Thursday, December 11, 2008

Magnetic Resonance Angiography of My Head

Today, I had an MRA, or magnetic resonance angiogram, done of my head. For those of you that did not know, my mom died last month from complications after a burst brain aneurysm.

I had a stroke back in early 2005. With that, and with my mom's death, my neurologist recommended that I have an MRA done of my head. I had that done at the clinic today. The neurologist also wants me to get my homocystine levels checked to make sure my medications are still working. In addition, I saw my cardiologist earlier this week and she wants me to have my choloestrol checked. So, I'm going to get blood work done at LabCorp on Friday.

I do not know when I will be getting results. I am going to call the neurologist tomorrow and see if they need me to bring my films in or of they received their own copies from the clinic.

I'll post again when I know more. My health is good, overall. I have not had any problems or neurological symptoms. Both my cardiologist and neurologist said that I am doing well. My yearly EKG was perfectly normal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

All Continues to Go Well

I realize it's been a few weeks since I have posted. But, everything has been going well. I had my last nephrologist appointment about a month ago. The doctor said that everything was still looking good and that I did not have to come back until January for my annual Glofil. I also had my annual bone density scan done that day. It looks like my bones are still about the same.

I have been doing well since my nose surgery. I am not coughing all the time any more, which is nice. I've also been enjoying less runny noses than I had before. So, I'm enjoying the better breathing and my nose is almost 100% healed up. It still hurts from time to time, but it's not bad at all.

I've got a neurology appointment in December to follow-up on the stroke I had a few years ago. I'm also going to have to tell the doctor that my mom has recently had a brain aneurysm. I've had a few CT scans done of my head, so I doubt that I have any problems. I just want to let the doctor know that there is some family history (now) that we might need to keep in mind.

So, I probably won't be posting too much (as you may have noticed). If you have any questions, just send an e-mail or post a comment!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Post Op II - ENT

I had my second (and it seems, final) post operative appointment with the ENT on Tuesday this week.  He peered deep into my nose (after allowing me an hour to catch up on my reading in the waiting room) and said that I am healing quite well.  He said I should continue to use nasal spray and that the swelling was healing nicely.

I'm still blowing up a bit of dired up goop in my nose from time to time, but not very often.  My teeth almost never hurt anymore when I blow my nose, and it doens't feel all "crazy" on my septum when breathing in sharply or blowing my nose. (see

My nose runs a bit still, but that's to be expected as I am allergic to all things in the air. (see:  I'm glad that there is very little pain in sneezing or blowing my nose, though it is still sensitive to the touch (it hurts some).

That's about it for my nasal experience.  Oh, wait -- I don't have that persistent cough any more!!!  I guess that makes it all about worth it as far as the surgery is concerned.

Thanks for all of your prayers through this time.  I appreciate it, and I know God listened and helped make the healing go that much faster and easier.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Nasal Surgery - No More Nose Splints

Good evening everyone (and, if I didn't see you, good morning and good afternoon).

I had my first post-operative appointment from my Nasal Septal Reconstruction. I arrived at 3:40 for my 3:45 appointment, and was sent back to the room at 4:45. The doctor came in shortly thereafter and said that it would be a quick procedure.

He gave me some tissues to use to blow my nose when he finished. He said that the splints were being held in place my a stitch. He said he had to cut the stitch (not me) and then pull out each of the splints. Cutting out the stitch was not all that enjoyable, but I did like him removing the splint. It made my sneeze and my eyes watered, but I was able to breathe much easier. Then, he quickly removed the splint on the right-hand side. There was a lot of coughing, then I got to blow my nose.

Blowing your nose may not seem like a big deal, but you have to think about what I've been doing all week. I'm allergic to just about anything in the air, so my nose has been running (a lot) since last Monday. And, I wasn't allowed to blow it (shucks). So, getting to get some of that built up mucus (and dried blood) out of my nose was very nice.

It feels cold inside my nose when I breathe, at the moment. Also, if I blow too hard or inhale to sharply, then my septum feels as if it is flapping all over the place. Imagine holding a sheet of paper between your thumb and finger, one hand at the top of the page and one at the bottom. Then, turn the paper so that you are facing the edge that you are not holding. Blow sharply across it, and that's the the way my septum feels (or, that's the way I would describe it).

I don't have any worries. The doctor said that I am healing very well and he will see me in two weeks. He also said the slight numbness behind my two front teeth will get start to get better now. All I have to do is use some saline solution a couple of times a day for a while as my septum heals. They don't want my nose to get dried out.

