Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wednesday Clinic

Today is Wednesday, and I had another clinical follow-up after my kidney transplant. We went in this morning around 9:00 to have blood and urine taken. Then it was time for some quick breakfast and a long wait in the waiting area. By about 10:30, they called us back to see the doctor.

He said that everything is looking great. He was ready to not see me again until next week, but I have a bone density test scheduled for Thursday (in Fort Worth) and we are booked in the hotel until Friday, so we said that we will just go ahead and come in to the clinic on Friday, as well.

Next week, however, we will only be driving to Fort Worth on Monday and Friday. This means that we will not be staying in a hotel, and that we will get to spend some time at home. I am sure that the TiVo will appreciate this, as it is probably getting full. Also, it will be nice to sleep at home in my own bed and sit on my couch to watch TV (instead of being in the hotel all day).

The doctor said that I am healthy enough to go ahead and be in public. So, I think that Jenny and I will be attending church this Sunday. We might have to sit over in the big empty section of the Worship Center, but that will be okay. At least we will be able to get back to church and start feeling like normal people again. I have not decided if we are going to go to our Adult Bible Fellowship class (Sunday School) on Sunday or not. It kind of depends on how I feel after the service.

Let's see ... what else is interesting? One of my staples pulled out on one side, so the doctor removed it and gave me a couple of "Steri-Strips" to go in its place. For those of you who do not know, Steri-Strips are little pieces of tape that they glue to you after the staples are removed. They help keep the surgical wound closed after the staples have been removed ... and they normally just fall off on their own. The doctor said that the rest of the staples should be able to be removed in about two weeks. After that, they will transfer my care to the Dallas Transplant Institute, so that we do not have to drive so far for our appointments.

The doctor was also of the opinion that, as long as things continue as they are going, that I should be able to return to work around February 12. I will have to confirm this with my new doctor that I am assigned to in Dallas, but I do not see that as being a problem. As long as I am feeling well, I would like to get back to work as soon as I can. It will help me feel like I have gotten back to normal, and that is what the kidney transplant is all about.

Here are the important lab numbers from today's clinic:
  • Potassium was 4.3 (range is 3.6 - 5.0)
  • Creatinine is 1.0 (range is 0.7 - 1.2)
  • BUN is 9 (range is 9 - 20)
  • Glucose is 83 (range is 75 - 110)
  • Hemoglobin is 11.7 (range is 13.5 - 18.0)
    The hemoglobin is a little low, still, but better than it was on Monday.
As far as I know, my medication levels are all still OK. The doctor did not change anything today, and I have not gotten a call from the clinic telling me to change anything. The change that the doctor made in my Cellcept® dosage on Monday has seemed to help my stomach quite a bit. I have enjoyed that much more than before.

For those of you that are interested, here is a list of medications I am currently taking:
  • Cellcept® - 1500mg / day: prevents rejection
  • Prograf® - 8mg / day: prevents rejection
  • Prednisone - 20mg / day: prevents rejection
  • Bactrim® (a generic version) - 400mg/80mg / day: treats/prevents bacterial infections
  • Protonix® - 40mg / day: treats/prevents stomach ulcer/heartburn
  • Valcyte® - 900mg / day: treats/prevents viral infections
  • Mycelex® (a generic version) - 40mg / day: treats/prevents fungal infections
  • Restoril® (a generic version) - 15mg / day: treats insomnia
Those are the "new" post-transplant medications that I am taking. In addition, I also take:
  • Atenolol - 25mg / day: a beta blocker to lower blood pressure and heart rate
  • Zyrtec® - 10mg / day: for seasonal allergies
  • Lipitor® - 10mg / day: lowers cholesterol
  • Cerefolin® - PAL/M5 (two per day): B12/LM-Folate/B6/B2 vitamins to lower homocystine levels
  • Folic Acid - 800mcg / day: to lower homocystine levels
So, all of that is supposed to keep me healthy. I imagine that it will, as the doctors have been doing this for much longer than I have. They eventually hope to get me off of the Bactrim®, the Valcyte®, and the Mycelex®. The doctor said I should probably be on those for a year at the most. They will also lower the Prednisone dosage (maybe as low as 10mg per day), which I hope will help with the insomnia (meaning I could get off of that drug, too).

The doctor pointed out something I found interesting. For the first time in my life, being a Caucasian male has some benefits. I mean, it would be great if I was running for political office, but it seems it is also good for transplant recipients. Us white boys seems to have less rejection than the rest of the population, so we don't get quite as many immunosuppressants on our first donated organ. That is good for me, as it makes me able to be back to normal sooner.

The only other thing we had been asking the doctor was about fathering children. The kidney transplant education packet that I received said that men should not father children for one year after receiving the new organ. Jenny and I had wondered why this was. The doctor told us that there was a 3% - 5% greater chance of there being genetic abnormalities as a result of the high levels of medication in my system. Just something interesting I thought I would pass along. Granted, I have a much better chance (50%) of passing on Polycystic Kidney Disease to any child I father ... so who knows?

That's it for today. Please continue to pray for my recovery. And, keep praying for the donor's family. Thank you for reading!
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