Friday, December 25, 2009

My Lame Christmas Update

Merry Christmas!!

My apologies again for the lack of new content here, there just isn't any exciting stuff to post about ya know. I'm back at work trying to go at it full bore but still find my core strength is limited. I feel great otherwise! I still have some minor complaints, but nothing that really affects my daily routine. That being said, I tried to lift some skids at work the other day and damn near pissed my pants in the process! Even now I have this weird sensation in my gut...nothing bad, just a goes from being tight to this strange, sporadic 'fluttery' feeling. Once it settles down, it feels like I've been punched in the stomach and I have to pee. It's worse in the mornings and after I get up from sitting for a while. I guess like everything else, it'll just take time before I'm back to the old me again.

It's funny just how much we take advantage of our 'healthy' bodies. When everything feels fine, we are invincible!! Get a cold or some other malady, and we become helpless creatures, dependent on medications and miracle cures, pull or strain a muscle and our entire body feels the effect. Of course, it always happens at the worst time possible too. "Ahh man! I can't get a cold today, I have stuff to do!" I'm the absolute worst offender too. If I get hurt, I baby myself for way too long. I really need to change this behaviour, I'm not as invincible as I once was, I need to slow down and do what I can & not what I think I can. I hope some of this makes sense.

So, this particular blog of mine will change direction and focus in the coming weeks. I'll still post updates on me and my experiences, but I'll also be posting more transplantation news and individual transplant stories. I've also got a new quest on the horizon that I'll be posting about....exciting stuff too.

At some point today, give a silent thanks to the many nurses and doctors that will be staffing our hospitals while we enjoy the holidays. The last thing is this, sign your donor card, it's free, it's fast and you could save a life....and it's the best Christmas gift you will ever give!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

3 Month Follow-Up

Yikes!! I'm sorry once again for the lack of updates!! There just hasn't really been anything exciting or worth updating on....till now!

On Thursday December 3rd, I had my last scheduled follow-up appointment at Toronto General Hospital. Nothing exciting, just another blood test and a check-up with Dr. Adcock. (For the 6 month and the 9 month follow-up, the hospital will mail me requisition forms for blood work which can be taken to a lab of my choosing.) Once I hit the 1 year mark, I think it's a blood test and a follow-up at Toronto General Hospital. I'm not a 100% sure of that, so don't quote me on that. From then on, it's a blood test once a year, for the next ten years. I will say one thing for sure, I'm gonna miss parading around that hospital. There are some good people there.

As always, my day started out at the blood lab, I registered at about 10:45 and was called in right away. They took 3 vials of blood...very uneventful. I didn't recognize any of the lab techs either. Actually, the whole lab was like a ghost town! Even the waiting room was void of people, kind of un-nerving walking into a major hospital and seeing only 2 people waiting for blood tests! I'm not complaining, I'm just saying is all.

Needless to say, I had a few hours to kill before my 1:00 pm appointment with Dr. Adcock, so I wandered the block surrounding the hospital a few times. Sometimes it's kind of cool to sit and watch people come and go, especially around the hospitals because you know every single person that walks in or out those doors has a story to tell.

When it got close to 1:00, I headed up to the 12th floor for my clinic appointment. I even brought a list of concerns and questions to ask so I wouldn't forget anything! It wasn't long of a wait before Dr. Adcock, (Lesley) called me in. She led me down the corridor right to the scales!! Now, I used to be a fairly thin fit guy...but now I'm a doughy fat pork-ball! Even the good doctor commented on my new found 'girth'. She told me get on the scale, but not before I emptied my pockets of all keys, chap-stick, wallet, loose change AND I took off my shoes! Didn't help much though as I had gained almost 15 lbs!! I can't blame it on fluid retention either, it's all that inactivity and the constant snacking!

After the weigh in, we made our way to the examination room. We chatted a bit about the weather, how Christmas was coming and all that small talk. Once settled in the room, she asked me how things were going and before I could answer, she said..
"You know, your recipient is doing soooo good. You really did a wonderful thing". Now I know they aren't gonna say "wow, your recipient is doing really shitty, we should have checked your crappy liver more carefully", but knowing he is doing well sure makes all the pain and sleepless nights easier to take.

Lesley checked the computer to see if the results from the blood tests were back yet, she was rhyming off numbers and letters left and right and I had no idea what she was talking about. End result? All my levels are right where they should be, most are what they were before the surgery which is good to know. The incision itself is healing really good. I told her about the seepage I had, but after inspecting where it was, she had no concerns. She pressed around my belly saying the ridge of my liver was where it was supposed to be at this stage so all is really good! My list of questions and concerns was actually fairly minor...but they still needed addressing.

So, my belly is still numb, sometimes it's itchy as hell and most times it feels really hot. Sometimes it feels really tight when I first get up or after I am bent down and I find I have no core strength at all. Apparently, this is all normal. The numbness will go away in time, the itchiness and tingly sensation are the nerves reconnecting. All those stomach muscles were sliced across so they could get to the liver. The core strength and feeling will come back. My other concern was the constant growling and 'squishy' sounds my belly makes. Seriously, if I am in the living room, you can hear it in the kitchen! It's even worse during the night and it actually wakes me up. As an added bonus, I still have the heartburn! I have medication for the stomach and have been on it for years now, so I'm no stranger to heartburn. The growly squishy noises is something I'll have to keep an eye on.

The other good thing Leslie told me was that I'm pretty much out of the danger zone. Things might be uncomfortable for me to do, but doing them won't harm my surgery site or my liver. I just need to remember to take things slower than usual and not to over-do it.

When I left, I gave Lesley some hugs and headed to Cailins office just down the hall. As luck would have it, she was just inside the door talking with a would-be-donor...once she was done, she waved me down to her office. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed a little tense in the transplant office, so I didn't want to stay long. Cailin gave me a bunch of paperwork which I'll post about at a later date and we chatted for a bit about holiday plans and general pleasantries. The one thing I really wanted before I left was a picture of me, Calin and Bryan....which I got!!

Cailin is such a sweetheart, and Bryan is really neat. I haven't had much time with Bryan, but he's a really cool guy and one of those people who just seems very fun, yet sincere. Besides, how many transplant workers would agree to this?

This last photo shows what I have become..
''Flubbery, rubbery blubbery outta shape dude
Look at me, I'm a pear!''

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Did You Know....

The University Health Networks 'Multi-Organ Transplant Program' performs approximately 400 transplants annually, provides follow-up care to almost 5000 transplant recipients, and serves as a model for many other transplant centres around the world.

As the first and largest transplant program in Canada, the Multi-Organ Transplant Program at UHN provides a broad spectrum of services currently encompassing heart, lung, liver, kidney, pancreas and small bowel transplantation. Our Living Liver and Kidney Donor Programs are very successful in providing organs for patients and the living liver program has become the largest program in North America.

Currently, UHN has two living donor programs: Kidney and Liver. Living kidney donation started in the 1960s. Living liver donation started in the 1990s but was initially restricted to adults donating to a sick child. In 2000 our philosophy changed and living liver donation was offered to adults. UHN has now performed over 300 living liver donation surgeries making the program the largest in North America.