Thank you all for your prayers for a quick recovery.

For those of you wondering: my next appointment with the nephrologist is September 11. So, you can expect an update on the kidney front after that time.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Surgery Complete

Surgery went well. Nathan is at home resting and surprisingly not in TONS of pain. The surgeon said there were lots of polyps in his nose and once he's completely recovered he should breathe a lot easier. Today was a very long day because everything goes slowly at the hospital. Yesterday, the anesthesiologist called and said that surgery would be at 11:00 instead of 8:30 like pre-admitting told us. So, we got to the hospital at 9:00 and Nathan was finally rolled back to the operating room at 12:15. He spent 2 1/2 hours in stage one recovery before they moved him to the 2nd recovery room where I could be with him. All this to say it was a long and tiring day, but things went well and we're glad to be home.

Quick Surgery Update

Just wanted to let everyone know - my surgery time was moved to 11:00 am for Monday. They called last night (Sunday) to let me know that my surgery time was moved a little bit later. For those of you that will be praying, 11:00 am is the time! Thanks!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Blog-Time Mail Bag

Hey kids, it's time for another edition of Blog-Time Mail Bag. On this week's episode, we have a letter from Christy in Texas. Here's her letter, which was posted as a comment on my previous post:

My name is Christy McNiel. My husband, Gary has PKD and we are in the process of getting him listed on a transplant list. We live in Dallas and his nephrologist is at Baylor. We went to San Antonio to get evaluated for a kidney transplant because Baylor was having issues with our insurance. All is straightened out now and we now need to make an appointment with DTI to get Gary listed there. How was your expeience with Baylor? Who was your pre-transplant doctor, transplant surgeon and post-transplant doctor? Were you listed at more than one hospital? Sorry for all the questions. We are just trying to find out as much information as we can so that we know what steps we need to take next. Gary is not on dialysis yet, and we hope to avoid it , but we probably won't be so lucky. Thanks again!!

Well, Christy, first of all, thanks for writing. It's not too often that people send me mail full of questions. To start out, I'd like to say that it's too bad your husband also has PKD. Of the many things in my life right now, that's not one I'd wish on other people. I'm glad to hear that you got your transplant testing finished. Of course, you will need to do that every 12 months to stay active on the waiting list.

My experiences with Baylor went well, I think. I was listed at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas as well as at Baylor All Saints in Fort Worth. They told me that I could list at both hospitals because they were in the same hospital network, but different transplant areas. This would get my name on two lists with only one set of paperwork.

As far as doctors go, I was with Dr. Silverstein at Dallas Nephrology prior to my transplant. He saw me from the time I moved to Dallas in 2001 until I started dialysis in 2005. Here, it seems that you get a different "specialist" nephrologist each time your kidney status changes. On dialysis, I had the clinic doctor, and wasn't overly impressed. I'm sure that any other blogs you ever read about clinical hemodialysis will tell you the same thing. I'm pretty sure that everyone considers those doctors as "drive-thru doctors" that are just trying to see all the patients in the clinic in under an hour. After transplant, I've been at Dallas Transplant Institute under the care of Dr. Nesser (and staff). They have two or three doctors and several physician's assistants that help coordinate the care of the patients. All the PA's report under your doctor, which means you get seen faster and more often (as otherwise, the doctor would never have time).

I do not remember who the surgeon was that performed my transplant at Baylor All Saints. Because I did not receive a kidney from a live donor, we did not really have any pre-transplant meetings with the doctors and surgeons. I just got a call at 3am and drove an hour or so to have a new kidney put in. They did a great job, and the hospital in Fort Worth was very nice. They had recently remodeled the transplant floor, and I enjoyed my short stay there.

I would advise being listed at as many hospitals and in as many areas as you are willing to drive to. It seems to me that if you are not going to have a kidney donated by a relative or friend that your best chance is having more chances. I mean, people talk about "the list" but there are really lots of lists, if you break it down.

There's probably a "master list" for each blood type. If you are a 100% match, then they will send the kidney to you (at least, that is how I understood it to work). Otherwise, you will just slowly move up the list in the area for your different matching characteristics. I think that there are six keys that the look at when matching. So, it would be my guess that you'd have a LOT of lists running around, with tons of names all filling a giant database somewhere.

The only advice I have is to follow all of the nephrologist's orders prior to the transplant. The longer your husband can stay healthy, then the less chance there is for him to have to go on dialysis (which is no fun). And, if he ever does go on dialysis, then he needs to be the model patient. Basically, the better you are for your doctors, the more likely you are not to have any flags in your file.

