Thursday, September 17, 2015

Post Transplant Weight Gain

Checking in after another three month check-up. And everything remains the same, creatinine is stable, although it is high compared to normal kidney function. The last BK virus showed a count of 250. When the virus was causing problems it was well into the tens of thousands of copies in the serum sample. Other numbers are normal. Well, except cholesterol. It was wa-a-a-ay down.
Not coincidentally (in the opinion of Dr. C) was the fact that my weight was down 20 pounds. He asked if the weight loss was intentional. Of course, I said. He asked if was going to continue. Of course, I replied.
Weight gain has been a lifelong issue, I've always been on the heavy side. My grandmother said I had her big bones. I was heavy in high school, but lost the weight during the hippie years in Austin. The pounds have accumulated slowly and steadily through my adult years.
When PKD finally did in my kidneys, my first transplant application was rejected because I was too heavy. I was told to lose 15 pounds and reapply then. But that was not going to happen, my condition was too far gone to exercise and my will was not enough to change my eating habits.
When I started dialysis treatments, I started shedding pounds immediately. Apparently a good amount of my weight was due to kidney failure and water retention. Lester, one of my dialysis nurses used to pinch my legs and gleefully talk about how much water they could pull out with the day's treatment. It wasn't long before I had lost enough to reapply for a transplant.
As the pounds continued to fall off, I felt better and better. I was already doing Tai-Chi before my dialysis treatments and I began walking. Losing weight became an obsession. Before long I was walking several miles at a time and charting my progress on Excel spreadsheets complete with graphs.
After a year my last Polycystic kidney was removed. That was over eight pounds gone right there!
At my lowest weight, I had lost 40 pounds and was loving it. Then I slowly started gaining a little weight. Maybe I had dried out too much? The doctors suggested that the muscles I was beginning to build weighed more than the fat. I don't know. I didn't worry too much.
Then I received my transplant.
And I knew that my 'skinny' days were over. I would be taking steroids as part of my anti-rejection medication and weight gain is a side effect of most the other meds as well. And I began to slowly put on the weight. About 8-10 pounds a year. For 6 years.
Until this summer. In order to keep getting the lower rate for 'health-conscious' patients, United Health Care insisted that I enroll in a weight loss program called Naturally Slim. So I did. Susan followed the program as well, so we were able to support one another and between the two of us we were able to stay through the program for the last ten weeks of the summer.
The program has no tricks or magic diet. It teaches you to change your eating habits to mimic the eating habits of people who are naturally thin. Only eat when you're hungry. Only eat as much as you need. Chew slowly and enjoy every little bite. Eat slow, take pauses. Watch your portions. Take leftovers home. Eat whatever you want, but NO SUGAR! That's it. Exercise is encouraged and emphasized, but for health purposes, not for weight loss. I'm happy to say that it works and Susan and I both are close to our 10 week goals.
It's too late to stop now!

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