Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Multiple Living Organ Donation - Kidneys In 3-D!!

Earlier in the year, I was able to have all my ultrasounds, MRI's and x-ray imaging scans put onto a DVD by the folks at Toronto General Hospital. (By folks, I mean 'Alba' from the imaging department!) The DVD isn't really playable, it's a data DVD, which contains a 'viewing' program on the DVD that allows the images and scans to be viewed. I'll be posting some of the scans and images over the next few days. Thank you science!!

The following video shows my kidneys in 3-D!!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Multiple Living Organ Donation - 1 Week Post Surgery

Yesterday, November 27 th, marked the one week anniversary of my kidney donation. Once I got up this morning, I decided not take any pain medication right away. First off, I felt I didn't need any, secondly, I decided I should venture out to have the staples removed. Now, the discharge nurse at Toronto General told me they could come out in 7 to 10 days and that this could be done at my doctors office, a walk in clinic or I could do it myself. They even gave me a little tool to do the job. Now, I would have taken them out myself, but I couldn't reach or see the staples so good on my own. Needless to say, I opted for the hospital here in town to take them out. Since I was medication free, I drove the 3 blocks to the emergency department and had the nurse take them out for me!! Not that bad a procedure really, but there was some pinching, some tugging and a general feeling of 'Holy shit!!~ That hurt!' 13 staples, took less than 20 minutes from registering at the front desk, to a quick once over by the doctor on call to the actual removal of the staples. As I write this, the surgery site is itchy...very itchy!

So, eight days post donation, my incision looks good! It's clean, no real redness or swelling and now that the staples are gone, that pulling sensation is gone. How do I feel?? My pain level is maybe a 5, my stomach is still numb, I still have bruising around my left wrist where the IV was and there is bruising above and below my scar. Yup, it hurts! Not so much that I'm prevented from doing anything, but it does hurt! Getting up from a reclined or sitting position is hard, it's hard to get into, and out of bed. ~sigh~ Every day is a little better. One thing for sure, it's good to be home!!!

( Got an email from Sherry, Administrative Assistant at the Living Donor Kidney Program, yesterday as well. It tells of a package being sent to me with all my post operative appointment requisitions. Vague? Yaa, I know)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

You did what????

On Friday, November 19th 2010 at around 6:00am, I checked into Toronto General Hospital to donate a kidney, my left to be exact! Over the next few days, I'll be collecting my thoughts and organizing my memories and experiences so I may share them with all who visit these pages.

Obviously, I survived the procedure. My recipient, whom I don't know, nor have I ever met, is also doing fine. It's been a wild journey, lots of ups, lots of downs. As a multiple living organ donor, the medical tests I've endured have been many. Do I have regrets? Nope. I set out to donate a kidney and part of my liver...and I have! How am I doing right now? I'm sore....very sore, and I'm tired. Keep checking back as updates will be frequent.

Also, I have enabled the ''comments'' option. (comments will be moderated) Feel free to leave a comment if you like, or you may email me via the link on my 'About Me' page. I have many changes planned for this blog so check back for updates.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

1 Year MRI & Blood Tests

As usual, the frequent updates I promised to post haven't been so frequent! In all honesty, I'm just not good at talking about myself nor do I have any real earth-shattering donor related news to share. That said, I do have events in the works that I will post here as details become more concrete.

My one year anniversary has come and gone and I am doing great! I went for some blood tests at my local Life-Lab, and had the MRI on September 19th at Toronto General. The MRI was scheduled for Sunday at 4:00 pm. Ok, so I couldn't eat anything or drink anything 5 hours before the MRI, needless to say I was thirsty as all hell and hungry by the time I got there. The worst was driving into the afternoon sun to get to TGH. All these things combined, festered a migraine...which I had no medicine for. More on that later though.

The odd thing about my MRI appointment is that the imaging department at TGH is closed on Sundays, so I had to proceed to a waiting room down the hall and sign a sheet there. It wasn't busy, there were only 3 people waiting in the room and only 1 of them had the 'I'm getting an MRI gown' on. When the tech came to fetch this person, she handed me some gowns and told me to go change. Now, if you've read any of my other posts, you know I'm a huge fan of the gowns. Best thing ever? There was one gown, and some wicked cool draw-string pants! I didn't even know they had matching pants to the gowns! Needless to say, I was in heaven! I may, or may not have stolen those pants by the way...I just wore them.

