As of Tuesday, I have been on the kidney-pancreas transplant list for three full months. Time flies. I'm still feeling well and have no major health problems with which to deal. I've been trying to eat a better diet, complete with whole grains, lots of vegetables and little if any meat, but I'm nowhere close to being vegetarian. I probably should be. Animal protein is hard on the kidneys, especially kidneys that are minimally functional. I sometimes go days without eating meat, but I have not purged it from my diet. At least not yet.
On Friday, I will complete my regimen of iron tablets after six weeks of popping one every night before going to bed. They hopefully have corrected my mild anemia, for now. I don't feel any different and, in fact, I've felt a bit more tired than usual. Could be winter weather or could be kidney problems combined with mild anemia. Still, I have yet to take a sick day this year. I have not had a cold or flu. The worst thing I've experienced was -- and don't laugh -- a flea bite on my lower leg from our Papillon dog named Cricket, who needs a new dose of Frontline. Thing itches like crazy.
But no complaints. If I told a group of people awaiting transplants that I'm suffering from a flea bite, they would show me no sympathy.
But the thing itches. For a person with type 1 diabetes, I guess, it's a bonus that I can so readily feel the itch. It proves the circulation still is good.
Now that I face the prospects of a pancreas transplant, which would cure my diabetes, I've started taking note of how much effort diabetes requires. I still take it in stride, but all the blood-testing, insulin injections and eating or drinking to counter low sugar levels even when I'm not hungry or thirsty can get on the nerves. Considering my blood-sugar levels before any adventure -- be it walking across the Fort Duquesne Bridge to work in the morning, or going on an assignment, or preparing to drive the car -- all have become routine procedures in my daily life. But with a pancreas transplant is in the offing, these efforts seem to be more burdensome than before..
Just a random thought.
But I dare not change any tried-and-true habits now, lest I jeopardize my generally good health (save for kidney function). I cannot allow kidney function to deteriorate any further at this stage. Dialysis would be the result.
I see light at the end of the 43-year tunnel, and I'm hoping it's the end of the tunnel and not a freight train. The transplants will bring new and different challenges, especially in the weeks after the transplant when I will have to have daily blood tests done to test for and prevent rejection. But once everything is under control, I will be required to take daily immunosuppressant drugs for the rest of my life and be careful about infections and other side effects that transplants can cause. I'm hoping such side effects aren't the aforementioned freight train. But if the transplants succeed, I no longer will be dealing with the daily ordeal of blood-sugar testing, taking injections and defensive eating.
I anticipate that day happening. I have no qualms about the transplants. I genuinely look forward to them. I just have to keep things going until then, one shot, on finger pinprick and one gulp of juice at a time.