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!