Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Six Month Check Up

Pat and I had our six month checkup yesterday and our partners, Steve and Janis, had theirs on July 13th.  They come a much longer way than we do to get to the UW Medical Center, so we drove in and met them for lunch last  Thursday.  It's so gratifying to get to "see" my former kidney in a healthy, grateful recipient.  We had a nice lunch and caught up on all the details.

Our checkups went well, Pat has to have labs once a week for awhile to follow up on a white cell problem that hasn't been fully managed yet.  He apparently has a pretty strong immune system and while that is usually good, in this case, it can cause problems when the anti-rejection medication is too high in an effort to keep viruses, etc. at bay and pushes his white count so low that he's unable to  fight off any stray germ and that's dangerous.  The chemistry and balancing act is amazingly sophisticated and I wonder how people who received transplants years ago managed.

Anyway, he is doing well and the good news is that he got permission for us to travel out of the country this fall!  So planning will be full steam ahead now.  We already purchased airfare and plan to fly to Iceland in mid-September, stay there three days and then continue to Glasgow.  We don't have exact plans made yet but will probably stay in Scotland a week or so, definitely visiting Edinburgh and then take the train down into England.  We'll spend the rest of the month visiting areas of England that we haven't been to before, probably the lake district, Cornwall, possibly Bath and Oxford and end up in London to fly home in mid-October.  It should be a grand time.

My checkup was also fine but, critical person that I am, I managed to convince myself that I'm not where I should be.  My creatinine was 1.04, which is actually higher than it was two weeks after surgery.  Now this can be due to the exercise that I'm doing, as creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism and intense exercise can increase muscle breakdown.  However, I don't know if my slow swimming is intense exercise and I was disappointed in the result.  The nurse practitioner who went over the labs, however, was not concerned and informed me that my kidney function was about 77% of previous, when I had two kidneys.  I guess that is good news but I was hoping for quicker recovery back to a higher number.

While I'm certainly not a high level athlete, I do expect my body to do what I want it to and to respond quickly and successfully.  I know this kidney stuff is somewhat out of my control except for the requirement that I follow the dietary, fluid intake, and medication restrictions that I've been given.  I feel fine, can pretty much do whatever I want to, and enabled another human being to live a healthy life.  Not bad for a 64 year old "old lady!"

I finished some more spinning: 203 yards of Organic Wool from Southern Cross Fibre.  It came out really nicely.

I also finished the Russell Street Shawl, although the ends aren't all woven in yet.  I wanted to lay it out and see how I liked it, as I really miscalculated the yardage I would need for my main color and ran out way before the end.  I decided to take some more scraps and make a few larger stripes and I really like how it looks.  Hooray for improvisation!

I also made some raspberry freezer jam.  Yum!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Six Months Snuck Up on Us

July 4th was six months post surgery.  As we were visiting with my sister and brother-in-law and waiting for nightfall and fireworks, Pat realized what the date was and what it meant.  I guess it's good that we feel so relatively normal that we're not counting down the days!

Things have been going well in general.  Pat had another problem with low white count but a medication adjustment, a shot, and a few days put him back into the safe range again.  Other than that and still feeling like going to sleep at 8:30, we're good.  The champagne was a celebratory prop; we don't really drink any more. 😉


Our six month check up will be on July 17th, so I'll report on that in a couple of weeks.  Steve and Janis (our exchange partners) have their check ups on the 13th and we're going to meet them for lunch that day.  It will be nice to catch up and get eyes on our respective former kidneys!

In other news, I finished my Kimba Shawl and think it's beautiful.  I really like how the colors work in it.

I haven't finished Russel Street yet, but it's getting close.  The remaining yarn ball is also getting small, but I have a plan in case I run out before the final mini stripes are done.  Yarn chicken....

It's Tour de Fleece again - a spinning event that runs during the Tour de France.  I've been spinning and managed to get two skeins of yarn done so far.

This one is Polwarth/Silk from Edgewood Garden Studios, spun on my Hansen miniSpinner and chain plyed on my Lendrum.

This is South African Superfine wool from Southern Cross Fibre and it was spun and plyed on the Lendrum.

I started knitting a sock yesterday out of handspun superwash Blueface wool and nylon from Gale's Art that I spun last year and three plyed during Spinzilla.  They'll be thick and nice for wearing around the house when it gets cooler.

I spent some time with my wheels outside the past week or so.  I like to take my Lendrum out onto the upper deck and my miniSpinner goes out to the patio below onto the table or lounge.  Such a luxury to have options!  And I never tire of my lake view.  

Last night's full moon was especially spectacular.  I wish I could take better photos!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Five Months!

When last we checked, I was happily settled in the warm weather, swimming and toasting my backside.  There was knitting being done and I actually finished the brioche shawl and the gradient one.  Unfortunately, I didn't have room in my suitcase to bring them home, so they remain in the desert.  They both came out  nicely, despite my ineptness at the brioche section of the first shawl.  The brioche itself isn't hard but I couldn't quite get the ends of the rows done right.  It looked okay in the end, though.

I'm still working on Russell Street, and it's progressing nicely through the colorful mini skeins.  There are going to be a whole bunch of ends to weave in, and lots of picking up of stitches.  Hopefully it will be worth it in the end.

I started another shawl, Kimba, by Ambah O'Brien.  She had a coupon code for some of her patterns so I bought a few.  I'm doing the small size of this one as I'm not a fan of huge shawls usually.  I like this first color a lot and it will progress into two more colors as it grows.

