KIDNEY FAILURE - A PERSONAL JOURNAL

[Peter Langley]

April 2000 Update

It is now April 27, 2000, and I have been enjoying my new kidney for more than seven months. It is unbelievable, as life has changed so dramatically. My medications have changed somewhat, as my magnesium is stable, but I am now taking both iron and calcium, the latter to insure that my bones remain strong.

I continue on the immunosuppressant drugs, but the Neoral came down 25 mg at my last clinic. I do not really expect any more changes tomorrow, when I go for my April clinic, but I did not expect the change last month either. Dr. Silkerson and Dr. Crabtree continue to be as concerned and personable as ever, so that I actually enjoy going to clinic, except for the blood letting and the hour of the night (4:15 a.m. is not yet morning in my book).

Blood sugar has continued to be a problem, but I have begun working intensively with both Dr. Clare-Salzler and Elizabeth Huggins, a dietician, at the Shands Clinic, and have begun counting carbohydrates. This has made a huge difference, as the highs are less frequent and are nowhere near as high as they once were. The lows are also less frequent, but I do continue to “crash” on occasion. I have learned how to handle these things much better than I did before, with a new understanding of carbohydrates and their function.

To be more specific, since April 4, when I started counting carbohydrates, I have had only 8 readings over 200 and 3 readings under 60 (with this being a minimum of five readings per day), and have had 14 days out of 22 where every reading was between 60 and 199.

Life has remained hectic, as we have enjoyed a long weekend in New Orleans with friends, and enjoyed all of the wonderful food and entertainment that only Nawlins can offer. By the way, I strongly recommend the Cajun Cabin for Cajun food and wonderful Cajun music, the “Can’t Hardly Playboys” appearing the night that we attended. For upscale eating, we discovered a restaurant which we had not found before, Commander’s Palace. It was beyond wonderful. However, possibly the best surprise was a small restaurant near our hotel, 827-1/2 Toulouse (which is also the address, just a block north of Bourbon on Toulouse). Absolutely wonderful food, including a chocolate flan. I have been attempting to equal it, with only minimal success thus far.

I had some blood sugar problems during the trip, largely due to the time difference. As a result, we have decided to stay in the Eastern Time Zone for our summer vacation this year, leaving both Scotland (5 hours later) and Vancouver, British Columbia (4 hours later) until the blood sugar issues have been resolved. Accordingly, we are now planning to visit Montreal and Quebec in late June - early July. Also, Pat has a conference in Nashville in July which will be another trip.

We drove to visit our newest granddaughter again, and babysat for three days, driving through Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia, which was a delightful spring trip. The flowering trees were unbelievable.

As to my physical condition, other than the blood sugar, everything continues to go very, very well. Kidney function has remained constant and good, and the other tests have been equally good.

I continue to communicate with Diane on a regular basis, and enjoy our E-Mail repartee. She has indicated an interest in creating a web page on her experiences which I will add to this journal when I receive it. I have encouraged her, as I believe that her perspective would be invaluable and, knowing Diane, entertaining.

There was bad news this week, when we discovered that a friend who had a transplant 13 years ago has been seriously, critically ill this year. He had a heart attack and developed a very bad infection in his lungs. He is doing somewhat better, but is undergoing quintuple bypass surgery today, and we are both so very concerned. Also, another friend has developed acute leukemia, but the latest news is encouraging. My favorite judge has ever-expanding cancer problems, which has been going on for some time now. With every bit of bad news about other people, I am even more amazed at my own fortune. I cannot believe that I have done anything to enjoy the miraculous gift from Dianne or the amazing recovery which I have experienced. However, I am merely grateful and excited by each new day.

Both of my children and their spouses continue to do well, and both of my granddaughters remain perfect and beautiful. My friend Clare Stafford, whom I met through her kidney transplant site, is now engaged, and is doing wonderfully. I have also spoken to other people who are either facing or have faced transplants, and the interaction with these people whom I will probably never meet but feel that I know adds to my appreciation of my situation. From a personal and family perspective, I cannot imagine how life could be much better.

I will report again, somewhere around September for my first anniversary, or sooner if any major changes occur.

It’s March again………