Today I am celebrating the one year anniversary of my kidney transplant!
Every day is a celebration as a year ago my life changed for the better due to the gift of a kidney by my donor and his family. It's difficult to realize that a year has passed, and the journey I traveled to get here. I feel so much better and am just beginning to understand how vey sick I was. Denial is a very interesting thing, it actually helped me move through the past six years of dealing with scleroderma and the related kidney failure.
I lost many things I loved, teaching art to little kids, creating art on my own, the ability to run and swim, even walk distances, but gained so much also. The support of my husband has been incredible and without him I don't know if I would have made it. He did everything for me, especially boosting my spirits with his sense of humor. My family, which enlarged immensely when I married, has been so supportive and encouraging. My friends have stayed with me, scheduling activities around my dialysis days so I could participate and keeping in touch via email. My circle of friends has expanded through my involvement with a non-profit and planning my high school reunion has reunited me with people from my past. This forum was a blessing during the long period of "lurking" and then actively participating. I don't know what I would have done without all of you and your insight and sharing. I've learned that the people in your life are the most important thing, and that you should help others in whatever capacity you can.
My days are filled with activity once again, helping to make sick children's dreams come true, creating the eNewsletter for the ISN (with Shelley's help), and participating in a Dialysis/Transplant Support Group. My creative skills are being put to use via technology, my latest venture video editing. We are traveling and just returned from a long awaited trip to our favorite destination, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I will always have diffuse scleroderma and the damage it has brought to my organs. Fortunately, the transplant has also brought an improvement in many functions on my tests. Unfortunately, my lung fibrosis has increased. However, my diffusion rate has increased and the medicine they would treat my lungs with is the same I am on for rejection of the kidney so I am in a holding pattern. I am now suffering with the loss of a joint at the base of my thumb due to OA and, believe it or not, it is more painful and frustrating than the damage to my hands from scleroderma. I'll deal with these things one day at a time. In general, I have confidence in my doctors but experience the same frustration as many of you, the lack of articulation between them.
Thank you for being there, and if you are also lurking, join in and share. You may not realize it, but in asking questions and sharing your story you are helping many others deal with the disease.