life + health update

It has been an amazing and wild roller coaster of a 3 months. 

It’s kind of hard to know where to start, because I haven’t really posted about my post transplant life other than, hey I had it and it saved my life. 

My surgery was successful, though I did have complications post operation. It was discovered that I had a hematoma. Which is literally, according to google, a solid swelling of clotted blood within the tissues. There was talk of going back in and clearing out the tissue and I was praying fiercely  that they wouldn’t have to. My blood levels were low across the board and my skin was turning yellow and I was very lethargic. I had no idea it was going on until they brought me two units of blood, if I received the blood and my levels were normal the next morning, reopening my incision would not be necessary. My parents said about halfway through the first unit all the color came back to my face. By God’s grace the blood worked and I haven’t had any problems with the hematoma further. 

But since I’ve had trouble with anemia. Basically my hemoglobin and iron saturation has been very low. In the first month of recovery, I received another unit of blood, an iron transfusion, and in the second month started my monthly epo shots (anemia shots). These shots sting like crazy, but luckily the nurse that gives them to me is the best and there’s minimal pain. The shot is necessary to reteach my bone marrow to release red blood cells. When my kidneys began to fail (when I dropped to 13% kidney function) my body started going into survival mode. Most people don’t realize it, but your kidneys are so essential to your body’s survival. Your kidneys filter your blood and fluids of toxins. They then make urine and send it down through your ureters into your bladder and then well, you get rid of the toxins in your body. If your kidneys can’t do this, your whole body starts altering it’s processes to try and accommodate for their slack. So over time my bone marrow will automatically release the new red blood cells when the old ones die and I won’t have to worry about anemia so much and only have it monitored. 

As of Friday November 16th, 2018

I really need to add before I go any further that my transplant nephrologist is the bomb and I’m so comfortable asking her questions and can trust that she’s taking the absolute best care of me. She asks me about my personal life, if I’m working, going out and having fun and then she remembers these things and I think that’s really special. Not to mention, I message them any time literally anything slightly changes with my body or I don’t understand the levels in my lab results, I probably drive them insane. 🙂

Anyways, my check up went really well and my nephrologist was happy with my recovery so far. Later when my labs got back they realized that my white blood cell count had dropped significantly. At the end of October it was around 6.7 which is really good, but on Friday is was 1.1. So they decided to take me off one of my autoimmune suppressants and my antiviral and my antibacterial in hopes that it would raise my count back up. I’m not trying to get sick, y’all.  They replaced those medicines temporarily with a low dose steroid to protect me from getting sick. I’m hoping my levels are back up later this week, so it’s not a thing I have to worry about. 

These are just some of the things they monitor each appointment. I’ve finally graduated to monthly appointments. The first 6 weeks post operation, I went once a week. Then I went to every two weeks. Eventually they will only see me about every 6 months and I’m very okay with that. I love knowing my body is doing well, I don’t want anything to sneak up on me and not be able to catch it in time. 

So no, just because I got a kidney transplant does not mean I’m magically better forever and ever. It’s a lot of checking levels, changing doses, and germ-x, honestly. It saved my life for sure and it’s clear that I’m over the moon about it, but I want people to realize it’s much more than just the initial operation. 

Personal Life

I feel like I’ve settled into my life “as normal” now. I’ve got a pep in my step wherever I go and I can’t sit down for long on most days. Today me and mom were leaving Walmart and I realized I was walking tall with my shoulders back, my mind was clear, I felt awake, and alert. I literally thought to myself, “I feel good, this is so weird.” I had gotten so used to being lethargic, constantly fatigued, and mentally exhausted. So sometimes its a bit of a mind blowing thing, to go from what I thought was normal, to sick, to kidney failure, to better than I’ve ever felt. It’s a miracle. 

I went to the gym last weekend for the first time in so long! I knew my body was recovering well when I got done and felt amazing and not exhausted. I’m really excited to start working the gym into my daily schedule. 

I have finally started back at work! Initially my doctors told me that most patients go back to work 4 to 6 months after transplant. Well, unless money starts raining from heaven, I don’t have time for that and honestly if I had to sit around another day I was going to scream. That’s just my personality, I love being active if I feel good. 

My first day back at Victoria’s Secret was Saturday. I’ve worked there off and on, usually during the holidays for two years. My managers jumped for joy when I called to tell them I had my transplant and was ready to work again. My managers are absolute angels, they have treated me with so much kindness and respect over the years. They have helped me and encouraged me whenever I’ve needed it.  It was amazing to work a 6 hour shift and feel good the whole time. It was amazing to be around people, helping people, and feeling like an absolutely normal human being. I had fun at work and that’s honestly a new thing for me!  I’m really excited for what the future holds. 


2 Comments Add yours

  1. D.A. says:

    I like the bare honesty of your posts, Jennifer. God bless you! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Jennifer Bethany says:

      Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

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