Sorry that it has been over a month since we last posted. For the most part, no posts have been good news:) It has been 8 weeks today since my transplant.
My kidney function lab values were up and down throughout the month of July. Much of this is to be expected as they are trying to get my tacrolimus levels (one of my anti-rejection meds) at a therapeutic dose. Too high and my kidneys don’t like it, resulting in an increase in creatinine. Too low and I risk rejection again–also not good. This means changing the dosage of this one medicine, sometimes a couple of times per week. Since it would not regulate on the same dose, they just switched me yesterday to a different form of the drug. Fingers crossed that will help regulate the levels and as a bonus decrease some of the side effects (shaky hands which drive me and Kyle CRAZY!).
On July 27th, I had a planned repeat biopsy to gauge the response to treatment and I PASSED! The preliminary results show NO SIGNS OF REJECTION! The final results should be in later this week or next. My first post-transplant biopsy came back with different results over several days—so I am being cautiously optimistic. But that was when I was in an antibody-mediated rejection state. Again, fingers crossed the final results come back the same. Although my kidney function is not as good as immediately post-transplant, it is slowly heading back that way. At this point, no further outpatient treatments are necessary. I will just continue with my medication regime.
Often I find myself just doing math in my head or running numbers (I know–bizarre!). So I came up with the following:
- 1 Kidney Transplant +
- 2 Kidney Biopsies +
- 1 JP drain +
- 1 Central Line (to allow better IV access) +
- 7 IVs (throughout outpatient and inpatient treatments) +
- 6 Plasmapheresis treatments (kind of like cleaning blood/plasma and putting the good stuff back in) +
- 2 Rituximab treatments (cancer/autoimmune IV treatment) +
- 3 IV ImmunoGlobulin (an autoimmune type of IV treatment) +
- 1 Thymoglobulin IV treatment +
- 1 Blood transfusion +
- 1 COVID test and 1 antibody test +
- 50+ Blood sticks, finger sticks +
- 20+ Heparin Shots (to prevent blood clots) +
- 20+ Insulin Shots (because of high blood sugar–due to steroids) +
- 1 Foley Cath +
- 1 I&O Cath +
- 4 Urinalysis +
- 3+ Chest Xrays +
- 6 Ultrasounds +
- 1 ER visit +
- 14 Days in hospital (2 Hospital visits) +
- 3 x per week blood draws +
= 3 Kidneys and improved kidney function!!! And a much greater appreciation for anyone going through surgery, hospitalization, acute care staff, healthcare workers dealing with rapid changes due to COVID19 and drive up/pick up options:)
Please accept my gratitude and sincere appreciation for all of the prayers, well-wishes, meals, gifts, flowers, and support during the past couple of months. My family and I couldn’t have done it without you! A special thanks to my parents for staying with us to help with everything over the past two months. Hope we didn’t drive them too crazy:)
A huge thank you to my sister, Jana, who donated her kidney! Her belly looked way worse than mine ever did and had a good bit of abdominal and back soreness for several weeks. Now she is back to work and doing well. She just had a little time off to enjoy the beach in Duck. She’s the reason this could all even be possible!
Oh my dear Ericka, what an incredible journey you have been on. I realize it’s not been a pleasant journey. For such the good Lord has been looking over you. Joe & I have been praying. Believe or not you were meant to be here for your patients/clients. Your strength will carry you through all of this. Your husband and children need you and your parents love has helped to pull it all together.
Joe wishes you well. I, on the other hand miss you tremendously. Your loving kindness, patience, and expertise has been well beyond most Therapists care.
Your humor and laughter has been a joy to embrace as a Medical professional.
We prayfully wish you well and healing.
Thank you for including us in your story. Happy endings to come with a full recovery.