Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Dog Days of Dialysis

Once again, it's been more than a few days since I've posted.  I think about it all of the time...thinking of things I'd like to write about, thoughts I'm having...but I never seem to get around to getting the laptop out and typing away.

It's been a rough couple of months. 

In May I had another CT scan to check the status of the arteries in my abdomen.  They have become blocked so many times in the past few years that I almost expect something to be wrong.  I have been on Plavix and Coumadin the since November 2011, and I think that is helping.  Following the CT scan, my nurse called and said that the surgeon wanted to do an angiogram to more closely evaluate the blood flow in those arteries. 

I had that procedure done at the end of May, and it was not as easy as we'd hoped.  I have so much scar tissue in my femoral artery area that the surgeon couldn't access my arteries.  He had to go in through my left arm.  Very strange.  Anyway--he didn't have any definite answers for Gordon, but said that it would be up to the transplant team to decide if we were good to go for our July 31 surgery date. 

At this time, my sister Michelle was still slated to be my donor, and had been since November 2011.  We have been waiting for my complications to clear up before we could proceed, and were finally ready to go. 

Gordon and I spent some time together over Memorial Day weekend, and I told him that I just felt that something was wrong.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but it just didn't feel right.  I even talked to him about what would happen if I couldn't ever get a transplant. 

The next day I emailed my nurse and asked her if I could just get a confirmation that we were good to go and that there weren't going to be any more hang ups.  I was so tired of getting just before the transplant date and finding out that something was wrong.  She emailed me back and said, "The doctor will call you."  Uh-oh.  He called me later that day and told me that he didn't feel comfortable using my sister's kidney any longer.  She has multiple blood vessels coming from her kidneys--something that 10% of the population has--and the surgeon really wants an ideal kidney for with one artery and one vein.  Why he couldn't have said this sooner, I don't know.  He must have seen something in the angiogram that concerned him. 

We discussed my options, and I told him that I had other possible donors.  They said that they would do everything in their power to keep the July 31 transplant date, and would try to get the testing done right away.  I called my brother Bill and asked him if he'd call and offer.  I'm so grateful that he was willing and able.  He took the blood test and was a match.

We scheduled the testing for the week before the surgery--which had been moved up to July 24!  Bill and his son Ammon flew in from Texas and the testing began Monday.  Everything was going along really well.  Bill is in excellent health, and I was so confident that things would finally work out.  Wednesday he had his CT scan.  While we were driving back to Prescott Valley from Mayo that afternoon, he got the call that he has the same blood vessel issue as Michelle, and would therefore not be a good donor for me.  I was pretty devastated.  I was just so sure this time.  What are the odds that both of my siblings would have this same RARE issue?

After crying the entire way home, and then crying some more when Courtnie met me in the garage to give me the world's biggest hug, I realized that I just needed to be more proactive.  In the past, people would offer to donate a kidney to me and I would tell them that I was taken care of.  I have six siblings, and I just knew one of them would have a kidney that would work.  After finding out that Bill's kidney wouldn't work, I knew that I just needed to start accepting the offers and letting the Lord take care of the rest. 

The following day, at least ten people called in to Mayo asking for the blood test kit.  I know that there are more people that I don't even know of who have called.  I can't believe it, and am so honored that there are people who are so willing to give.  I just feel so blessed. 

I found out Friday that my brother Andy is a match.  While I'm excited and SO grateful, I'm also a little nervous.  I just don't want to get my hopes up again.  I don't know how much more I can take. I'm just hoping that his blood vessels are compatible.

The last couple of dialysis treatments I've had have been so hard on me.  I'm not sure why, but it seems to be getting worse.  I dry heave almost the entire time, and have a splitting headache afterwards.  I feel so completely drained of energy.  Yesterday the thought came to me that it's probably a little bit like how Superman feels when he's around kryptonite.  (Not that I'm Superman, but it gives you a little better visual of how it feels.)  This "kryptonite" feeling lasts for at least 24 hours following treatment.  All I want to do is sleep.

Mostly, I'm just tired of being in this holding pattern.  I feel I can't make any plans, any promises, or have any kind of future.  I feel like an idiot every time I have a surgery date fall through.  I'm tired of telling people that it just didn't work this time.  I want to remember again what it feels like to feel good.  I don't even remember the last time I had energy to do much of anything.  I want to be a good mom and a good wife.  I know it will happen, I have faith that it will happen, I just want it to happen soon! :)


amuse said...

It will happen Mrs. Cobb.

A Few Tacos Shy... said...

#1: You are not an idiot just because your surgery date changes.

#2: A kidney will be yours by the end of this year, I am feelin' it. Remember, I said 2012 is the year of the kidney. Good things are happening this year.

#3: If I figure out why life is so full of struggles and setbacks, you will be the first person I explain it to...


mom2six said...

You are a great mom and wife! And there are so many of us that love you and are praying for you. And never feel like an idiot. It's not your fault these setbacks happen. You are just so wonderful, and I hope that your brother's kidney works out this time.