is bad). The doctor was worried that I might be getting dehydrated. So, we stopped one of my immuno-suppressants (the Cellcept) for the weekend to see if that would help. My creatinine went down, so my body is obviously not a big fan of the Cellcept. The doctor prescribed me a lower dosage pill (250mg instead of 500mg) and wants me to start taking two per day on Thursday.

I originally was taking 4 (500mg) Cellcept per day, after my transplant. The doctor quickly switched me to 3 per day after he realized that four per day was making me sick. The new doctor wants to try to ease me back on the the Cellcept, and said I need to make sure to drink at least two liters of water per day with it. So, I will attempt to be better with my water drinking, and hopefully, I will see better results when I go back to see the doctor on Friday!

So, my creatinine was 1.1 today (which is better). The rest of my lab results seemed unremarkable, so I will not bother you with them. Needless to say, I think that all is well and that I will try to enjoy the lower dosage of my medication on Thursday.

I'll talk to you all again on Friday, after I have another doctor's visit.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Friday Update on My Kidney

As you may have guessed, I visited the transplant clinic again today (after hearing that my creatinine on Thursday was up to 1.4). I arrived at 8:30 this morning for my 9:00 blood work, and didn't get out of the office until nearly 11:00. I guess it was a little bit tougher to get squeezed in to an appointment that it is to schedule in advance. That will teach me to have messed up numbers. I'll have to fix that for next time.

My creatinine today was down to 1.3 (which is a little better). The doctor asked if I was still having problem with diarrhea, which I was. The Cellcept (or Myfortic) can cause that side effect in patients. The doctor originally had me down to three Cellcept per day instead of four, and that helped quite a bit. The new doctor switched me to the Myfortic to lessen these side effects, but it does not seem to have helped that much.

The doctor sent me home today with the following instructions:
  1. Stop taking Myfortic/Cellcept for the weekend
  2. No dairy products
  3. Take Immodium as needed
  4. Do stool cultures and bring back on Monday
  5. Make a future appointment with GI doctor
So, lots of fun for the weekend. Don't ask me any questions about #4, because I probably will not answer them. It's not a subject with which I am overly comfortable, so no poop questions!

Anyway, I will be returning to the doctor on Monday, and hopefully we can work out this latest problem. In the meantime, I will be drinking plenty of fluids in a hope to not be dehydrated. That is the biggest risk at the moment. Being dehydrated is a problem for the new kidney, so I don't want to cause any problems. I guess I'll just drink a bunch more fluid and hope for the best.

I should know more on Monday (or maybe not). I guess it depends on if the doctor can evaluate my samples immediately or if it will take a few hours. If I learn anything (like if I have a virus or something) then I'll let you know. Otherwise, you'll hear from me again when I learn something!

Have a good day!

(Oh, and enjoy my birthday on Sunday. I'll be 29.)

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday - Not so Good Today

I just got a call from the Dallas Transplant Institute. They said that my creatinine is up to 1.4 (which is bad). The lady said that I need to come in the the office tomorrow to find out what is wrong. She advised that I make sure that I am well-hydrated for the rest of the day.

They just ran lab work this morning, so I do not know if there is anything else wrong. I will be seeing the doctor tomorrow morning (Friday). I guess he will let me know what to do to get my creatinine back down to normal.

Please pray that my creatinine will go lower and that there will not be anything wrong with me. Thanks!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Lab Update from Monday and Thursday

Greetings blog readers! With today comes another chapter in the ever-so-interesting world of Nathan's Lab Reports (patent pending). If you remember our last conversation, I had a slightly higher creatinine than I had in the past, so the doctor had my blood drawn both Monday and Thursday to see if there was a problem.

The blood draw last Thursday, this Monday, and this Thursday all showed that my creatinine was up to 1.1. The PA that I saw this week said that I should not worry. I have gained about ten pounds since I was in the hospital to get my transplant, and higher mass can cause higher creatinine. She said not to worry about it, and that it was not a problem.

She also congratulated me again on my high number from the Glofil test. She said I should be very pleased with my new kidney and at how well it was functioning. She also said that she didn't see any other problems with my other labs.

I am going to try and list the full lab results for Monday and Thursday below. It might not fit on everyone's screen, and I apologize. Just change your resolution to 1024x768 or higher today to view the report, and then you can switch back to whatever you were using before.


