Tuesday, May 9, 2017

When the Scars Fade

I lay in bed the other night alone. The covers were off and the ceiling fan was whirling around. It was a pretty warm, inside the house and outside. And I lay there, watching the fan and not sleeping, because Ben was downstairs watching the NFL draft, and also I couldn't allow myself to fall asleep because I hadn't yet taken my immunosuppressants. 

I decided to run my hands over my skin.  My arms mostly and then my stomach. Sometimes I like to feel places on my abdomen where surgeons have cut me, and I smooth my fingers over each area,  pressing into the tissue. I like to see how deep the indents are, if there are any.  Just about all of the "gunshot wounds," as Ben calls them, are now are identified by raised lines of lighter than my normal skin--the kind of skin that forms when you cut yourself and the body tries to heal. This is called scar tissue, and it's what they say most of my kidneys were covered with by the time they both failed.  

Much lower on the right side of my abdomen, getting closer and closer to--yes--my pubic bone is the six-inch scar where my transplant surgeon cut me and inserted my dad's kidney. The strange thing is that I almost hesitate to call it a scar anymore. The line where the incision occurred is so thin, so light and so faded that it's pretty difficult to see it. I feel like someone would have to put their eyeballs really close to my stomach to see that there's a piece of skin that just isn't like the rest that's unbroken around it.  The other scars from other surgeries--my appendix, dialysis and the removal of my ovary--are pretty clear. This one though, my transplant scar...even I am surprised by how much it's changed over the past four years. Yep, four years ago, my surgeon sliced through my skin, muscle, fat and other tissue and put in a new kidney.  

I've been struggling lately to cope with my health lately and the fact that I HAD to have a kidney transplant to be OK. I couldn't be like everyone else and just avoid doing this and keep living a normal life. I had to have a transplant.  There wasn't really a way around it. The experience of kidney disease, kidney failure, the transplant and even some of the related events that followed (CMV, rejection, no immune system, miscarriage and so on and so forth), was so traumatizing. Emotional marks were made. But four years later the outward physical evidence of that period in my life is starting to disappear.  The area where the surgery actually took place is mostly healed. 

I've been wondering lately if it's time for the rest of me to become "mostly healed," too.  

Monday, April 10, 2017

The Last Trail: In Pursuit of Eagles and Silence

We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence.... We need silence to be able to touch souls.  ~Mother Teresa
The last trail trek Ben and I explored was in February, on one of those unseasonably warm days when you think, "Yeah, we all gon' die from climate change."  There's a state park near us called Mason Neck where you can walk along the shoreline of the Potomac River and take in some really amazing views. The wooded portion of the park has become renown for its bird-watching. 

I'm not a bird-watcher. In fact, many birds terrify me, and not just because of Alfred Hitchcock's ability to turn this species into creatures who would jump at the chance to blot out the whites of every human eyeball. Last year, whenever I'd take Burton out onto our back deck to listen to the morning birdsong in trees behind our yard, BLUE JAYS and some bird with an orange stomach would dive-bomb us every time.  I like my birds to be a little less aggressive.  

Fortunately, during our short walk from the Potomac River shore at Mason Neck park to an area where several bald eagle's nests are hidden a little deeper in the trees, we never had to cower from crew of birds crouching on phone lines, or protect our eyeballs from some angry (birds? lol) blue jay.  

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Hamilton Post I've Been Waiting For

Something awesome happened recently.

Ben and I went to see HAMILTON!!!!!

LOL I know right? 

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Chronically Expecting Something

“Peace begins when expectation ends.” ― Sri Chinmoy

I received some not great news on my birthday.  Or maybe a more accurate description of what came to pass is that I had an expectation of what I wanted to hear from my kidney transplant nurse, and that's not what I heard.

I've been doing some blood work and tests since the end of 2016 with the goal of being cleared to get a baby in my belly at some point in the future.  My blood work isn't great. My creatinine is above 2 now (the last reading was 2.6).  That last pregnancy really rocked my health world.  Things most likely won't go back to the way they were, when I was "healed" or whatever the hell that was, unless I have another kidney transplant. So it seems like this is as good as it gets.  

Monday, February 20, 2017

News About Health

So, what I said in my first post of the year is true. I got a new job!  I got a brand new job at a brand new company.  For the past six months, I've been working for the American Psychological Association.

That's their logo.