Transplant Athlete
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
  Feelings...Nothing More Than...

A friend, put me in touch with a company that is building an App to help dialysis patients. The government has collected data on every dialysis facility, including how well the center treats a patients anemia, how adequately the patients are dialyzed, and how likely the patients are to survive. Apparently, the information has been out there, but very few people knew about it.

I'm advising them from a patient's perspective. I just went back and re-read blog posts from the early days of dialysis and I think I just gave myself PTSD...I can still vividly recall the blood pressure after treatment being so high my head would feel like it was splitting open. The fluid overload making it hard to breathe. Fear. Uncertainty. Cramping. The fistula surgeries that felt like someone was using a roto-rooter inside my arm. The very real possibility of death. I think I should delete those old posts so I can forget what it was like.


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Friday, October 22, 2010

As my longtime readers are aware, I was on dialysis for nearly two years, it was one of the worst times of my life. I was frequently in the ER with what I felt were life threatening symptoms. My family suffered. I seriously didn't think I was going to live long enough to get a transplant and mentally, I was getting my affairs in order.

Three days a week, I was stuck in a chair for four hours at a time. As an athlete, that was very difficult for me. What could possibly make it worse? The TVs had just a handful of stations and at one of my home clinics, you had to jiggle the headphone jack to get it to work.

This was one situation where I was handed lemons and I made lemonade. I started to bring my laptop to dialysis and I started writing. If you ask my mom, I'm sure she'll tell you I was writing stories as a little kid, but I didn't get serious about it until after my freshman year of college. I took an elective that summer on Sci-Fi and as a part of the course, we were required to write a short story.

I wrote the story, but I wasn't content with it. So I started adding...and adding. By my senior year (sometime around December 1994), I had finished 67,000 words. I tried editing it a couple of times, I knew there were problems with it, but I didn't know how to fix them. That manuscript ended up going in a drawer, and I believe there are only two people other than myself who've read the whole thing. Trust me it's better that way.

I was heavily into William Gibson back then and early in the manuscript I tried imitating his frenetic style, but that wasn't working for me and I soon found my own voice. I learned a lot from that attempt. Over the years, I've jotted things down (and I started this blog on 1/1/04). I wrote the genesis of a story sometime around 1998. When I went on dialysis, I went through my old files and found that story, dusted it off, and got to work.

I finished it...

I poured a lot into this story and I wanted to see it get published, so a couple of weeks after the transplant, I joined a writers group to get some feedback on my manuscript. The first time I got feedback, I thought I was going to cry, but it's done two things:

  1. It's made my manuscript much stronger.
  2. I've gotten better at identifying my mistakes and fixing them.

This is my long way of apologizing to my Transplant Athlete readers. Sorry. I've been working my tail off to finish the edit. I spent most of the summer stuck on the first chapter, but I've been making good progress since then. Currently, I'm on page 86 out of 209.


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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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