This is probably going to come across in an ungrateful way but . . . I’m not 100% sure that I will have a better life with my upcoming kidney transplant.
I am confusing people.
Right now, because of my aggressive dialysis schedule and my fitness regiment, I am feeling really well. Yes, my dialysis schedule (20 hours a week) is a huge compromise in my quality of life, TIME-WISE, but I do feel really well.
My problem isn’t the new kidney itself.
My problem is the side-effects of the anti-rejection medications I will be taking in order for my body to accept this foreign organ.
The last time I had a kidney transplant my biggest problem with the anti-rejection medications was constant upset stomach. (I had a kidney before for 13 years).
A “losing weight, dehydrated” level of upset stomach. Painful cramps. Not good.
In the back of my mind I am afraid that it will be a trade off of quality of life factors.
I will have 30 hours a week of my life back – in not having to do dialysis but . . . will a majority of my time be compromised with feeling ill with side-effects?
I know that sounds really ungrateful of me but it’s a real consideration.
Will I feel well enough to continue with my fitness regime after my transplant? Well enough to accomplish some big fitness goals, as I hope to, post-transplant?
Will I have to rely on painkillers? Will I have to cater my work schedule around my symptoms as I did with my last kidney? Will I be able to maintain my current weight?
Beeeeeeeeelive me, I am willing to take the risk to find out.
I am certainly taking a kidney as soon as I get my call with the offer of one. (Duh!!)
A few things to consider, none-the-less:
1. I need to contact my transplant doctor and speak to him about the medications he expects to put me on. I need to be honest with him about the serious physical symptoms I had last time and work with him to find a solution that will optimize the benefit of this transplant – keeping in mind that anti-rejection meds are a necessary part of life with a transplant – but keep me feeling as well as possible.
2. I need to contribute to fundraising for research that improves the organ transplant process. There is research happening with 3D printed organs. There are experimental protocols where transplant recipients are desensitized to the organ they will receive to lower (or eliminate) the need for anti-rejection medications. There is on-going research on improving medications. There are surgically implanted, man-made kidneys being designed. Science is coming up with all kinds of ideas and solutions.
Again I see incentive to advocate and communicate for myself in this chronic illness journey.
Again I see incentive to build my platform and help the cause of people living with kidney disease and people with transplants.