Saturday, November 19, 2011

Multiple Living Organ Donation - Kidney Anniversary

Hello blog! Nice to see you again!

Today marks the one year anniversary of my kidney donation. Even though it does feel like a year has passed, I don't really feel all that different on the inside and am happy to report my remaining kidney is doing the job of two, pumpin' out the pee!

For me, this day is just another as usual. I hope whoever has my kidney is doing wonderful! I never heard anything about my recipient following my discharge from Toronto general, so I don't know if my kidney is still working, or if it was rejected. Maybe it's better I don't know. If it is still working, my only other hope is that at some point today, my recipient runs a finger along the scar marking his or her belly, and gives a silent thank-you. Actually, I like to believe he or she does that every day.

In other news, I'm still trying to migrate all my notes and pictures from the donation process from my old shitty PC, to my sleek, reliable new iMac and apple products! Once this is done, the plan is to do massive update on this page. That's the plan anyway. That's it for now though, remember to sign a donor card!! Links to do so are on the right.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Multiple Living Organ Donation - Kidney 7 Months

Yipes! Once again, this update is long overdue! May 19th marked my 6 month anniversary for donating my kidney at Toronto General. I feel great! My incision has healed up very nicely, I have no pain or discomfort at all, and I have no adverse effects or feelings since the ordeal began! In fact....I feel great!

Shortly after I was discharged, the hospital sent me an aftercare package that outlined when I needed to have follow-up testing done. This package included forms and requisition papers for a six month follow-up. The tests to be done? A 24 hour urine collection followed by a blood test. The instructions were pretty simple.

1) Obtain a clean plastic jug from your Coordinator or local lab.
2)At the start of the test day, void (pass your urine) and discard it.Write down the exact date and time of that first void. This is the start of the test even though you have discarded the urine.
3) For the next 24 hours, each time you void, put the urine in the jug. Save all your urine for the next 24 hours.
4)The following morning at the same time as your first void, empty your bladder and save that urine in the jug as well. This is the end of the test. Write down the exact time and date of your last void.
5) While collecting the urine, keep the jug away from any source of heat.
6) Return the jug to the lab once your 24 hours is complete. At that time, they will take a blood sample.

Now, I'm no stranger to the 24 hour urine collection procedure, it's just hard to be discrete. I mean, the container they give you for the actual collection isn't exactly a fashion accessory. In looks like a gas can!

Behold...the 24 hour urine collection vessel!

Of course, that wouldn't even be an issue if I had started the collection say...on a Sunday morning, in the comfort and privacy of my own home like any normal, sane person would have done! But no...I decided to do it midweek.....while at work.

Now, even that wouldn't be so bad if I worked in an office, or in a place where I could just leave the container and fill it when I needed to pee, but the fact is I'm on the road all and out of places every few minutes...surrounded by people, but that's what I did. Any time I had to pee, I grabbed my bright, neon-orange piss jug, tucked it into a plastic Wegman's grocery bag, and ventured through the particular store I was in to the bathroom where I would collect my precious urine! Ummm...don't think for a minute that this didn't raise a few eyebrows...although I did tell a co-worker it was my kool-aid jug! This went on all day till the following day when I dropped off the jug and did my blood test.

The purpose of this test is to see how well my remaining kidney filters waste products. The amount of waste product, (creatinine) in the urine is compared to the amount in the blood. The lab will test my pee and my blood and send the results off to Toronto General. If there was a problem, or any unusual readings, they'll get in touch with me.

The entire process is fairly harmless, but as a public service I offer this careful with the piss jug. Even though it does have a lid on it, it doesn't 'seal' very matter how tight you think the lid is on it. While in transit, place the jug on a level, secure surface, not on the front seat of your new Toyota Matrix. Lastly, and I can't stress this enough, do not at any time shake the piss jug for any reason! Just trust me on that. 24 hour pee jug, with 'void'!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Canadian National Blood Donor Week

Canadian Blood Services celebrates National Blood Donor Week June 13 – 19, 2011. National Blood Donor Week provides an opportunity to celebrate and thank the generous donors from coast to coast who support the blood system in Canada and help ensure the health of their fellow citizens. The week also builds awareness of the importance of blood, plasma, platelet and stem cell donations, and encourages more Canadians to give blood—especially during the challenging summer months.

This year’s theme for National Blood Donor Week is “Rally Together to Save Lives”. Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood. That’s why Canadian Blood Services is rallying communities across the country to come together and show that collectively, blood donations can make a positive impact on someone’s life. To meet Canada’s future blood needs, we need to inspire more Canadians to join the movement.

We need communities to rally together because it takes many units of blood to save a patient. One blood donation equals one unit of blood. For instance, it can take:

50 units of blood to help someone in a car accident
2 units to help someone who needs brain surgery
5 units to help someone in cancer treatment
8 units a week to help someone with leukemia
5 units to save someone who needs cardiovascular surgery
2 to 8 units to help someone with internal bleeding
2 units a day to help someone undergoing a bone marrow transplant
4 units a month to help someone with Aplastic Anemia
2 units for a hip replacement

Other compelling numbers include...

