Transplant Athlete
Thursday, February 12, 2004

I had my 3 year check-up(5 months late) at the Inova Fairfax Transplant Clinic today. The results? I'm in great health. For those keeping score at home:
My Serum Creatinine was 1.4; A healthy range is 1.2 - 1.5
Creatinine is a product of muscle metabolism. It enters your blood stream at a constant rate and is excreted by the kidneys at a constant rate. If something is wrong with the kidneys, this test will show it. I did my first century the month before my kidney transplant and my Serum Creatinine was 10.3 the day after the ride. They tested me again right before the transplant and my Serum Creatinine was 10.3. That meant my kidney's GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate) was way below the chart of kidney function they gave me. Based on the graph, I'd say it was around 6% or 7%.

My Hematocrit was 38%; A healthy Range is 38 - 50(Professional Cyclists)
The kidney releases a hormone called EPO(the correct spelling for ErythroPOietin) which tells the bones to make more Red Blood Cells. There are many possible ways to lose Red Blood Cells(for instance, they can be excreted by the kidneys). I live in Virginia pretty darn close to sea level, so my hematocrit has been between 38 and 42. Interesting note, Professional cyclists who use EPO to get their Hematocrit over 50% are turning their blood into sludge. This is a percentage, so the higher the number, the less plasma they have to "grease" the red blood cells through their arteries and their hearts have to work harder, hence the occasional heart attack among seemingly healthy pro cyclists.

My FK506 was 7.1; This is a measurement of the Tacrolimus(Prograf - an immunosupressing medication) in my blood. This number should be between 5 and 20.

Prograf is Nephrotoxic and neurotoxic. Yeah Me! In larger doses, this medication can damage the kidneys and the nervous system. The damage to the nervous system manifests itself for me as trembling in the hands. After the transplant, I couldn't write very well, I had trouble reading the newspaper if I was holding it in front of me. Luckily they've reduced my medications since then. The Cellcept is just Nephrotoxic in large doses.

For more information about Kidney Health go to:
National Kidney Foundation (NKF)

For more Information about Organ Donation go to:

Also Check out:
Transplant Living

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I've gone through kidney failure twice. The first time in 2000, my mother donated a kidney; and again in 2008, I'm on dialysis waiting for a breakthrough in immuno-suppression medicines before seeking a new kidney.

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Warning Signs for Kidney Disease:

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Burning or Difficulty when Urinating
  • Frequent Urination at Night
  • Blood in your urine
  • Cola or tea colored urine
  • Swellig of the eyes, ankles, or feet
  • Lower back pain unrelated to physical activity

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