Friday, June 17, 2011

On the other side...

As most of you may know I received a kidney a week ago from an unknown donor. I couldn't be happier and I feel so blessed to have this incredible gift of life. I thought I would share the timeline of how things went down for your reading pleasure.

June 10, 2011
6:45 am- I received my first call from the Transplant office offering the kidney. I was asked if I had been sick or on antibiotics. I wasn't told anything about the donor or if I was 1st, 2nd or 3rd in line. I had received a call on April 30th that didn't work out so I didn't get too excited at this point.

7:00 am-Told my mom and she was excited. Dad was out of town in San Francisco working and we were also tending Lydia.

7:15 am-Tried to go back to sleep. Failed.

7:30 am - 2:30pm Watched Lydia and tried not to think about it. Ran a few errands and casually mentioned to my brother that I could go to the Princess Diana exhibit at Union Station tomorrow only if I didn't get a kidney. I think he almost fell out of his chair.

2:30pm- Went to a funeral for a friend from our ward who died of kidney cancer after beating the odds and living nearly five years after his initial diagnosis.

3:00pm- Received 2nd call from Transplant offering the kidney and telling me more about the donor. This donor was a "high risk" donor because she had high blood pressure and died of a stroke. But they were still waiting for the results of the biopsy and to see how the kidney was working on a pump.

3:15pm- Went back to the funeral and tried not to think about it.

4:15pm- Funeral over and I received a beautiful blessing from two members of my ward who were at the funeral. I was blessed that things would go well and that I would be an example to those around me. I felt much, much better after the blessing and felt that I would be able to go through with the surgery.

5:15pm-Got home and got ready to go to the hospital. I threw a few pairs of pajamas etc into a bag with my Nook and mom and I left for the hospital.

6:00pm- Arrived at the Emergency Room of St. Luke's on the Plaza in Kansas City. We still didn't know if the surgery would go through for sure but we were much more hopeful at this point. I was checked in and did all of the necessary pre-tests such as an EKG and chest X-ray. Dr. Randall arrived to say the surgery was a go and the kidney looked great. An IV was started and a few people arrived to wait until I went down to surgery. Margaret was still at girls camp and I told her she didn't need to come down. Ken, Xiao Hua, Vanessa and Mom were on hand to make me laugh and not feel so nervous.

9:30pm- Transport arrived to take me down to the OR so we all went down and my IV wasn't working. They stuck me 3 more times before success was achieved. I said good-bye to my family and was wheeled into the OR. I got onto the table and was asleep probably 3 minutes after getting in there.

11:00pm- First cut on skin and I thankfully don't remember this part.

June 11, 2011

2:00am- Surgery is finished and I am in recovery which I don't remember. Shortly after that I was wheeled to the ICU only because the kidney floor didn't have the one to one staffing that is required for transplant patients for 24 hours after surgery.

I awoke with a horrible dry mouth and in pain but glad that the surgery was over. Ken, Xiao Hua, Vanessa and Mom were there to pat me on the head and talk to me. Apparently I was pretty coherent and talked to them telling them I had to "power through" the pain which I did.

The next few days were awesome as my creatnine continued to drop and drop. The first morning was hard and I cried but we can chalk that up to high doses of prednisone as well. It makes me weepy so just a warning.

When I entered the hospital my creatnine was 11.2. Creatnine is a waste product in the blood that is filtered out by the kidneys so by measuring it you can tell how good kidney function is. Normal people have a creatnine of about .5 to 1.0. The morning of the 11th my creatnine had dropped to 8.5, the next day 6.5, the next day 2.4, then 1.8 and when I left the hospital it was at 1.4. I haven't been at a 1.4 for many years even with my last transplant.

It is still amazing to me how beautiful this gift of life is. My coloring is so much better than it was and I don't look grey anymore. I have a little color to my cheeks. I feel good even though I am in pain I don't feel bad. Its crazy that when you feel so bad for so long you forget how good you can feel. I still can't believe that 2 weeks ago I was on a cruise and not thinking this would happen for another month.

I wrote a letter to the donor family and it will be delivered to them. I hope someday to be able to meet them or at least write letters or e-mail.

There are so many more things I could write but suffice it to say that I am just feeling blessed and feeling the Lord's guiding influence in my life. He is the perfect planner and knew this kidney would work out for me.

Thank you to everyone who has sent love and prayers via any means. You have no idea how much it means to me to have that support. Props to my awesome family and Vanessa who stayed at the hospital and helped me out so much. MAJOR props to my mom who stayed awake for the first 28 hours and has always been my rock. Dad for calling everyday and being the awesome support he is from far away.

Here's to the gift of life!


Eliza said...

This post made me cry but I'm glad they were happy tears. I hope your recovery continues to go well. We all (the Challis Palace ...and pretty much ANYONE who has ever had the privilege of knowing you) just love you so much.

To the gift of life!!

Kathy said...

Love this post. You do look fabulous! I cannot express how very happy I am for you and your family. I love you all so much. You deserve every happiness.

GA MTNS said...

Tears of joy streaming down my cheeks. So very happy for this miracle!!! All my love~ Deb

mary elizabeth said...

to the gift of life!! i am so glad things have turned out so well for you because you deserve nothing but the best. love you kainty!

Kim Moore said...

Yea for a new "bean"!!!

Hope things continue to go well!

thepainterfamily said...

xoxoxo Katherine!

can't wait to see you!

~ B. said...

This post totally made me cry too! I'm so excited you got a new kidney!!! I was totally surprised to see your mom update your FB account with the news!!! Hope you continue to feel better and better!


Btw, I still need to write my transplant family a thank you for my cornea. Do you think 4 1/2 years is too late??? Nah! I"m gonna do it anyway! You totally inspired me to do it! :D

Bailey Family said...

Love you!

Yeah for Dot the Kidney. I am glad that she is working so well and that you are feeling better. Lydia is looking forward to the day when you can pick her up again.

You are my hero.