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!