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Transplant Athlete
Thursday, October 25, 2007
  If She Weighed The Same As A Duck...She's Made Of Wood

You have to hand it to the French, they have some racket going on over there...

RoadBikeRider is reporting that Iban Mayo popped positive on an "A" sample (from the 2007 Tour) for EPO, but his "B" sample tested in Belgium came back negative. The French are now going to re-test the "B" sample at the same lab that screwed up Floyd's test. I doubt they'll even bother running the test...They'll just walk the sample into the lab and then leak a press release to L'Equip saying Iban doped.

They also found this quote "The Tour de France is trying to kick the Americans out because of jealousy. I don't believe Floyd Landis is guilty of anything." -- Phil Liggett, the voice of the Tour, in his keynote speech at the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame induction ceremony last Saturday.

 
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Wednesday, October 24, 2007
  She Didn't Want To Say Anything, but...

Over the past couple of months, I've been making ABL's life pretty miserable by forgetting things. It's gotten so bad, that she has to frequently remind me and/or write instructions down for me. I thought I was just tuning her out, but I've also had a tough time concentrating.

While surfing for more info on Type 1 MPGN, I noticed this tidbit under symptoms (from the NIH site):
Changes in mental status such as decreased alertness or decreased concentration.

Those two pages pretty much describe what has been going on...

 
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Sunday, October 21, 2007
  RAAM 2007 Video

I received my copy of the RAAM 2007 Video yesterday and I'm pretty disappointed. They used DVD-Rs to copy the video. That means this video won't work on all DVD players, and it may work intermittently on others. I have had very few problems with DVD-Rs in my DVD player, but this DVD quit three or four times while watching it and would not allow any functions (menu, previous chapter, pause, stop, etc.). I had to remove the DVD and restart (rebooting would have worked). This really ruined the experience for me.

The content was great though. There were four quick flashes of me and my crew, but it seemed like Allen Larsen was able to cover everybody at least briefly. He was able to explain the essence of RAAM, so someone watching would be able to understand what was going on. The addition of the doctor commenting on the Race was unique.

I think the only controversy they dug up was some smack talk by Jure Robic and other europeans against their American competitors.

While watching the video, a part of me wanted to race again, but the RAAM obsession that has gripped me since my transplant surgery has definitely subsided. The point is moot though with a hematocrit around 27, there's no way I could race.

 
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  Homecoming

No, this isn't about the dismal performance of the Terps last night...Once again, they sprint out front in the first half and then fade in the second half.

This is about my cousin Joe who has safely returned from Iraq. Congrats Joe.

 
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007
  Apology

I'd like to apologize to all my gentle readers, the fatigue is really kicking my butt and I'm having a tough time getting around to writing. I'm actually having a tough time doing anything other than veggin' out on the couch.

A couple of months ago, my daughter was swinging from the curtains in the living room, when she bent the brackets. She was told that was bad and she should refrain from that behavior in the future. About two weeks ago, my daughter narrowly interpreted the no hanging on curtains rule so that she could hang on the towel rack in her bathroom. Predictably, after a few swings, the towel rack ripped out of the wall. Yeah, It needed a good sized patch and two coats of spackle. Now it awaits a coat of paint and rehanging the rack. Today, my two little random vandals again took down the curtains in the living room, this time bending a different bracket.

 
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Tuesday, October 16, 2007
  RAAM 2007 Video For Sale

The Official 2007 Race Across America DVD is listed as available on the Race website (although during checkout it says they don't have any in stock). There might be some footage of me in there...
 
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Wednesday, October 10, 2007
  What's Up WIth Runners?

The temperature at the Chicago Marathon topped out at just 88 degrees, yet 1 reasonably fit man died, 50 went to hospitals, and hundreds were treated for heat injuries...

I've ridden in triple digit temps, so 88 degrees seems a bit low for there to be so many problems. I heard one expert on TV say that the ideal temperature for runners/running is 41 degrees. Forty One degrees? That's barely above freezing.

Maybe I should start running to see for myself.

 
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Friday, October 05, 2007
  Doesn't 'Anemia' Sound Like A Good Name For A Girl?

I hope I'm not setting a bad example for my kids. I exercise regularly, and they see me pulling them in the trailer, so I think they'll grow up knowing I'm active, but when my Anemia gets bad (like now), I just want to lie down. While they finish their lunch, I lie down, while I wait for them to take their naps, I'm on the couch. I rarely take them outside because I don't feel like chasing them. When ABL gets home and takes over parenting duties, I head for the couch. I wonder which image they'll have of me when they grow up? The dad who goes to the gym and can ride really long distances or the couch potato.

The funny thing about anemia for me is, I can't just take a nap and wake up refreshed.
First of all, sometimes I can't sleep, at all. At night, I may be tossing and turning in bed for 2 to 4 hours or more before falling asleep, then if I wake up it may be hard for me to go back to sleep.
Second, the fatigue doesn't go away. So, I'll wake up just as tired as when I went to sleep.

