Today is the First Anniversary of the Transplant. I am healthy. GW is healthy. We are in a good place.
GW had a few bumps early on, but sprang back very quickly. He had visitors from all over. He bought a recliner to heal in. He got new glasses. He went off his blood pressure meds. He went home two weeks earlier than we expected. He stopped taking a fistful of drugs everyday, and now takes just a few, but he takes them like clockwork. He went back to work. He started riding his bike again. He started riding a LOT.
I had a steady recovery. I read lots of books (everything Rick Riordon had written, The Boys in the Boat, Terry Pratchett books...), had visits from lots of friends who brought us food. I got a new job. I started running again.
Life went back to normal. Or the new normal.
How is my life different than one year ago today?
I have some scars on my stomach. Super small ones that are mostly faded, unless I am cold.
My creatinine levels are slightly higher than before, but well within the realm of healthy. My remaining kidney (Sir Henle) has obviously grown to make up for the absence of Sidney (GWs kidney). By my calculations, Sir Henle is about half again as big has he was when we started this adventure. And by the sounds of GWs latest blood work, Sidney has also grown to accommodate GWs (larger person) needs.
I have an easier time eating a healthy diet, since I have pretty clear instructions of what that should look like. Low salt, low sugar (because diabetes is a big problem), with a bias towards high fiber, high protein, whole foods.
I inherited GWs recliner. I sit in it every day.
I am not in quite as good of shape. The pressure of getting my body to perform an amazing feat of health and healing powered me through a lot of dreary runs. More recently, I have a new job, with a longer commute, and haven't quite had the ambition to work out like before. But the Transplant Games are coming this summer, which might be the goal I need to be working towards.
I dont worry about Kelsey or GW in the same way. I dont worry that GW will get a bad blood test with even worse news. I dont worry he will end up in the ER for some infection, loss of vision, crazy nosebleed, or any new tragedy that seemed to hound him in 2014. I dont worry that my sister will be racing between dialysis appointments and work, trying to make a diet that fits an every changing profile of salts, proteins, and carbs. I dont worry that she worries to much to sleep properly. I worry about their happiness- I hope they both are in careers they enjoy. I hope they are able to find work-life balance. I hope they continue to feel connected to and supported by friends and family. And these new worries dont keep me up at night. But arent those perfectly normal worries?
I am incredibly popular on FB. Anytime GW, Debbie, or Bill posts something about me, or the transplant, or GWs health, Facebook blows up with the well wishes, thoughts and prayers of a much larger community.
I have new friends. GWs family has been amazingly gracious and kind to me and my family. GWs friends have supported and encouraged me. This is super cool.
But otherwise, my life is incredibly normal. I almost forgot to schedule my 1 year follow-up. If I drank alcohol, I could go back to doing that. I am not supposed to do a lot of high impact sports, but I was willing to say goodbye to my jousting career. A super normal, but slightly better life, because the people I care about are healthy and happy.