Good luck, Gary and Christy! Feel free to e-mail me at if you would like to talk more in a less-open forum. I didn't have any contact info in your comment, so I decided to post here, hoping you'd find it!


In other news, surgery for my sinus and nose is Monday at 8:30 am. Keep praying that all will go well. I'm guessing Jenny will post later to tell you how it went. Thanks!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Double Surgery!

I know, double surgery sounds pretty bad. I probably should have title this post: "More News from the Doctor" or perhaps "What I've Learned" instead of Double Surgery. But, I did not. Now that you are tired of me explaining my choices, I guess I should talk about my surgery.

So, if you've been reading, you've noticed that I've been complaining of a chronic cough for a couple of months now. My nephrologist scheduled a CT scan for me on July 14, and they looked at my chest and sinuses. From there, I was referred to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor (or ENT for short - and no, not the Ents from Lord of the Rings). This doctor looked at my CT results, and looked up my nose, and said that I would need surgery to fix my problem.

I would normally have complained about surgery, except that this is what the kidney doctor had recommended as well. Since the two doctor had never spoken, I am going to guess that the opinion of two doctors is probably pretty good.

So, you've all read the post about my CT scan results by now. And, if you haven't, then go read it at:

I am going to have a "Nasal Septal Reconstruction" to relieve my Deviated Nasal Septum. I am also having "Functional Endoscopic Sinus Surgery" to relieve my Chronic Sinusitis. What does this mean? The first one, the NSR (as I choose to call it) will fix my deviated septum. It's basically the seperation between the two sides of your nose. Mine is not straight, and they are going to fix it. It should help me breathe and drain better. The second surgery, or FESS (that doesn't sound as good as NSR did) is to clean the sinus polyps out of my sinus cavity (in my cheeks). I think they must have been there a while, because they are a decent size, and I have a runny nose ALL the time.

The surgeries will be on Monday, August 11, in Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas. It is outpatient surgery, so I should not be there more than a few hours. All I have to do now is to pick up my CT charts and pre-register. (The doctor wanted to look at the actual scans before doing any work).

Please pray that the surgery goes well and that I recover quickly. It should not be a long reocvery, but I am looking forward to getting rid of this cough and possibly even breathing easier all the rest of the time!

Enjoy your week everyone. I'll try to blog again after the surgery.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nathan Finally Does Something (Unlike a Pirate)

Previously, you may have heard me blog something about having actually done something for a vacation. Well, it's true!

I have decided that I much prefer being post-transplant than mid-dialysis. This summer, for the first time since our anniversary, Jenny and I went on an actual vacation. We spent five days (including drive time) visiting a friend of Jenny's that lives just outside of San Antonio. We visited Sea World and the Riverwalk, and had a wonderful time.

As a dialysis patient, setting up a vacation of this length would have been quite a pain. I would have needed to coordinate with my clinic to have my treatments done while I was in San Antonio, and to have my labs and information all transferred down there and then to hope that everything was ready for me when I arrived. I would also not have enjoyed walking around at Sea World all day, as I was anemic while on dialysis.

As a post-transplant patient, things were much different. All I had to do to plan was to bring lots of sun block and remember to pack up enough medication for the whole trip. It's amazing what a working kidney will do for you. I was able to enjoy our trip, walk around all day, and not feel sick the whole time.

In addition, my dad came to visit us here in Texas about a week or so after we returned from San Antonio. It was nice to see him while he was here, and we got a chance to go and visit the Dallas World Aquarium, to which I had not been in several years. He had not been down to see our new house in person, so it was nice to get to visit with him for several days.

And, finally this summer, Jenny and I are going to back Arkansas to visit with my mom. This is not an unusual journey for us since the transplant, but it's always nice. I've enjoyed the fact that we hired a new person at work to do part of my job so that I am able to take vacations.

So, that's a big pile of good news.

And now, I have a special mention that I would like to make for my aunt (who lives in New Mexico). You may recall that she participated in a PKD walk last year and was able to raise a LOT of money to fund research. Well, this year, she is working with the Datil Educators Club to help them raise money. Here is some more information concerning the Datil Educator's Club:

This group gives a scholarship to a sixth grade student at the Datil Elementary School in the amount of (at least) $500. This money is given to the student upon graduation from Quemado High School.

They are also the Agency that supports the USDA Commodities program in Datil. We distribute the Commodities that are available and supplement the boxes by purchasing food from the Roadrunner Food Bank in Albuquerque.

