Kidney Donor–6 weeks post-op

I realize that some are checking out this blog to learn a bit of the donor process. Understanding the need for full disclosure, I will give the latest update.

Last month I ended my blog post with a “tip-toe through the tulips” cheer. I no sooner hit the post button than the gas attack began.

Um, wrong picture. No, not the hahaha kind of gas attack. More like this.

It appears my gut didn’t know what to do about being manhandled the way it had been or perhaps it was the reticence of my abdominal walls to do any work.

In the interest of not being unpleasant, I will simply say, until I got my gut under control, the next week or so was pretty miserable.

All things pass eventually. 

Increasing activity helped immensely. I began taking my mom and going to the mall in the early morning to walk. I despise the treadmill. It’s sooo boring!! The mall, on the other hand, is dangerously interesting. I learned it pays to be well on my way home before the shop doors open. All those displays and sales signs—they call my name and lure me into wanting things I don’t need. Still, it is so much more stimulating to walk around corners and down passageways with ever changing scenery and with other people around than to tread and sweat in one place.

Incisional pain was rarely an issue for me. Sometimes one side of my “c-section” scar would ache, but never bad. Itching was more of a discomfort as the incisions heal, but rarely has it been painful.

As the gut settled, the back ache and fatigue began. I think my back ache was likely due to the same lazy abdominal muscles. Amazing how quickly that core weakens. I was fine if I sat for short periods of time and was up moving in between. Hard, straight chairs are the worst. By midafternoon I was exhausted and needed to lie down for a nap, then, to the astonishment of my teenager, I would be ready for bed by 8:30. 

By week four, I was well enough to attend a conference with my husband in Baltimore. There, I’m sure I looked like some ADD child:

moving about in my chair, changing positions, getting up, sitting back down, up to the bathroom, up to fill my water bottle, back down again. My back did not appreciate the long hours in a straight backed chair. By evening my back muscles ached so much!

Once home and on my up and down routine, I found my energy returning. Sure, I get blasts of exhaustion interspersed through my day, but everything is falling into a comfortable pace.

Now I’m six weeks post op and almost back to normal. I’m walking about three miles every other day, back to teaching and cleaning and cooking and doing things that need to get done. Am starting to do core strengthening exercises, and still being careful about lifting anything heavy. All without pain. I even find myself somewhat back to being a night owl, not entirely, but close! With the return of energy, comes the creative juices and the desire to write. That’s a good thing. I’ve let myself fall behind and must get caught up.

Nathan has had a rougher recovery than I, so I feel like a whiney girl even mentioning gut pain and back aches. He is healing better now, and his body seems to be adapting well to Old Lefty. I have so much to be thankful for.

Overall, I am amazed at how quickly my body is healing and how little discomfort I have experienced. I haven’t even felt a twinge where Old Lefty used to sit. There has never been one moment when I was uncomfortable enough to regret being a donor. In fact, even if the back aches were to persist, it is worth it.

Outside the sun is shining, the daffodils are fading, and the tulips are coming into their full glory. I’m back to my “tip-toe through the tulips” optimism, thankful for another day to smile.

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