Transplant Athlete
Thursday, February 26, 2009
  Night Rider

I went out on a MORE ride a couple weeks ago. It was a 6:30 pm ride at Wakefield Park. There was just two of us at the start, me and the ride leader - Joe. I've never been to Wakefield and I'm a newbie on a mountain bike, so Joe told me he'd keep it at my pace and show me around the park.

I was using my Dinotte 1W LED light, which is adequate on the road and which falls really short in the woods (emphasis on 'falls').

I was seriously overmatched by the terrain. Within 5 minutes, I found myself bouncing along the ground on my shoulder. When I came to a stop, I was on my side on wet rocks wondering what the hell had happened. I had hit the bottom of a little creek wrong and had gone over the handlebars. That would pretty much summarize the rest of my night. The trail was challenging, with logs to hop over, rock gardens, small wooden bridges, not to mention trying to keep up with Joe.

About ten minutes into the ride, another rider caught up to us and he decided to ride with us. His light was soooo bright...
"How bright was it?"
It was so bright that I was casting a shadow and my light could barely illuminate the shadow area. When he'd turn his head, or fall behind, the light level would drop off suddenly and I wouldn't be able to see a thing until my eyes got used to the lower level my light was pushing out.

I had a great time and am looking forward to going again (with a better light). I've done some research and it looks like a more powerful light would normally run $300 - $400. I could possibly sell them on my website so I could get them at cost, but then I started doing a little research and it looks like I could build a pretty cool light for $70.


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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

There's an older woman at dialysis who has serious problems. Her catheter doesn't work very well; consequently her dialysis takes a lot longer (over 4 hours). She vomits at almost every treatment (it's a low blood pressure thing). Sometimes its actual vomit, sometimes she just wants to get out of dialysis early, regardless, its not pleasant. She doesn't seem to be very alert. Her husband and son pick her up and wheel her out to their car in a wheelchair after each treatment. I don't think she walks anymore.

It's so sad. It's so scary.


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Thursday, February 12, 2009
  I Am What I Am

I recently joined Facebook. I've had a Myspace page for years, but I wasn't very active with it. With Facebook, I've found friends from long ago, from grade school even; and I'm forced to look at my self through the mirror of my friends.

Some friends had expectations of what I would do with my life. None of them would have expected me to become a stay-at-home dad, but that's what I am. I don't like the term "stay-at-home dad". I love my kids, but I wouldn't have told you I was going to be a stay-at-home dad when I was in High School. I tell myself, they are my friends and will accept the choices I've made. Then I tell myself, it doesn't matter what they think as long as I am happy with my choice. I've made my peace with that choice.

Looking among the pictures of my friends, they've driven race cars, climbed mountains, traveled the world. I need to keep in mind that I'm looking over the experiences of multiple individuals and seeing the best experiences that each had. Also, from the outside, my life would look just like theirs. But I am a bit jealous.



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  A Glimpse Of The Future

It's no secret that I want another kidney transplant but I'm waiting for new medications to come out. This article at Newsweek summarizes some of the avenues they are exploring with regards to getting the body to accept a transplant.
  1. Mixed Chimerism: destroying the bone marrow of the recipient and injecting bone marrow from the donor. The immune system of the recipient "reboots" with some of the donor's characteristics, tricking the immune system into thinking the new organ belongs there.
  2. Tricking the immune system into thinking the organ is part of the body.
  3. Xenotransplantation: growing spare organs in animals with immune systems that are somehow compatible with the recipient's.

I think most of these ideas have been out there for awhile, but the article also described some of the possible side effects of the current drugs, and making the point these drugs are TOXIC.


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Tuesday, February 10, 2009
  The Only Real Benefit Is...

ABL and I met with the home hemo nurse yesterday, I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but I had been mislead when I was originally told about Home Hemo. Home Hemo was touted as a procedure that would only take 2 hours per day for 6 days. Which made sense to me, after all, I'm in the center for 12 hours a week. ERRRH. Try almost 4 hours per day 6 days a week (190 minutes up to 217 minutes). That's double what I had been expecting.

Of course home hemo will be better for me, I'll be dialyzing twice as long.