She has set up an account with to help earn the Dail Educator's Club some money. Here is the information:

What if Datil Educators Club earned a penny every time you searched the Internet? Or how about if a percentage of every purchase you made online went to support our cause? Well, now it can! is a new Yahoo-powered search engine that donates half its advertising revenue, about a penny per search, to the charities that its users designate. Use it just as you would any search engine, get quality search results from Yahoo, and watch the donations add up! also has a new online shopping mall which donates up to 37 percent of each purchase to your favorite cause! Hundreds of great stores, including Amazon, Target, the Gap, Best Buy, ebay, Macy's and Barnes & Noble have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting your favorite cause (the Datil Educators Club, I hope!). You can read more abut GoodSearh in the NY Times, Oprah Magazine, CNN, ABC News and the Wall Street Journal.

Just go to and be sure to enter Datil Educators Club as the charity you want to support. And, be sure to spread the word to all your family & friends!!

Thanks in advance for your support!

So, if you are on the Internet, and need to search for something, you can use goodsearch to help the Datil Educator's club earn some free money.

Thanks for coming by today. See you all next time!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Many Tests Later ...

Welcome back everyone! I know that it has been more than a month since I last posted, and many of you are wondering about how I am doing with my cough. Well, I still have it. It's been about six weeks now, and I've taken two different antibiotics as well as a cough suppressant and something to get the mucus out of my chest. None of the medications have done anything to help.

I visited the doctor last Thursday, and they told me to go and have a CT scan done of my sinus cavity and of my chest. Here are the results:

The heart and great vessels opacify with contrast normally. An aberrant origin of the left vertebral artery from the aortic arch is demonstrated.

Evaluation of the lung windows demonstrates no air space opacity, pleural effusion, or pulmonary nodule.

Polycystic kidney disease involving the right kidney is demonstrated. A left nephrectomy has been performed. Multifocal low-density lesions are present throughout the liver, compatible with hepatic cysts. Spleen is mildly enlarged, measuring approximately 14 cm in craniocaudal dimension. The osseous structures demonstrate no abnormality. No mediastinal, hilar or axillary adenopathy is seen.

1) No acute abnormality is visualized on the CT chest.
2) Polycystic kidney disease involving the right kidney and liver. A left nephrectomy has been performed.
3) Mild splenomegaly.

STUDY: Paranasal sinus CT
Bilateral frontal, ethmoid, and sphenoid sinuses are well aerated with no air-fluid levels or mucosal thickening.

Mild mucosal thickening along the medial walls of bilateral maxillary sinuses. Multiple mucosal retention cysts and/or polyps in the bilateral maxillary sinuses with the largest measuring 2 cm in diameter located along the left anterior maxillary sinus wall. Bilateral osteomeatal units are patent.

The cartilaginous nasal septum is midline. Concha bullosa of the left middle turbinate. There is mild right osseous nasal septal deviation with a 3 mm nasal spur with mucosal contact point with the inferior nasal turbinate.

Orbits and visualized intracranial contents are unremarkable.

1) Mild mucuosal thickening of the bilateral maxillary sinuses with multiple mucosal retention cysts and/or polyps. Bilateral osteomeatal units are patent.
2) Otherwise, ethmoid, sphenoid and frontal sinuses are unremarkable.
3) Right osseous nasal septal deviation with septal spur.

And, after all of that, you'd probably like me to explain what I learned. Too bad. I learned almost exactly what you did. There's nothing wrong with my chest, and my sinuses might have a problem, but a "specialist" will have to look to confirm.

So, next up is a trip to visit an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. I've got to make some calls to the hospital tomorrow and see who they have on staff that can poke around inside my head. Hopefully, they won't leave anything up there. I know there's lots of room, but I don't want any rattling.

I've seen the doctor twice in the past two weeks (one for my regular check-up and one for this post-CT checkup). My creatinine was 1.0 and then 1.1 -- both are good numbers. Everything else looks pretty good on my labs, as well.

I think I'll have more to post in a later edition, but for now, I need to cut this one off. Don't want any of my readers falling asleep while they are here.

Tune in next time to find out more about what post-transplant patients are able to do with their vacation time!

Saturday, June 14, 2008


I'm guessing you read the title of this post prior to actually reading the post itself. If so, you may be wondering how I could be cold, in Dallas, in June. Well, I'm not! In fact, for the most part, it's pretty warm. The problem I'm having is "a cold." That's right, I only managed to go 17 months after my kidney transplant before I managed to get sick.