I decided to bring out my spinning wheel for a change of pace when it got too hot to do much of anything outside.  I spun a big braid of JulieSpins Falkland.  I didn't have any big bobbins for my Lendrum wheel so I had to make two sections, which I then plied together into one big hank of yarn.
I had a couple of interested visitors, Mr. and Ms. Hollywood, who each tried their hand at some spinning.  They decided it was harder than it looked!  We had a nice visit over the Memorial Day weekend, which was right before I returned to Washington.

Now to the physical fitness news.  I mentioned last time that I was training to do the swimming in a triathlon here at our lake.  If you're a long time reader, you might remember that I did the whole sprint distance triathlon two years ago and ran the 5K last year.  This time I teamed up with my sister-in-law and her husband and we did the Olympic distance.  I swam a little less than a mile, Joel rode almost 28 miles on his bike and Julie ran 6.3 miles.  We had fun, we finished, we didn't set any speed records.  I'm almost the slowest swimmer in the world but I wasn't last!! That was awesome.  I start out slow so didn't have too much trouble dealing with the crowd of other swimmers, since they were far ahead of me in no time.  I was fast enough to get the first leg over before the sprint swimmers came up and overtook me, so that was good.  I settled into my rhythm and breathing and didn't have to breaststroke the whole way so that was also good.  The medals were much better this year, too!

One of my training mornings.  Yes, that water was cold but my wetsuit was awesome and kept me plenty warm, even though my arms and legs were exposed.

Right after I finished my swim and turned the timing chip over to Joel.

Joel finishing up his bike ride and hurrying into the transition area to give Julie the timing chip.

Julie coming in strongly from her run.

The Team!

Pat and I continue to feel well and, aside from an evening or two when I felt like going to bed at 8:30, I've regained my energy.  A very good month!

Oh, and I almost forgot (again! 😳) We celebrated our 21st anniversary on Friday.  How time flies!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Four Months, Four Days, and All is Well

May the 4th (be with you) was four months post surgery.  Too bad we weren't in Vegas...lucky number 4 for sure!  Anyway, there isn't much to report on the health front, which is good.  Pat and I are in Palm Desert for a little break from the rain. He came down ahead of me and I came a few days after returning from our awesome spa trip.  We've been walking a lot and enjoying the fact that we can be outside without coats on.

We've had some crazy weather here just as the rest of the country has, though.  There were seasonal temps when I got here (high 80s and 90s), then four or so days of highs up to 106, then a day of rain that didn't get up to 70.  Things should be going back to normal now for awhile but you never know.  There was snow in the mountains this morning, which I would have to say is extremely rare for Palm Springs in May.

I jumped back into my beloved exercise class right away and so far I've been able to keep up fine.  In addition to that, I've been going to the community center pool and swimming on the off days.  I can still swim a mile, folks, so it looks like things are on track for the Lake Wilderness Triathlon relay that I have planned to do with my sister-in-law and her husband as the rest of my team.  We're going to do the Olympic distance, which means I'll have to swim 0.9 miles in the lake, which will be a darn sight colder than the pool here in the desert.  I have my shortie wetsuit and hopefully that will be enough to keep me warmish.  We'll see....there never seems to be an end to the things I decide to challenge myself with.  😏  Keeps me from getting old!

Other than that, some knitting has been getting done.  I'm working on two shawls, All About That Brioche

and Good to the Last Drop.

Then, since that wasn't enough, I decided to start another one today since I get bored easily.  I went through my stash here and picked out some mini skeins and a nice dark skein of Plucky Feet for the main color and will cast on Russell Street.

 One of these will be my airplane knitting on the way home at the end of the month.

Yesterday was the cool and rainy day so after a nice long walk in the morning, we settled down for some time at home.  I've been working on a blanket here and up until yesterday it was too hot to work on it, since it's getting pretty big.  Yesterday was perfect to have a wool blanket on my lap!

Oh, a cool thing we saw...we were driving up to our condo the other day and saw a Sharp Shinned Hawk at the edge of the driveway getting a drink of water from the puddle that forms there from sprinkler runoff.  Photos are from the car and we didn't want to get too close, but he shows up pretty well.  He lives in one of the big trees near our place and usually makes his presence known with his squeaky call and large droppings on the patio and umbrella!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sixth Hike and We're Done

As always, coming to the end of a stay at our beloved Green Valley Spa is always hard.  This time it was especially so, since we don't know what the future will bring.  Under new management, our destination spa is changing and we don't know how things will shake out.  We were able to cobble together our usual complete package and the accommodations, treatments, food, and hikes were pretty much the same as always but lack of guests and the rumblings of renovations were a worry.  We will watch to see what happens and know that our hiking guide friends should always be around to walk us and entertain us through Green Valley Hiking no matter where we might end up staying.  The grounds, and especially the many roses, are a big part of why we love it.

Our last hike was with Kim and was a good one. We went out along a road in Snow Canyon Park and then up into Padre Canyon when we said that we wanted a little more hike than walk.  The scenery was beautiful as always and we used some of Marc's techniques learned earlier.

I remembered to use my arms to support some of my body weight to keep me out of the water.

My sister put too much weight on her foot and slippage occurred!

Hopefully this isn't the end of an era.  The trip this year was to celebrate my recovery from the kidney donation surgery and to thank my wonderful sister and daughter for their good care.  Next year will be our regularly scheduled spa year due to a major birthday with a large number attached.  We will see what the year brings and where our adventure takes us.