01 March 2009

Two months!

It has been a while since I posted on my post-transplant progress. I've been so occupied with other things that I haven't been too concerned about my progress - which is actually great news if you think about it.

My health situation is frankly wonderful! My new kidney is working perfectly, and its good effects are spreading to all my other systems. The kidneys regulate metabolism in many ways. The list, as I've alluded to before, includes red blood cell production, Vitamin D production, calcium and bone metabolism, parathyroid gland control, water and pH balance, protein metabolism, blood pressure control, electrolyte balance, and of course waste elimination. Now that all these things are back in whack, I'm noticing an improvement in multiple ways.

I'm adding muscle at an amazing rate, especially to my arms and legs. I've been going back to the gym, and unlike the past few years this exercise is now able to build muscle. My color (such as it is for a Northern/Central European) has returned so I no longer appear to be a sickly albino. My energy level is way up. My fingernails, hair, and beard are growing fast and thick. The most amazing thing is my gray hair is going away! My hair is coming in dark again, my natural color, and my bald spot is disappearing.

I'm not just the president of kidney transplant hair club for men, I'm also a member.

Medically, my tests all remain within the normal range, and seem to have stabilized. My (actually, Shark's) kidney function is actually better than it has been in 20 years. My blood pressure is so good that my doctor has been lowering my doses of blood pressure meds. So it appears that as long as I keep taking good care of myself, I've got a good runway for a few years more of good health. Knock wood.

Of course, since all that's been going so well, this has allowed me to notice the world around me and its travails. Mind you, these travails seem petty in comparison to the great blessing I've received.

Nonetheless, I and my family continue to live in interesting times.

My grandmother died two weeks ago at the age of 89 and after extended illness. She lived a long and fruitful life and lived to see and love all three of her great-grandsons, who all love her in return. She was a talented, funny, loving wife and mother and Tigers fan ;). She taught me to cook, to play billiards, and to play serious card games (pinochle, bridge, euchre, cribbage...). She was a shark at both pool and cards and consistently beat everyone at both :) She came from a very large family and was raised during the depression and those lessons never left her. So this wasn't necessarily a sad event, but something that's been occupying our time the past couple of weeks.

My wife's uncle died later that same week; he had been ill for many years and seemed to have been kept going only by the sheer force of his wife's love and will.

Our middle son, Paul, has been going through a rough period in his own life with anxiety, and is seeing a therapist recently to try to help him.

Oh, and me? As you may have heard, I was laid off on Friday from the company I helped start nearly 10 years ago. But hey, 10 years employment as a senior employee at a high-tech startup through a reorganization and an acquisition is actually a damn good run. So I'm examining a number of opportunities and possibilities: similar employment for another company; start another company; consulting; switching careers, even. I'm taking this occasion as an opportunity to set myself up well for the next ten years, so I want to get it right. I'm not upset about being laid off; I anticipated the event and had been re-examining my career anyway. But it's certainly a stressor.

My response to all these things? First, my recent gift of life gives me fresh perspective and helps me to be much more relaxed about these events. Second, new energy and new perspective allow me to contemplate my situation and look on all these things as perhaps the start of another chapter. Who knows?