My main concern is that they'll mimic my behavior and prefer the couch to activity. Whatever lens they see me through, I know they'll love me.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007
  No More Transcons

The results of my recent biopsy are in and they're not good. My original disease is back. Membranoproliferative Glomerulonephritis, Type 1, With Mild to Moderate Global Glumerulosclerosis, and about 10% Cellular Crescents, blah, blah, blah...

I won't be changing the name of this blog to the "Dialysis Athlete" anytime soon. The prognosis is the same as it was in 1986 (It was Deja Vu all over again listening to the Doc): 50% to 60% chance of progression to ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) within 10 to 15 years, the literature the doctor gave me also shows a 25 to 40% chance of stable renal function, and a 10% chance of "spontaneous improvement". I expect my disease will progress the same way it did the first time around, so I'm thinking a 10 to 15 year run on this kidney.

As it was in the beginning of my ordeal, there's still no treatment for MPGN. However, Aspirin (325 mg Tid) and Persantine (75 mg Tid) have been proven to stabilize renal function for a short period. So I will be trying that for awhile. There are a couple of other treatments that are more aggressive, but the side effects can be nasty and the benefits are questionable.

  1. Prednisone (a corticosteroid) in 120 mg doses every other day for a very long time. If they put me on Prednisone, ABL would divorce me (because of the mood swings), I'd gain 30 to 50 pounds of fat, and I'd be at risk for a whole host of other medical conditions including diabetes.
  2. Swithing from Cellcept to Cyclophosphamide for several years which the doctor says is really nasty and isn't recommended for more than 6 months.
  3. Plasmapheresis, which from what I gather, they take my blood out, wash the plasma, and then give it back to me. I'm guessing this needs to be done frequently, probably much like dialysis.

The good news is that there is no sign of rejection, so they can bring my Cellcept back down (they had raised it right before the biopsy just in case). The Cellcept was causing me all sorts of problems, and may have lowered my Hematocrit.

Speaking of Hematocrit, mine is 27.6, nearly half that of a professional cyclist. If my Anemia doesn't get better in the next month or so, the Doc will most likely put me on Procrit (Synthetic EPO). Good News: The Doc says I can dope. Bad News: The Doc says I can't race. I'm hoping he just means the really long distance events, apparently dehydration and hyponatremia are much more serious now. I'm guessing if I beg, he'll let me do a couple 24 hour races. He said I can still ride and train, wheww! Don't think that Procrit will give me an unfair advantage racing, the insurance companies, and by extension the doctor, will only let my hematocrit get up to 33 or 34% (I forget the actual cut-off value), that number is still well below anyone I'll be racing against, unless I'm at the Transplant Games.

If I had to guess my Hematocrit, I would have said 31 or 32, so that's good news. When I was at 29% back in 1999, I couldn't function, I couldn't work, I couldn't get off the couch. To be at 27.6% and still feel like I can function is a testament to my fitness level.

For those keeping score at home, my serum creatinine is 2.7 (normal is just over 1 and 10 is ESRD).

 
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Monday, October 01, 2007
  Tic-Tac-Toe

After reading Anonymous' other comments, I realized I didn't answer his/her original question. What is the "plan". And, I think it's a bit unfair to ask pro-troop/anti-war people to come up with one, considering the Commander in Chief and his top military minds don't have a plan either. Bush saying, "We're Kicking Ass." is not a plan.

Splitting the country up sounds good, if it worked for Yugoslavia, then maybe it'll work in Iraq. Although, kicking out ethnic/religious groups from one area to a new country might breed the same type of resentment that fuels the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This probably should have been done when Bush first declared victory, because now they already have a government set up and it would be really difficult to implement now.

As I mentioned before cutting their supply lines is a valid tactic for winning a war. So, the first thing I would do is STOP ARMING THE BAD GUYS. I read in Newsweek that a recommendation was made to scrap the entire Iraqi police force and start off from scratch, because it was infiltrated with thugs and insurgents. That sounds like a good idea. The Iraqi army is faring much better, so maybe have them take over local police action until the new police force is up and running (I'm assuming they don't have the same Posse Comitatus issues we have in the US). A stable Iraq with law and order sounds like a win to me.

I got a chance to review the historyplace.com site's genocide page, not only Pol Pot, but Nazi Germany, Nanking, Stalin, Bosnia/Herzegovina, and Rwanda. For some reason they don't have Darfur listed, or more recently the Monks in Burma. I think my point here is not to say we should retreat to fortress America, but that if we say we are going in to stop genocide, then we need to do it for all peoples, not just the ones who sit on massive oilfields. And even then, we should go in as part of a UN Peace Keeping coalition. We're supplying 90% of the troops in Iraq, that's not a coalition.

We've spent 1/2 trillion dollars on Iraq for minimal results and there is no end in sight. We spend more in a month over there than we've ever spent on cancer research. The dollar is sliding against gold, the euro, and even the loonie. Fixing Iraq could break us.

 
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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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