43% of first time donors go with someone else to donate
Approximately 1 in 2 Canadians are eligible to give blood. Last year 1 in 60 actually did.
52 per cent of Canadians say they or a family member have needed blood or blood products for surgery or for medical treatment. (Ipsos-Reid)
Every minute of every day, someone in Canada needs blood
A healthy person can donate blood every 56 days
Canadian Blood Services is in your community – there are over 20 000 clinics nationwide
The donation process takes 1 hour – actual collection only takes approx 10-15 minutes

To book an appointment to give blood, call 1-888-2-donate (1-888-236-6283)
Visit online at or visit

If giving blood isn't your thing...why not sign up to be a organ donor! Or do both!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Bree - The Sweetest Soul

The world is losing one of it's sweetest souls, Brianne (Bree) Cordick. Although I never met, or talked to her, I followed her journey through her blog "The Blog Blog." Bree received a lung transplant in August 2009 after suffering from a condition called Bronchiectasis. The transplant worked and Bree continued to be the coolest, kick-ass chick I have never met! Sadly, her other condition, ADA SCID, continued to fight her. In late February, she was admitted to hospital for what she called a 'broken head.' Daily checks to her blog revealed no updates, but through other bloggers I learned her health was failing rapidly as her doctors fought this new mystery virus.

Bree's condition worsened daily until late last week, when she was taken off life support. The world is turning so much slower today. Rest easy Bree, you will be missed, and thank you for letting me know you.

Bree passed away on May 25/2011

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Multiple Organ Donation - Kidney Donation Slide Show

Finally! I have uploaded all my kidney donation photos that I could find into a slide show on the blog. You'll find it just to the right. I hate to keep dangling the promise of updates to the blog, but there are more coming, including an epic post on the entire ordeal. When you ask? Soon! My apologies for the delays.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

National Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Week

This coming week, April 17th to the 23rd, is "National Organ & Tissue Donation Awareness Week" in Ontario. As such, there are many events planned across the province. To find an event near you, click here.

The numbers are shocking - there are nearly 1,500 Ontarians waiting for a life-saving organ transplant. Every three days, one of those on the waiting list dies simply because there aren't enough registered organ and tissue donors.

But with your help, we can change this. During National Organ and Tissue Donation Awareness Week in April, our goal is to register 1,500 Ontarians who wish to become organ and tissue donors - all the way from Timmins in the north to Windsor in the south.

With this year's event, Life for 1500, we want to connect with your community in a personal way, introducing transplant recipients in a more intimate setting, reminiscent of a family room with an array of family photos displayed.

Life for 1500 shows that those on the wait list are more than just numbers - they're also someones family member or friend.

For those of you in Ontario, the consent form can be downloaded here!
For other Canadian provinces, click here
In Great Britain, click here
In the United States, click here

To Remember Me - I Will Live Forever

by Robert Noel Test, American Poet (1926-1994)

The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital; busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.

When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don’t call this my deathbed. Let it be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.

  • Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby’s face or love in the eyes of a woman.

  • Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.

  • Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.

  • Give my kidneys to the one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.

  • Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk. Explore every corner of my brain.

  • Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.

  • Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.

  • If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weakness and all prejudice against my fellow man.

  • Give my sins to the devil.

  • Give my soul to God.

If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Bloggers With CF

I am a bad blogger, but a great procrastinator! Actually, I wanted to post this entry earlier in the week, but had a few uncontrollable setbacks. Mostly a fried modem and a dental appointment from hell. My apologies for the lack of updates here.

My introduction to CF came in the form of a fiery red head named Eva Markvoort. Actually, at the time I think she was brunette, but that could just be my color blindness. In any case, I stumbled across her blog in 2008, read & followed her entries, and from time to time, she would post videos. Never had I witnessed such courage, such finesse and such dignity in the face of something as ugly as CF. Reading about someones illness was bad enough, but the helplessness I felt one night that came from watching the videos was horrible. She posted a video of herself during a coughing fit. I wept, it was frightening to watch and has, to this day, stuck in my mind.

A few years ago, I caught a cold, or at least what I thought was a cold. The suffering lasted a few days but the symptoms weren't like any cold I had ever had in the past. In fact, it was just coughing fits! Major coughing fits! This went on for about a week before I decided to seek medical help. cold turned out to be post nasal drip. If you've ever experienced it, it's brutal! I would have these violent coughing fits that would leave me gasping for air. During the night, I'd cough so much, and so heavy I would almost gag and throw up...desperate for air. I don't pretend to think that my bout with the post nasal drip is anything even remotely close to what someone with CF goes through, but I understand the fear of not being able to breath, and the pain caused by the retching.

Needless to say, many of the blogs I follow and read are of people with CF. Some have had lung transplants, while others are on the waiting list....some are managing OK, while others are struggling. What amazes me most is the very tight-knit community CF'ers have formed across the globe. These are regular people full of hopes and dreams that for the most part, blend in with the rest of us and try to lead as normal a life as they can. The funny thing is, I find those living with CF have a much deeper appreciation for each day they are given....regardless of how shitty they're feeling that day. I've listed a few links to some of the CF blogs I follow to the right of the page. I urge you to visit these blogs, read their hopes, dreams and struggles and maybe leave a comment or two, or an email cheering them on! Oh...and one final request, sign your donor card please!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

CF - A message From Eva

Updates on my kidney donation are coming...I promise. Just need to organize thoughts and events before I do. In the meantime, watch the following. When you're done, sign your donor card!

February 11/2011, was a special day. 1200 people gathered to listen to some great music, to view some beautiful films and to honour Eva. The 65redroses benefit concert for CF, was a great legacy project. It brought out the best in so many people. $37 000 was raised for CF research! Eva's friends, under the direction of Stuart Gillies, produced a beautiful short film 'A Wish Where the Wind Once Blew' that honoured all those who have died from CF. Eva's boyfriend Justin also edited a short video with a message of CF, that brought home the reason why we were all there. Here is his video.

A Message from Eva from Justin Cousineau on Vimeo.