I woke up the last week of May on a Tuesday with a runny nose and a slightly sore throat. I didn't have fever or any other problems, so I was guessing that one of the many things I'm allergic to (see previous post for details) had attacked me in my sleep (that, or Jenny did). By Friday, I had started coughing and producing some of that lovely yellow phlegm that everyone enjoys so much. At that point, I decided it was not just allergies, so I quit taking Benadryl, started taking Mucinex, and called my family doctor for an appointment. I saw her the next Monday, and she gave me an antibiotic and said to try that for ten days. I kept taking the Mucinex (to get stuff out of my chest) and the antibiotic (to kill anything that might try to live in my lungs) for the ten days. That ended last Wednesday, and I was coughing still. I called the nephrologist on Friday (yesterday) and came in for a chest x-ray. Everything is fine in the x-ray, but he wants me to get some blood work on Monday. He also prescribed a cough syrup with codeine to help me. I started taking that today, Saturday, and I think it helps a little.

Wow, that was a long paragraph. This one will be short, to help balance.

That was much better. Let's see, I also saw my cardiologist this week for my regular six-month check-up. She did an echo cardiogram, and said that my mitral valve prolapse is still moderately severe (no change since last time). She said that since I had no change, I would not need an echo in six months, but that I should still come back at that time to see her again. She said she would only do another echo earlier if I had strange trouble breathing.

She also told me that a friend of mine that I met while on dialysis is currently seeing her for her pre-transplant cardiac workup. As a doctor, she did not actually mention this lady's name, but from her description, I was able to figure out who she was referencing. Apparently, this unnamed patient had mentioned that I had a blog and that I had mentioned my cardiologist on it. So, here I am, mentioning her again. I assured her that I've never said anything bad about her, mostly because I really like her and think she does a great job. In fact, if anyone were to ever ask me for a doctor to go see, I'd recommend her. She's very knowledgeable, and always seems to remember at least one non-medical thing that we talked about at our last appointment.

You might think that this isn't special, but let me give you my perspective on things. I saw the nephrologist at dialysis every week, and he barely had time to say hello before he was at the next patient. There was no conversation, and no feeling that he cared how I was doing. Yet, my cardiologist, who I see only once every six months, is able to remember things that I told her that are not medically-related, in addition to being quite friendly and seems to care about my health.

So, long post - but I'm supposed to keep taking the cough suppressant until Friday. If I am still coughing at that time, I have to call the transplant nephrologist back and get seen again. Hopefully it won't be a problem that long.

And, Jenny tells me to have everyone look at the links on the right-hand side of the page. I put one up, today, that links to my adoption story blog. Read it if you like. Or don't, I can't make you (or stop you).

Have a great weekend!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

May 13, 2008, Transplant Follow-Up

I had my 8-week transplant follow-up on May 13. I went in at 7:40 am again, but I made an effort to drink a LOT more water before the appointment. My creatinine for the day was 1.1 (which is down from 1.2, and that's a good thing). My guess is the 7:40 time is what caused the discrepancy, as I do not feel any different.

All my other lab number look pretty good. My BUN is at 11.0. My magnesium and phosphorus are both a little bit low, but that's not a problem.

The only real complaint that I have is that Medicare is now my primary insurance company. This is a problem because my prescription drug insurance through work does not want to pay as a secondary company. So, I'm going to get stuck with either co-pays from work or with 20% from Medicare. For the Myfortic, I will be paying about $640 a year under my insurance plan. The Prograf will be another $480 per year. And, the Prednisone is probably $2 a year.

The annual cost for Myfortic, according to Medco, is $3,536.40. The plan pays $2,896.40, which is about 81% (meaning I save a little money over getting this through Medicare). The annual cost for Prograf is listed at $12,966.72 (for a year), with my insurance plan paying $12,486.72 (in that year). This is about 96% of the cost of the drugs, meaning I am getting a much better deal on these than I would through Medicare. The two medications combined have me paying about 7% of the cost, which is better than the 20% I'd have to pay through Medicare.

So, I guess I will continue to pay for Medicare for another 18 months, to cover my doctor's visits. It was nice not to pay for those medications in the past, but unfortunately, that's no longer an option. I knew it would be coming, but did not expect it this soon. So, it will be a cost to add in to everything else. Not a problem, just something to think about.

