Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hello Blog. It's Me Again...

Hello Blog, it's me again. Do you remember me?

It's been a while. I've read my last post a number of times and each time I'm surprised at how final it seems. It wasn't really my intention, but the muse has been difficult to find. The story reached premature catharthis last fall with my involvement in the National Health Care Debate (CNN did call Sunday afternoon when it looked like the vote was going through. They were tentatively going back to people interviewed in the fall for reaction, but decided to go in a different direction.) And of course the story reached its culmination and emotional peak at the first anniversary of my transplant.

That's when the blog started drifting. I tried going back to the story of dialysis, but that was becoming a series of lectures on dialysis and that's not how I want the blog to read.

Today is a cool, damp spring morning in Dallas. We had 5" of snow Sunday, two warm, sunny, glorious Spring days and then a day of intense thunderstorms. I just returned from a brisk walk which followed a session of tai-chi in the ump-teenth time I have tried to resume regular exercise. I really need to now. I've put on too much weight and my blood pressure is rising. Two things that really mess up kidneys. (At least PKD is no longer a concern!)

Since the anniversary of the transplant, I have really relaxed and have just tried to enjoy a normal life. I feel great, my energy is good. I can work long days without getting exhausted. I notice the difference singing in the choir at church. I can reach both higher and lower notes and sing with more volume and intensity. Not always a good thing, I have noticed a higher correlation between my mistakes and the stoppage of rehearsal! I didn't worry too much about weight during the fall and put on a few pounds. Then the battery on my bathroom scale died in the middle of December and I put on more than a few pounds!

While on my walk this morning my thoughts went back to the one time in my life when I really paid attention to exercise and diet and that was during dialysis. The secret to not being devasted by the treatments is to put on as little weight as possible between treatments. It's difficult because the kidneys are not removing excess fluid and that's especially true if both kidneys have been remvoed! But the less weight ones gains, the less fluid has to be removed during dialysis. Believe me, the recovery from treatment is much easier!

I became obsessive about exercise, weight, and blood pressure. I kept a daily spreadsheet which tracked everything, down to daily, weekly  and overall percentages of changes. I would walk as often as possible, increasing distances and even starting running. If you've known me all my life, you would realize how radical this behavior was!

When I started dialysis, I needed to lose 15-20 pounds to be considered for transplant. I had lost 35 by the time of transplant and was in the best physical condition of my mature life. Except for the fact that I had no kidneys and without dialysis I would have been dead!

So need to return to the good life. Diet does not need to be as strict, but it needs to be controlled. Exercise needs to happen. And now, after entering my vitals on my spread sheet, a session of tai-chi and a brisk walk, it's time for a little breakfast, a shower and off to work!

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