PROCEDURE 03/05/07 03/08/07 UNIT REF RANGE
[Profile: CMP]
Creatinine 1.1 H 1.1 H mg/dL 0.4 - 1.0
Blood Urea Nitrogen 11.0 12.0 mg/dL 8.0 - 20.0
Sodium 139.8 140.0 mmol/L 136.0 - 144.0
Potassium 3.5 L 3.3 L mmol/L 3.6 - 5.1
Chloride 108.0 107.2 mmol/L 101.0 - 111.0
CO2 25.7 26.1 mmol/L 22.0 - 32.0
Glucose 115 105 mg/dL 74 - 118
Calcium 9.5 9.6 mg/dL 8.9 - 10.3
AST - 24.0 U/L 15.0 - 41.0
ALT - 48.0 U/L 17.0 - 63.0
Alkaline Phos - 68.0 U/L 38.0 - 126.0
Albumin 4.4 4.6 g/dL 3.5 - 4.8
Total Protein - 6.5 g/dL 6.1 - 7.9
Total Bilirubin - 0.7 mg/dL 0.4 - 2.0
[Profile: GCT]
GCT - 59.0 H U/L 7.0 - 50.0
[Profile: MAGNESIUM]
Magnesium -
1.7 L mg/dL 1.8 - 2.5
Phosphorus 3.1 3.5 mg/dL 2.4 - 4.7
[Profile: CBC]
WBC 8.4 7.9 K/uL 4.0 - 11.0
RBC 4.46 4.51 M/uL 3.8 - 6.2
Hgb 15 15.1 g/dL 11.5 - 18.0
Hct 42.7 43.2 % 35.0 - 54.0
MCV 95.8 96.0 fl 80.0 - 100.0
MCH 33.7 33.5 pg 27.0 - 34.0
MCHC 35.2 34.9 g/dL 31.0 - 36.0
RDW 12.4 12.5 % 11.5 - 14.5
Platelets 223 214 K/uL 150 - 450
# Neut 5.33 4.77
1.40 - 6.50
% Neut 63.60 60.10 % 42.20 - 75.20
# Lymph 2.59 2.38
1.20 - 3.40
% Lymph 30.90 29.90 % 20.50 - 51.50
# Mono 0.32 0.53 H
0.10 - 0.50
% Mono 3.84 6.65 % 1.70 - 9.30
# Eos 0.04 0.08
0.00 – 0.70
% Eos 0.51 0.95 % 0.00 – 7.00
# Baso 0.1 0.19
-0.00 – 0.20
% Baso 1.24 2.41 % 0-0.00 – 2.50

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Creatinine Still at 1.1

When I saw the doctor on Thursday, my creatinine was at 1.1. This was higher than the 0.9 or 1.0 that it had been since my transplant. So, the doctor advised that I go to the clinic on Monday (yesterday) to have my blood drawn again to make sure that I was okay.

I got a call from the clinic this morning. They told me that my creatinine was still at 1.1. This is not an "abnormal" number, it is just higher than I had been, so the doctor wants to watch it. I will go back to the clinic for another appointment on Thursday, so hopefully, the doctor will let me know what to do about this.

The creatinine is a reflection of how well your kidney is functioning. Basically, the higher the number, the worse the function. So, 0.9 is much better than 1.1. I will just have to wait until Thursday to see if I need to do something or make any changes.

I will let you know what I learn after my appointment! Enjoy your day.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Post-Transplant Clinic: March 01

I visited the clinic this morning as a part of my post-transplant follow-up appointments. The doctors have been seeing me every week since the end of January.

The important thing to note from today was that my creatinine was up to 1.1 (it had been at 1.0 for several weeks, and was actually down to 0.9 last week). The doctor said that, because it went up, she wants me to come in for blood work on Monday, and a follow-up on Thursday of next week. So, I will not be going to twice-a-month appointments quite yet. We want to make sure that everything is okay before we start reducing appointments.

The doctor said that changes in the creatinine can be caused by the Prograf. She said that if there is too much Prograf in your system, it can make the creatinine start to rise. She also said it could account my my GCT not going down as fast as some other people. If you remember from last week, the GCT is a liver enzyme that normally is up after surgery, but should fall back in to the normal range if I am healthy.