That's it for this post. More later, I think.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Allergy Test Results

I had my allergy test on Tuesday. It was not too bad, though I was very allergic to dust mites. I reacted to them as soon as she put that swab on my back. The allergy test involved me taking off my shirt, and laying on my stomach for 15 minutes. The nurse put a LOT of swabs (86, I think) on my back, and then did a small scratch on them, to expose me to the allergen. After about five minutes, she came in and wiped off the ones I had the greatest reaction to, and then was back about 10 minutes after that to clean me off, write down results, and give me an anti-itch spray.

Here are the results:
  • GRASS POLLEN: (see types)
    • Bermuda - yes
    • Fescue - yes
    • Brome - yes
    • Orchard - yes
    • Red Top - yes
    • Rye - yes
    • June/Blue Grass - yes
    • Johnson - yes
    • Timothy - yes
    • Bahia (Dallis) - yes
    • Wheatgrass - yes
  • POLLEN OF OTHER WEEDS: (see types)
    • Careless Weed - yes
    • Dock - yes
    • Pigweed - yes
    • Western Water Hemp - no
    • English Plantain - yes
    • Firebush (Kochia) - yes
    • Sage - yes
    • Cocklebur - yes
    • Lambs Quarter - yes
    • Marsh Elder - yes
    • Russian Thistle - yes
    • Sorrel - yes
  • SPRING TREE POLLEN: (see types)
    • Cottonwood - yes
    • Ash - yes
    • Box Elder/Maple - no
    • Hackberry - yes
    • Willow - yes
    • Mulberry - yes
    • Walnut - yes
    • Pecan - yes
    • Oak - yes
    • American Elm - yes
    • Sycamore - yes
    • Privet (Ligstrum) - yes
    • Pine - yes
    • Mesquite - yes
  • MT. CEDAR POLLEN - yes
  • MOLDS - FUNGUS - yes
  • HOUSE DUST - yes
  • DUST MITES - yes
  • COCKROACH - yes
  • CAT DANDER - no
  • DOG DANGER - yes
  • HAMSTER - yes
  • CATTLE - yes
  • Other:
    • Peanut - yes
So, I disagreed with the doctor about Cats and Peanuts. I told him that cats make me sneeze, just to see them. And, I've never reacted to a peanut. But, that's the way the tests came back.

They suggested reducing my exposure to being outside to help with outdoor allergies. They said to not open doors/windows at home to get "fresh air" as that will let in more allergies.

They told me to continue on the Nasonex and to go back on my Zyrtec (or generic stuff). They also added Astelin nasal spray to my regimen. I'm supposed to mix and match until I find the minimum number of medications that work for me.

So, I expect to hear lots more requests from Jenny to get a cat (which I will continue to deny). I also went to the local health foods store (Sprouts) and bought a new deodorant. It's called "Crystal Stick Deodorant" and contains only "natural mineral salts". You are supposed to get it wet, rub it on, and then dry off the stick. So far, it's working pretty well. I think my arms have healed quite a bit since I started using it. I'll see how I like it after a month or so.

That's about it for today. Good night everyone!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TB Results: Probably No

I called my nephrologist's office yesterday morning. I wanted to know if they had read my x-ray that was taken Wednesday morning. I figured two full business days would be long enough. They called back and told me that the x-rays results had not been filed by the radiologist yet. However, my nephrologist took a look and said that it is unlikely that I have contracted tuberculosis.

So, all is good news on the TB front. In other news, I visited an allergy doctor last Friday, to complain about my runny nose and stopped up ears. He told me my ear was just full of wax (so I had that flushed out on Monday afternoon). He switched my allergy medicine from Zyrtec (well, generic cetrizine) to Nasonex. I've been taking it a few days, and I'm not sure what I think yet. I have a full allergy test scheduled for next week, just to get an idea as to what makes my nose run.

The allergy doctor must work mainly with nasal allergies. When I asked about my allergic reaction to just about every deodorant I've ever tried, he said he'd have to talk to a dermatologist. Oh well, I'll keep trying different things, then.

Hopefully, the allergy test will give me some good information and maybe help me avoid the sniffles on a more regular basis.

That's it for today.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Chest X-Ray

Quick update: I went to the doctor's office and had a chest x-ray at about 10:00 this morning (Wednesday). The technician said that the radiologist should give me a call within the next day or two. I still feel fine, so I'm guessing nothing is wrong.

Thank you to everyone that has been praying! I do appreciate it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

TB Scare!