When the tech came for me, I put all my other clothes in a locker and headed for the scan. It was a two part scan, the first series of scans they would do would require me to hold my breath and not move while the machine took the pictures. The second part of the scan was a normal scan.. Once I was all strapped into the machine and the headphone were on me is when my migraine started throbbing. I was trapped though..I couldn't move and there was no way I was going to bail on the test now! Grin and bear it I thought...the test took forever and that sound shook me to the core. When the test was over, I changed back into street clothes and may have forgotten to leave the hospital pants there and headed saving grace was I did have one Relpax in the car, but by the time I took it, I was already doomed. I actually ended up taking the Monday off work because of the migraine.

The sole purpose of the MRI was to obtain a baseline for the 1 year mark. The blood tests were pretty much the same ones I've had at every testing interval post surgery. Here's the breakdown!

CBC - The complete blood count test determines general health status and screens for, and monitors, a variety of disorders like anemia.

Glucose - Measures glucose in the blood to determine healthy ranges.

Creatine - This test measures kidney function so they look for abnormal creatine levels.

Sodium & Potassium - Blood sodium/potassium testing is used to detect electrolyte imbalances and in my case, to check for any disease or condition involving the liver or kidneys that may be caused by deficiency or excess of potassium/sodium.

Chloride - Never ordered by itself, this test is part of the above potassium/sodium test.

AST & ALT- Is a simple blood test to determine the presence of certain enzymes in the blood. If the liver is damaged or injured for any reason, AST and/or ALT enzymes will spill into the blood stream. AST is short for 'aspartate aminotransferase' and ALT is short for 'alainine aminotransferase'...both are enzymes within the liver.

ALP & Bilirubin - These are liver function tests that show how well a persons liver is working. These tests will detect high levels or low levels of liver enzymes that could prove the presence of disease.

Urea - Measures the amount of urea nitrogen, a waste product of protein metabolism, in the blood. Once again, for the detection of liver failure.

PT, PTT & INR - These are a group of tests to measure how quickly your blood clots. PT measures the ability to clot, PTT determins if there is a blood clotting disorder and INR is a kind of comparison test to make sure results from one lab is the same as another.

So there you have it! All these tests have come back with excellent results, I'm healed up and doing fantastic! Long term effects so far? I have the scar and some numbness around the scar but as far as function goes...I'm doing awesome! From here on in I only have to have tests done once a year. This isn't the end of my journey though...just the end of THIS journey. Check back as the second part of my journey continues.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reasons To Donate

I had originally planned to post some more updates on me and explain some of the blood tests I've had done over the past few months. But instead, I'm posting this video. I follow quite a few 'health related' blogs. Victoria is one such blogger who has CF. Today she posted this video and it made me weep, so I'm sharing it here on my blog. Sign your donor card!

Meet Victoria

Monday, September 13, 2010

Update Time

Well hello there and welcome back! Yes, it certainly has been a while hasn't it!? Nope, I haven't forgotten about this blog and the promises of 'frequent updates' I made months ago....actually, I have no excuses. I have lots to update about so sit back, grab a coffee, or any other refreshing beverage, and enjoy! I also promise consistent updates on this blog from this day forward. You'll actually want to follow along as there are interesting events in the works that you, the viewing public, will want to read about! Yup, every day this week there will be an update! No...really!!

So today marks the one year anniversary of my donation. Today, I feel good! My scar has healed up nicely, I'm back to doing everything I did before the operation and both my 6 and 9 month clinic visits and blood work results were perfect! I know! I'm the picture of health! To be honest, I still have numbness around the incision site and some tingling sensations that drive me nuts, but other than that, all is good!

A few weeks ago, I received a letter from Bryan Whitehead (Administrative Assistant for the living Donor liver program & all around nice fella!) with my next appointment schedule! The letter reads as follows...

Dear Awesome Chanman,
(OK, I made that up, he doesn't call me Chanman)

As part of your post surgical follow-up, we have scheduled appointments for you as you recover from your operation. As discussed in your pre-operative teaching, our program will review your status at the following time intervals: 2 weeks, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year and then annually for a 10 year period.

Yearly Post Follow Up Blood Work and Medical Imaging

You are due for your annual blood work in September. It is requested that you take this requisition to your local lab and have the results faxed directly to us at 416-340-3097.