Last time, I mentioned that my Urine Creatinine seemed low. The doctor said that was only because of the high urine output I had in my 24-hour urine. She said not to worry, and that everything is normal. She also was very pleased with my Glofil results, saying that a good number would be between 50 and 100 (and I was 86.1).

So, that's about it for today. I got an e-mail from the disability department saying that they have approved part-time disability from February 6 through February 23. That should show up on my next paycheck, so that's a good thing.

Here are my lab results from today:
[Profile: CMP]
Creatinine 1.1 mg/dL 0.4 - 1.0
Blood Urea Nitrogen 12.0 mg/dL 8.0 - 20.0
Sodium 142.0 mmol/L 136.0 - 144.0
Potassium 4.3 mmol/L 3.6 - 5.1
Chloride 108.3 mmol/L 101.0 - 111.0
CO2 29.2 mmol/L 22.0 - 32.0
Glucose 100 mg/dL 74 - 118
Calcium 9.8 mg/dL 8.9 - 10.3
AST 23.0 U/L 15.0 - 41.0
ALT 44.0 U/L 17.0 - 63.0
Alkaline Phos 71.0 U/L 38.0 - 126.0
Albumin 4.4 g/dL 3.5 - 4.8
Total Protein 6.3 g/dL 6.1 - 7.9
Total Bilirubin 0.7 mg/dL 0.4 - 2.0
[Profile: GCT]
GCT 56.0 H U/L 7.0 - 50.0
[Profile: MAGNESIUM]
Magnesium 1.7 L mg/dL 1.8 - 2.5
Phosphorus 3.7 mg/dL 2.4 - 4.7
[Profile: CBC]
WBC 7.4 K/uL 4.0 - 11.0
RBC 4.39 M/uL 3.8 - 6.2
Hgb 14.8 g/dL 11.5 - 18.0
Hct 42.6 % 35.0 - 54.0
MCV 97.0 fl 80.0 - 100.0
MCH 33.7 pg 27.0 - 34.0
MCHC 34.7 g/dL 31.0 - 36.0
RDW 12.1 % 11.5 - 14.5
Platelets 244 K/uL 150 - 450
# Neut 3.96
1.40 - 6.50
% Neut 53.70 % 42.20 - 75.20
# Lymph 2.64
1.20 - 3.40
% Lymph 35.90 % 20.50 - 51.50
# Mono 0.52
0.10 - 0.50
% Mono 7.03 % 1.70 - 9.30

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

End of February Update

Hello everyone!

I am here to offer a quick update on how I have been doing since last Thursday. I have another clinical follow-up appointment scheduled for Thursday (in fact, I just got the automated call from the office reminding me to come in Thursday morning). I am feeling well, and looking forward to the office visit. It should be the last time I have to come for two weeks (hopefully).

I lowered my Prednisone dosage to 17mg per day starting yesterday. That's good news, since less medication is probably better for me. As I have mentioned before, the Prednisone has the most negative side effects, so it is good to take less of it. I should be down to 10mg per day starting by the end of April.

I have also continued to walk every morning. My speed is going up, though I have yet to start getting a real "work out" on the treadmill yet. If I get going too fast, I will have to start playing with the elevation, since I am not really looking to go running every morning!

Here are my last 9 days of walking results:
02/19/07 2.70 mi 65 min
02/20/07 2.81 mi 65 min
02/21/07 2.89 mi 65 min
02/22/07 3.00 mi 65 min
02/23/07 3.02 mi 65 min
02/24/07 3.12 mi 65 min
02/25/07 3.13 mi 65 min
02/26/07 3.24 mi 65 min
02/27/07 3.25 mi 65 min

As you can see, I am now walking over three miles per day, which is great. My goal is still between four and five miles a day at the moment. Once I reach that, I will have to look in to increasing the treadmill's elevation to get a better work-out. But, I am personally pleased with the amount of stamina and endurance that I am building up. Hopefully, this will keep me feeling better throughout the life of my transplant.

That's about it for today. I am still working from home 20 hours per week. I am still talking to the Disability Insurance people to see about getting my part-time disability checks. I did get paid for all of my full time off (Jan 11 - Feb 4). I just have to get them to keep paying me until I get back to work full-time. I guess we'll see.

I have another appointment Thursday morning. I'll let everyone know more when I do!