So it's New Year. It's also the six month anniversary of the transplant. Now I know that that just ain't as cool as the actual year anniversary, but it's still considered good to us patients since the medical staff break up the first year based on progress. I feel like summarising for my own benefit, I might forget in the future.
In the first month they see you constantly, taking bloods every other day in the week because, as is fairly logical, it rejection is going to happen because your body just isn't taking, your body is probably going to notice sooner than later; if it's straight forward rejection. Of course numerous things end up changing the situation if you're not careful over the years, but that's just how it is. The second and third month they still see you in the specialist transplant clinic checking all different levels, organ function, drug efficinency, infections, drug reactions, secondary conditions like diabetes, conditions that can destroy the new kidney like high blood pressure issues or dehydration but if all goes well they do a biopsy of the new kidney, ship you back to your own hospital and start being more casual unless anything is going wrong. And that's how it is from month 3 to month 6. Then month six to 12 they monitor you, don't want you to go outside of your country, but leave you alone if nothing is going wrong. If things aren't great they see you more, based on what is going wrong and how much, it's pretty fluid. Then at the year mark, if you are a-ok you can travel, they don't see you very much, hopefully back to normal.
So I'm a the six month mark. The first of July was the day I woke up and had a bunch of fresh scars on my stomach, and had five IVs of different sizes in my body (the morphine button IV the best) and had doctors telling me that it was looking like Ant's organ was given me 100% working capability. It was one of the first times a renal doctor had been standing over me and the reassuring smile and calm words that everything is ok was completely and entirely transparent as Doctor Professionalism. No, that morning the corners of their mouths were satisfied as they smiled around my bed, like the smile you give someone when they ask you how your weekend was and you say great but what you're really thinking about is how it was AWESOME cos you spent the whole time having fantastic sex, but you're not going to tell them that so you just smile. All the doctors, their foreheads were relaxed, they breathing smug as if they had just gotten a hole in one on the golf course. It was lovely to be surrounded by people who couldn't hide the fact that they were all thinking there was an excellent chance that the coming years was going to see me visiting renal wards so very much less and using very expensive medical fluid to keep me alive hopefully almost not at all.
So, six month mark. On the one hand I still don't feel normal so am concerned about the fact that I need to start looking into reassessment for work. I don't feel up to it and theres still things that need resolving medically, I'm not saying that to be a lazy sponger, I genuinely still don't feel back to normal. On the other hand it is a celebration. Yes I still feel ill sometimes but I'm not crushed because I knew this would was likely; they tell you before the tranplant that many people don't feel like their old selves for a while, also being on immunosuppression drugs brings its own challenges of their own, and then in my case their are other issues becoming inconvenient a little bit. Mostly I have no muscle mass but one medical problem has stopped me going to the gym to do with one of my drugs, then theres the fact I can't lift my left arm so I'm seeing a rheumatologist about that, and I'm told I still have a bit of a toxicity problem with one of my levels from when I was put back on the contraceptive pill and it messed up a function relating to the liver, so they won't put me back on the pill, which is a pain because I'm not supposed to get pregnant. Well, I don't want my own kids anyway, but even if I did the post transplant facts that pregnancy is really rough on an immunosuppressed body, and the immunosuppressant drugs I'm on has a high statistical likelihood of creating fetal deformities so your drugs controlling your transplant have to be tightly monitored and altered so as not to mess up the baby, putting both you and the child in danger of all sorts of problems. But even more specifically they tell every woman not to consider it for at least the first year since, as mentioned above, the first year is when rejection issues are most closely monitored.
What's bugging me most is I CANNOT stop sleeping. In that way things do feel a little like when I was on dialysis. Just going out to get a few bags of food for the snow in, or an hour or so of cleaning the house, and I am zonked. I was really worried about since it felt like a giant flashing warning sign in my head, but I had a blood test again last week and the Docs haven't called me back which invariably means that at the least it isn't rejection. They would have thrown me back in hospital quicker than you can say organ fail. I have been on the weirdest sleep cycle, couple of weeks ago I couldn't stop the habit of sleeping for 5 hours, then another 5 hours later in the day, then another maybe four hours after that. I figure I might have been getting 11 hours sleep over the course of a 24 h day but it started to boggle. I gave up caffeine and tried forcing myself to stay awake until sensible time but it would invariably go wrong. Bit of an improvement at the moment; fell asleep at 10 last night and got up 5.30am, so that was cool.
I think it's time to move onto New Year Resolutions.