Hello Morton Kidney Transplant supporters! This is a bonus journal entry. One year ago today, I received a wonderful, squishy-slimy gift of goodness from my brother, Layne. I’ve learned that it’s fairly common for organ transplant recipients to establish the anniversary of their surgery as their new ‘birthday’. Therefore, I’m one year old today. Yip-PEE!
Layne flew into Dallas this past weekend, and we went to UT Southwestern for our one-year maintenance appointment yesterday (checking fluids, hoses, and filters). I have to give the medical team a great deal of credit for being thorough. They don’t cut any corners and aren’t inclined to overlook potential problems. They leave no stone unturned. And, while it’s uncomfortable to have someone turning your stones, it’s better than having untreated issues.
I’m happy to report that Layne is doing extremely well. He bounced back from surgery last year with a newfound interest in his physical fitness (I told him to shape up in case I needed that other kidney he’s hording like pirate treasure). He lost weight, lowered his blood pressure, and has been running regularly, at an astounding pace during his 3-4 mile runs. The medical folks are happy with his overall condition and they figure he’ll live somewhere between 75 and 200 more years.
And me? I’m doing pretty well, too. At this point, I’m mainly dealing with low red/white blood cell counts. Additionally, there’s an ongoing rotation of nifty side effects from medications. Lately, it’s a mouthful of sores caused by one of my immunosuppressant medications. This particular drug comes in a bag that says, “CAUTION - chemotherapy material, observe safety precautions for handling and administration”. I’ve been thinking of doing something fun with one of these bags. My current ideas are:
- Use one to hold the candy we pass out to kids on Halloween—let’s see which kids can read!
- Use one as a container for my lunch at work—should reduce the likelihood of theft.
- Use one to hide the snacks I sneak into movies—just the usual things: candy, BBQ ribs, spaghetti, and soup.
Other than that, there’s not much new and interesting to report. All I have are general thoughts to share. And, because I’m too lazy to write normal paragraphs like a grown up (remember, I’m only 1 year old), I’ll put these into bullet points.
- I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude to Layne, Lani, the rest of my family, friends, and coworkers who have supported (carried) me over the last year. God bless you all.
- Life is less stressful these days. There’s a lot to keep up with, and I’m as busy as ever. Still, things that used to bother me don’t affect me as much. Perspective and priorities have shifted. I hope that sticks with me. It’s nice, like the feeling you get when see a rainbow, or a box of kittens, or a person driving by their own set of rules who gets pulled over, pulled out of the car, handcuffed, and smacked around a bit for good measure.
- I’ve found I can swallow at least 15 pills at once. This isn’t going to win any prizes on “America’s Got Talent”, and I’m not bragging. I was surprised by this fact and wanted to share it.
- The human body is amazing. The systems it has in place to maintain itself are a miracle. The science associated with understanding and navigating through issues with these systems is jaw-droppingly, breath-stoppingly, and mind-blowingly astounding.
- Doctors and nurses are profoundly different than most humans. The things they deal with on a daily basis would make most of us curl up in a ball in the corner. I think one of my life goals is to hear a medical professional scream, “Oh, GROSS! That’s disgusting!” I mean… I don’t want that directed at me, I just want to be around when it happens.
- I feel much, much, much better than I before the transplant. I would do it all again. Although to be clear, I’m praying I never have to do it again.
Much love to you all,
Lance and Billy the Kidney
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