It has been just over 8 months since Phillip donated his kidney to me. October 7th will always be a momentous day to us. It is special in ways I still cannot find words to describe. Some of life is the same. Some has changed. Here’s what’s different:
- I have energy. Blessed, wonderful energy. I started working out again at the 6 month mark. I’ve hiked, danced, strength trained, stretched and biked. I have many moments of overwhelming gratitude while I’m moving my body. They come up out of nowhere and add an element of joy to what used to feel like a chore.
- I get teary eyed at random moments when thinking about Phillip, his gift and how grateful I am to be his wife. I pray this touch of sweetness stays with me for years, and years and years.
- I take medications. Lots of medications at 9AM and 9PM. Fortunately, I have not had any big issues with side effects. Knock-on-wood. My meds quickly made it into the routine of life. I use an alarm on my phone to remember to take them as they are life saving and essential to keeping the kidney welcome in its new home.
- I drink at least 8 glasses of water each day. I had always intended to do this, but knowing that water keeps the new kidney happy gives me a big incentive to make sure I drink. I have a 20 oz. bottle that I carry everywhere and refill throughout the day. Once I committed to drinking what I’m supposed to, I realized that water really is the elixir of life. I haven’t missed my 8 glass goal once. Hallelujah!
- I’m a certified germ-a-phobe. I don’t touch grocery cart handles, gasoline nozzles, door handles, you get the drift. Also, don’t take offense if I sanitize my hands after I shake yours. I will do it secretly, but I don’t want what you’ve got. I carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer at all times. Another knock-on-wood, I’ve stayed exceptionally healthy…even through a rough flu season. This was another quick transition. In the hospital we were trained on how to stay healthy while immune suppressed, and now I hardly give these practices a second thought.
- I can hear a cough or sneeze within a 5 mile radius. This was particularly unpleasant while on an airplane. It is amazing the number of people who don’t cover their mouths or wash their hands after they hack all over the place. It really grosses me out to hear sick people at the grocery store. Stay home. Please.
- Abbey sleeps on the floor…and she loves it. It was recommended that we don’t have dogs sleep in our bed. Abbey had slept in our bed for more than 11 years. We thought it was going to be a rough transition. She didn’t quite understand why we wouldn’t let her up for the first two nights, but now, she relishes the fact that she has her very own micro plush bed with two soft blankets. When we retire to the bedroom for the night she races up the stairs and curls up quickly in her bed.
Even with these changes, life is remarkably normal. Everything’s back on track just as we hoped it would be. Things always seem more intimidating and scarier than they typically are. This was certainly true of the transplant. It has been an easy bump in the road to heal from and lifestyle to transition to. It is also a bump in the road that has made me grateful, grateful, grateful to be here, in a working body, living life with the people and animals I love.