My surgery was 2 weeks ago today, although it feels like it has been a year! As you know, I am the proud recipient of a new kidney and pancreas. I was told that the donor was a 21 year old male and my surgeon commented that it was the best looking pancreas he had seen ‘in years’. I’ve posted ultrasound pictures of my new kidney (Kenny) and pancreas (Priscilla).
I was released from the hospital last Saturday and spent this past week ‘testing and resting’. For the first few months, I need to self monitor blood pressure, blood sugar, weight and temperature in order to head off any signs of infection or rejection. So far, all numbers have been normal (knock on wood!).
I need to give blood samples at the lab (in Walnut Creek) twice a week and visit the transplant clinic at UCSF in San Francisco once a week. In addition, I’m on about 20 different medications (30+ pills) per day. This pill regimen is only for the first few months to combat infection and rejection - it will eventually taper down to 2-3 pills daily.
Friday, June 29, 2012 will forever be remembered as the most significant day in my life - because it changed my life. It marked a day that ended 28 long years with Type-1 diabetes and related complications - and the day that begins my second chance at a healthy life. To say that I am grateful would be a gross understatement.
My faith has taught me that there is a power much greater than human capability and that He has a plan for everyone. It is with that faith that I have always carried any burden, knowing that I do so according to a plan. I carried this belief right into the operating room the Friday before last, without the slightest bit of nervousness - I actually had a sense of calm. Needless to say, my gratitude starts here.
There are so many people who I would like to acknowledge.
My surgeon, Dr Friese and the amazing nursing staff at UCSF. We are fortunate to live so close to such a world class facility.
My family and friends. This CaringBridge site allowed updates and access, but most cherished by me was the amazing outpouring of support and encouragement from your notes and well wishes. Wendy would read these to me practically real-time. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me. Your love and support helped speed the recovery and mask any post-surgery pain. THANK YOU so much for your kind words.
And last but certainly not least is my amazingly supportive wife, Wendy. She literally slept next to my hospital bed and spent every waking hour with me. Believe me, there is NO rest in this hospital environment. 24 hours a day, there is not 20 minutes that goes by without someone coming in your room (poking, prodding, testing, cleaning, etc) Needless to say, Wendy got very little sleep. She was also my second set of eyes and ears on every update, opinion, lesson & test. As you know, she also maintained some great updates on CaringBridge. I am eternally grateful for her amazing support which has obviously continued as we transitioned back home. She maintains the role as nursing support, driver, cook & cleaner. She has been incredibly strong throughout this ordeal and I am extremely grateful for her unwavering love and support.
Within the next couple weeks, I hope to assimilate back to a new sense of normalcy. I also hope to keep up with every one of you. Again, thank you for your love and support. Perhaps we can meet over something sweet someday!
To your health!
Written Jul 13, 2012 9:09am by Steve Reiser