To make matters worse, I still have to show up at the dialysis clinic (in this case Fairfax - a 40 minute drive) once per week to get IV meds. AND I have to go back to giving myself subq shots of EPO. Right now, these meds are delivered into my IV line while I'm dialyzing; but for some reason, I won't be allowed to administer these meds the same way. What's that about? By my math, I'll be getting stuck almost 3 times as much.

At this point, the only real benefit is the potential for no-hassle travel and I'm guessing as I learn more, there'll be a catch to that as well.



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Sunday, February 08, 2009
  Anything Is Possible...

I met Chris Morrow for a ride in Reston and we took the Difficult Run Trail north to Great Falls. This time I was prepared with extra fluid and some Clif bars, but once again, I forgot my camera. The trail was a lot faster since most of the snow and ice has melted, but there were still a few spots that had a good layer of ice (ironically, the iced over areas provided the best traction). There were a few areas with deep mud, the kind of mud that gets caked up wherever the wheel meets the frame. I had mud/twigs/leaves/etc jammed in my derailleur pulleys. Yikes.

This time, I actually made it to the Potomac and while my legs were hurting, I was able to make it home. Proving that as long as you stay fueled and hydrated, anything is possible.

We had one guy scream at us as he was driving in the opposite direction, but for the most part the drivers in Great Falls left us plenty of space. My guess is they didn't want us scratching their Bimmers, Jags, and Merks.

Thanks for the ride Morrow.


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Friday, February 06, 2009

My kids used overwhelming force to break me this week. TGIF, I need a little R&R.

P.S. I'm on Facebook now, It's amazing how many old friends I've found.


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Sunday, February 01, 2009
  The Weather Was Too Nice To Stay Indoors Today

I suited up today and hopped on my new mountain bike. I rode in to Reston on the W&OD and hopped on the Difficult Run Trail. The trail was sloppy and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be on it, but there were plenty of tracks in the snow and I saw a few riders heading south on the trail as I was heading north.

I'm definitely a newbie, so the snow and ice made the trail sketchy. The climbing power of the bike is amazing, you just try to keep it pointed up and keep the pedals turning and it'll climb. If I was using clips, I would have been in serious trouble, I can't tell you how many times I had to put a foot down.

I wish I had brought a camera. I can't believe how beautiful it is out there. One of the river crossings was huge marble boulders in a line across and just past that, someone had planted a stand of Bamboo trees and the trail went straight through the heart of it.

This ride definitely reminded me of my childhood in Andover. Kevin and I used to ride on the abandoned railroad tracks and occasionally hike our bikes through the woods to the playground on the south side of Andover.

The yellow line on the right is Rte 206, the white line roughly parallel with it is the abandoned railroad tracks. Across the bottom of the picture the vegetation is cut away for power lines. We would cut across the wooded area just north of the power lines from the railroad tracks to the soccer field to the left of the little pond. From there, it was a short climb up to the playground (just north of the baseball diamond at the top left. From the playground, we could cut across to his house or go down 517 to my house in the center of town.

I digress...Where was I...Oh yeah, so I followed the trail for almost 12 miles. I knew I was going to be running short of daylight, so I turned around minutes from the Potomac and headed back out onto Georgetown Pike. I had been riding for nearly 3 hours, and I had just one waterbottle with me and no food. I immediately bonked when I hit Georgetown Pike and had a rough slog into Great Falls. My head was down, my mouth was gaping wide open, my legs were burning and I was getting buzzed by motorists. There isn't any shoulder out there and I wouldn't normally travel there with a bike, but I was desperate. I made it to the 7-11 at the three hour mark, I was definitely dehydrated and in need of serious calories, so I picked up 2 Gatorades (32 oz), Twix, Power Bars, Peanuts, sat down outside and started shoveling it in. When my brain came back online, I realized I should call ABL and get her to SAG me home. The payphone was busted, so I asked APU if I could use the phone.

He said No. I asked if he knew if there was another payphone nearby. No. So, I asked a passerby if I could use his phone. A good samaritan graciously let me use his phone and I left a message for ABL. While I was waiting, I bought some more food and coffee (it was getting cold out) and minutes before ABL showed up, APU let me use his phone and I left another message for ABL.

Yes, I should have brought my cellphone and food, but I didn't think I was going to be out so long or the riding so rough. The weather was so nice and I was having so much fun, I just kept riding.


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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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