Welcome to the blog for today. First things first, if you did not read my blog from March, you can find it here:

I went home from work at about 2:00 pm today. I heard rumors around 1:00 or so that someone in our office, on my floor, had tuberculosis. For those of you that don't know, tuberculosis, or TB, is:

Reference (
Tuberculosis (TB) is a bacterial infection that is most often found in the lungs (pulmonary TB) but can spread to other parts of the body (extrapulmonary TB). TB in the lungs is easily spread to other people through coughing or laughing. Treatment is often successful, though the process is long. Treatment time averages between 6 and 9 months.

Now, this is an infectious disease, which is easily spread through coughing. I do not know if I have caught it, but I am going to call the transplant office in the morning to schedule a chest x-ray. I called them the minute I left work, asking what needed to be done. They returned my call about 4:30 (after the scheduling office was closed) to tell me to set up a chest x-ray to confirm if I did catch TB.

My boss called and said that the environmental people were going to come out and clean around the infected person's cubicle (which is not near me) as well as all the common areas in the building. They are supposed to disinfect everything overnight, so I should be safe in the morning. I haven't decided if I want to wear a SARS mask or not, but I'm considering it!

So, tomorrow, I will schedule my chest x-ray. It is doubtful that I have anything, but it is better to be safe than to be sorry (especially since it can take a year to cure TB in a healthy person).

That's it for today. I'd appreciate any prayers my direction in regards to my upcoming x-ray. Thanks!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, March 18 is my birthday. I am now a thirty year old man with a new (to me) kidney. If it is one year old, then does that make my average age 15?

I'm actually posting this in mid-April (the 21st). I fell behind in my blog postings, and I wanted to get this information on line prior to making any new posts. It's just your normal "lab report" plus a little bit of non-kidney news at the end.

My lab appointment this time was at 7:30 am. I think that may be the reason that my creatinine was up to 1.2. It has been 1.0 since my transplant, but I normally see the doctor later in the day. I don't think I had enough time to drink a lot of water before my urine test, so there may have been a little more junk in there than normal. My next appointment (May 13) will also be at 7:30. I'm going to try and see if I can drink at least 20 ounces before I leave home that morning. Perhaps that will help with my creatinine.

All my other lab numbers looked pretty good, and pretty similar to last time. My BUN was still at 14.0 mg/dL. My magnesium remains a bit low, at 1.6 mg/dl (on a normal range of 1.7 - 2.1). Everything else looked great.

I also had my one year bone density scan done. It sounds like I am pretty close to the same place I was six months ago, which is pretty good. The only change the technician offered was that I should exercise with some weights, just to add some resistance to my bones to cause them to be a little stronger.

Aside from that, I'm doing pretty good. I don't have to go see the doctor again for eight weeks, which is nice.

Here's the news I mentioned earlier:
Jenny and I are now working towards adopting a child!

Rather than bore the kidney-only readers with information about our adoption process, I have set up a new blog. You can find it at:

Have a great week, and see you all next time!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My first "Annual" Kidney Exam

Good evening everyone!

I had my one-year post-transplant Glofil appointment on Tuesday. My score was 81. For those of you keeping track, I was 86.1 right after the transplant, 82 at the six-month mark. I asked the doctor (physician's assistant), and she said that the "normal" range for a post-transplant patient was between 40 and 60, so I am doing very well.

I received a Glofil-related question on my comments (on the last blog). Here's the question:
Jugie C has left a new comment on your post "You're a Genius":

My grandson (Montgomery, TX -- 10yo) had his 1st GloFil test today (01/15/08). He was born with inadequate kidney function. Can you point us to an explanation of what "normal" is (his was 21.9). My daughter was informed that 70-140 is the adult normal.

Well, Jugie, I asked the nephrologist about your question. She printed me a list from about Glofil results. For a person with Chronic Kidney Disease, the kidney function is measured (or estimated) with a GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate). There are five stages but kidney function is normal in Stage 1, and minimally reduced in Stage 2.

Stage 1 is a GFR of 90+: Normal kidney function but urine findings or structural abnormalities or genetic traits point to kidney disease.
Stage 2 is a GFR of 60 - 89: Mildly reduced kidney function, and other findings (as for stage 1) point to kidney disease.
Stage 3 is a GFR of 30 - 59: Moderately reduced kidney disease.
Stage 4 is a GFR of 15 - 29: Severely reduced kidney function.
Stage 5 is a GFR of < 15: Very severe, or endstage kidney failure (sometimes called renal failure)

The nephrologist said that UNOS (the transplant people) require you to score less than 20 in order to qualify for a transplant. She also said that once you fall below 15, they normally recommend dialysis (depending on the patient, but it's <15 for almost everyone).

