Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Preparing for the first day of the rest of our lives

I've been MIA from the blogosphere for the last few months.  I've been knitting up a storm and spinning some, too, but documenting it here has taken a backseat to other things that have been on my mind.  I'll try to catch up and post some photos of things I'm especially proud of, but you can follow me on instagram @lboatsman to get the day to day images.  It's easier to snap a photo and post it with a couple of sentences than to create a blog post, even though I write them in my mind all the time.

So, what's going on?  I'm going to write this story in a series of posts, as it won't be finished for awhile.  It started a couple of years ago, when my husband had to start dialysis due to kidney failure caused by childhood disease.  He had always taken good care of himself and managed to make it to age 60 before the inevitable occurred.  Dialysis is essentially intolerable but necessary for life to continue, so it's been tough.  He went onto the transplant list through the University of Washington as soon as possible but it's a long wait.

Quite a few friends and relatives offered to be tested as living donors, but none got very far in the screening.  When I originally volunteered I was told I couldn't be tested due to the small amount of blood pressure medication I had been on.  Apparently blood pressure can go up after kidney donation and the transplant teams do everything they can to ensure that their donors will come through with as few ill effects as possible. So I was out and just had to wait with him for someone else to come forward or his name to come up on the list.  This went on for about a year and a half.

Then last spring I received a call from the transplant donor coordinator informing me that their new medical director had changed the protocol and folks like me in good health on minimal bp meds indeed could be tested.  This started a process that lasted for the next five months.  The first step was to grant permission for the UW transplant team to gain access to my medical records for the past 20 years or so.  After they were screened and I was deemed basically healthy, I had to wear a blood pressure monitor for 24 hours so they could see if my blood pressure was controlled by the medication I was on.  The results were fine.

Next came the 24 hour urine test and the extensive blood testing.  Everything looked good so I was passed onto the next step.  All of these things take time; they have to be scheduled, the tests done, and the results received and studied by the doctors.  Two days of intensive tests and interviews had to be scheduled at the UW and these were finally planned for the middle of July.  Here's what I had to do over the course of two days:
*Meet with Living Kidney Donor Patient Care Coordinator
*Meet with Nurse Coordinator
*Meet with Nephrologist
*Meet with Nurse and Transplant Surgeon
*Meet with Independent Living Donor Advocate
*Meet with Infectious Disease Doctor
*Meet with Hospital Pharmacist
*Go to lab to have blood drawn
*Have EKG
*Have abdominal CT scan
*Have chest Xray
*Meet with dietician

All these meetings and exams went well but a small cyst was noticed on one of my kidneys that needed to be looked at again.  Also, due to my advanced age :) I had to have a treadmill test.  That day went like this:
*Treadmill stress echocardiogram (where they told me I did better than the majority of 26 year olds!)
*Renal Ultrasound

I was officially approved as a donor pending the results of the two final tests and after these and a final blood pressure reading, I was okayed as of the middle of August.  Now to find out if I matched my husband.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Some knitting photos so as to reward your patience in reading this much...

Finding Nemo hat and socks for my nephew's new baby:

Weekender sweater made with The Plucky Knitter Crew:

I like the extra stripe in the back:

Yoda's sweater in progress:

Our little family Thanksgiving in Las Vegas.  A pretty good looking group!

The story will be continued before long.  Happy knitting!


A :-) said...

Wow!! I sure hope things go OK for both of you. No wonder you haven't been blogging much.

Knittinggarden said...

Thanks, Adrienne! We're both looking ahead to the surgery with positive attitudes and plan to get through with flying colors.