An MRI will be scheduled for you to obtain a baseline at your one year mark. The MRI department will contact you directly with an appointment date and time.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office should you have any questions or concerns. Oh, and thanks for being so awesome!
(OK, I made that last line up too)

With kind regards,
Bryan Whitehead
Administrative Assistant
Living Donor Liver Program
416-340-4800 Ext 6581

Like I said earlier, the MRI is already booked. I just have to remember not to eat or drink anything 4 hours prior to the exam and I can't wear any perfume...not a problem. That said, I may have trouble NOT eating as I have become a fat fucker the past few months. (proof of this will be posted later)
My blood tests consist of CBC, Glucose, Creatine, Sodium, Potassium, Chloride, AST, ALT, ALP, Bilirubin, Urea, PT, PTT, INR. What are all these tests and what do they stand for? Well friends, you'll just have to come back tomorrow 'cause that's part of the next update!

Monday, March 29, 2010


On Saturday March 27th, 2010 at around 9:30 in the morning, Eva Markvoort of passed away.
Please, please sign your organ donor card.

The documentary ""65_RedRoses"" can be seen April 2nd on CBC The Passionate Eye at 7:00 am and at 8:00 pm ET.
You can also watch the documentary here as well.

Saturday, February 27, 2010


Liver recipient competes in Vancouver Olympics

By Allan Dowd (Reuters)

American snowboarder Chris Klug is more than just happy to be in the Olympics, he is happy to be healthy and alive and is using the Vancouver Games to get out the message on organ donors and recipients.

The 37-year-old Aspen, Colorado resident, who was suffering a rare degenerative condition, received a liver transplant in 2000 and now hopes that adding to his Olympic medal collection will prove a point.

"It is important that other people going through the process that I did almost 10 years ago see what is possible after a transplant," Klug told reporters on Tuesday as he waits to compete in the men's parallel giant slalom on Feb. 27.

"I'm healthier and stronger than I was before my transplant, and people ought to know that."

Klug, who won bronze in the 2002 Salt Lake City Games and became the first athlete to win an Olympic medal after having a major organ transplant, is working with health officials in Vancouver to publicize the need for organ donors.

He competed in the 1998 Nagano Games, when snowboarding made its Olympic debut, and acknowledges Vancouver will probably be his last Olympics.

Klug's previous Olympic experiences, both good and bad, have taught him some valuable lessons for how to enjoy his time in Vancouver. He looked relaxed as he chatted to reporters.

"One of my mantras and goals this time is just enjoy the ride. Take it all in."


Monday, February 15, 2010

5 Month Update

Am I the worst blogger ever? Well yes, I think I just might be! My updates have become few and far between. Normally, I would blame this on the fact that nothing exciting has happened to warrant an update..but this time I can blame it on plain ol' laziness!

So everything seems to be progressing as well as it can be. My sleep pattern has returned to normal, my stomach isn't as growl-y as it was and my scar is fading to a lighter shade of pink and it doesn't look so angry! All that being said, I still have a constant 'stitch' in my side that feels not unlike a runners cramp. Some mornings I have tightness around the incision site near the lower ribs and the core strength still isn't what it used to be, but I've been told all these minor symptoms will go away in due will the numbness that still plagues me. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining at all here, just stating what is going on is all. What I can complain about however is this stupid cold I picked up last week. Bleh!

Now, I have no idea how my recipient is doing although at my last clinic, they said he was doing very well, so I can only hope he continues to do well. I'll be sure to ask about him the next time I'm at Toronto General.

That's about all I can report about for now. I hate to sound like a broken record here but if you haven't yet done so, sign your donor card and tell your family and friends of your decision to do so.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Hey...still looking for a fail-proof New Years resolution? Why not make this the year you sign up to be an organ donor! It's actually one of the simplest, easiest things you can do and it doesn't cost ya a cent!

I know it sounds morbid, but your generosity can save up to eight lives with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants! One tissue donor can help up to 100 other people by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves.

I don't expect anyone to become a living organ donor, but I beg you to register your consent to donate after death. There are way too many cool & interesting people dying waiting for organs.

Ontario residents can register here!

They have a FAQ page here!

For other Provinces, click here!

((Remember, once you have made the decision to donate, be sure to inform your family and friends of your decision to donate.))

Thank You!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 - Year of The Spam

So.... we're almost 10 days into the new year and I'm finally posting a new years message. Sheesh! Happy New Year!

Actually, the real reason for this post is explain something. You may have noticed that the 'comments' feature of this blog have been disabled. Why you ask? One word...spam! Yup, I think every blogger experiences it at some point, rude or stupid comments and re-directs left by an idiot. In any case, readers of this blog can no longer post comments, sorry! See, my blogs are rife with enough crude language as it is!! What you can do though, is send me emails, you'll find that address on my profile page.