6 months later…post-op poetry


kidney stich.jpgI gave my kidney 6 months ago
To a woman named Cheryl, my other mother-in-law
We’ve walked a physical and spiritual road
Strengthening our faith and bonding as we go.

She’s doing great and says “I’m good as new”
Doc says I’ll be fully healed by July, or maybe even June

The tests have shown improvements thus far
We both are so grateful for the proof of love in our scars.

There’s no greater blessing than being called to love
God places a special calling in each one of our hearts
Just take time in silence and listen for that nudge from above
You don’t even have to give a kidney… or any body part.

We all have a chance to build our own narrative
A chapter of mine took place 6 months ago
A new motto for my life story: “Live to Give.”

I recently had my 6 month check up at the Mercy Health Kidney Transplant Center. The appointment was short and sweet. Fill out a survey, blood pressure check (top notch), blood sample, urine sample. Results couldn’t have been more positive.

Nurse: “Your creatinine was 0.8 mg/dL before donation (with two healthy kidneys), and it was 1.10 mg/dL right after donation. It is 1.0 mg/dL now. That is about a 23% decrease in function. We usually expect a 25-35% decrease in kidney function after donation. We will continue to monitor your levels at your 1 year and 2 year follow up. As a reference, the normal creatinine level for a healthy person with 2 kidneys is 0.5-1.5 mg/dL”

Things I didn’t anticipate in the last 6 months:

  • Self-care: In October, I was really stressed at work and had a major event that I was helping to plan. I had signs of a bladder infection (which I had never had before in my life) but I ignored them, drank more water and hoped it would go away. Unfortunately, I wasn’t taking good care of myself with sleep, exercise and other self-care practices. Two days after the major event concluded I woke up with severe back pain on my right side (where the one kidney was). The bladder infection got so bad that I started having kidney pain, fever, chills, migraines and bladder pain. I immediately went to the doctor, had a urine test and was prescribed antibiotics. Lesson learned: Pay attention to warning signs and take care of yourself before it’s too late!
  • I still have bruises: I always knew I bruised easily, but I didn’t realize the heparin shots from the hospital would keep the bruises on my legs! I still have minor traces of bruises on both sides. (I’ll spare you the photos) Again, if I would have been more knowledgeable to be able to decline so many of these shots, I would have.
  • Incision pain: I am still a bit uncomfortable with wearing jeans on a long work day or sitting a lot. I will occasionally have shooting pains at the incision site. Typically holding pressure on the site helps. And on the drive home from work, you’d better believe that those pants are coming unbuttoned like I just ate the biggest steak of my life. Ha!
  • Tight abdomen: I started yoga class again in December. I have been practicing yoga for about 8 years. It’s amazing how after taking a hiatus how you lose balance, elasticity and strength. I feel like a beginner all over again. I do wish I would have started stretching my abdomen much sooner. There was a bit of fear there, and now upward dog hurts more than I would like to admit. I am gently getting back to core flexibility and strength, but in hindsight would have started on these things much sooner.
  • Weight gain: Since before surgery I have gained about 10 pounds. I don’t think it’s because I lost a kidney. It’s definitely because I kept eating like I did when I was exercising 4-5 days a week and it took me several months to decrease my calorie intake and get back into an active lifestyle. I’m slowly starting to shed the weight again, but it does get depressing not being able to fit into clothes. I try to stay positive by celebrating the small successes!

Still no regrets! Warning: Scar photos below. 🙂

As always, I’m open to any questions or sharing stories. Shoot me a message any time!




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