I also got my lab results back. My creatinine remains at 1.0 (which is good). My cholesterol levels all looked good. My bad (LDL) was at 61 (which is on the low end). My good (HDL) was a little lower than they like (only 36.0). And my triglycerides were at 139, which is excellent. The only recommendation is cardio-vascular exercise to improve my good cholesterol numbers. Aside from that, she was happy. My Phosphorus was a little low this week at 2.5 (with the normal being between 2.6 and 4.4). The doctor said to keep eating the foods that are higher in phosphorus (all the stuff I could not have on dialysis).

From glancing at the second page, my MONOCYTES were a little high at 0.84 (and the normal range is 0.10 - 0.50). The Internet said that monocytes are a second line of defense against infection. I'm guessing they are elevated due to this foreign kidney being in my body. I'll have to watch it on the next lab report and see if it remains a problem. This level has not been elevated in the past.

That's it for this week. I have another appointment on my birthday. I'm going to try and go in early to see if that helps with the congestion at the office. They have been remodeling their office, and are serving patients in a smaller rental building. It's crowded and there is never any parking. I'm hoping that perhaps being the first appointment of the day will give me a chance to get seen quickly and to get a place to park.

Have a great week. I'll try to post again before mid-March!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You're a Genius

So, I am not normally a fan of the "my blog says this about me" quizzes on the Internet. I saw this one on a friend's page, and she had been rated as "elementary level" and I wanted to see where I fit. It seems (probably based on the words POLYCYSTIC KIDNEY DISEASE in the title) that you have to be a genius to read my blog. So, good news for all of you. You're a genius.


So, just to make this a valid post, I will put in some information about me (and possibly my kidney). It has been cooler here in Texas over the last several days, and I am feeling it. Back in the summer, I was afraid that I was always going to be hot all the time after the transplant. But, it seems like that won't be a problem. I go to work and my thermometer says it is 73.9° F in my cubicle (though, I don't believe it, as the next cube over is 69.9ยบ) and I am freezing. I have been enjoying a new blanket I got for Christmas and some new warm sock/slipper things.

My medication is still going well. This is my last week for 7mg of Prednisone. Next week, I move down to 6mg. The doctor said (several weeks ago) that I could move from 10mg to 5mg per day. I just had to reduce by one milligram every four weeks. He actually said every month, but it's easier for me to keep track of when I change if I do it every 28 days (since my medication holder is set for seven days). I don't notice much difference, but it is nice to be on less of the medication that makes you hyper and have more of an appetite.

I am working on being more regular about exercising. We got a pre-owned treadmill from some friends right before Christmas, so that has been nice. I can walk on it without having to drive to the exercise facility that is provided by work. And, yesterday was nice enough outside in the afternoon that I actually went out and rode my bike for a little while.

We celebrated Jenny's birthday on Sunday. She said that she really enjoyed it and doesn't mind growing older. Mine is not for two more months, so I get to make fun of her for being older than me once again (for a short time). I've enjoyed my last year (with the new kidney) and I hope that it can bring me through the next thirty years.

That's about it for today. The Glofil test is set for January 22. I should get to hear from the doctor about how great I'm doing and see if there is anything I can do to make it better. I'm always looking for ways to make the kidney last a little longer.

See you next time, geniuses!!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Year Two: Day One

Yesterday (January 11, 2008) officially marked my one year Kidney-Versary! (Yes, spell checker, I know that isn't a word, stop underlining it with that red squiggly line).

It has been a wonderful year. I just spent twelve months NOT having to go to dialysis. That was probably the best change for me. I also got to eat more food (like a normal person), and I was able to put on a little bit of weight. I now weight 185 lbs (which is good when you are 6 feet 2 inches tall). I got to spend more time at home with my wife, and have generally enjoyed life all the more since my transplant.

I'd like to thank everyone that has been praying over the past year. The doctors say that the first year of transplant is the hardest to get past. Once you make it one year, your chances of rejection fall greatly. I am hoping that the statistics will hold true for me and that I will get a few more decades out of this new kidney. Keep on praying that God will protect me and this wonderful transplanted kidney for many years to come.

I have a Glofil test coming up in about two weeks. This will give the doctors a one year picture of how my kidney is doing. I'll be sure to let everyone know what's going on after I find out. I should probably also have another bone density scan a week or two after that. Then all of my records should be up-to-date in their systems.

That's about it for today. More another day!!