I have been meaning to post a new entry for longer than I'd like to admit. I am nearing the 2 year post op mark from my surgery and things have been nothing but great. My health is great. My kidney blood work all came back within the normal ranges. Christine has had some of her own battles to fight after the surgery. It had nothing to do with the kidney transplant. She is doing much better! I recently talked with her and she said her lab work was within the normal range too! Champ is doing a fine job. I couldn't be happier with my decision to donate a kidney to (what used to be) a complete stranger. If you have any questions about becoming a living kidney donor please email me and I will get back with you as soon as I can.
Today was wonderful. I woke up in a great mood because I got a full night of good rest! I spent some time doing light cleaning of my bedroom before I went out to enjoy an afternoon movie and a light meal. I spent the rest of my evening doing homework in bed and conversing with my roommate. I am planning on spacing out my blog posts more insterad of daily because there is not a signifigant amount of daily change anymore. I will post when I feel things have changed enough to note. Enjoy your Thanksgiving everyone! I am thankful for the support I recieve everyday from friends and family, as well as strangers.
Today was full of rest! Since the Drs told me I was doing a little "too much" I took the day to relax and do some studying for my new school class. I am finally comfortable with taking one 5MG pain pill every four hours. I am going to gradually increase the time between pills until I am weened off. My brother came by and picked me up to run a few errands in the evening since I am unable to drive or lift anything. It has humbled me a lot asking and receiving so much help for such simple daily tasks. I have lost 22 pounds since I reached my peak in the hospital after surgery. Granted, a lot of it was water weight, but not having an appetite has definitely been a cause.
    Today was all over the place. I barely slept 3 hours because I had slept so much the day before. My mother left at 5AM to catch her flight back to Colorado. I had my last appointment of this trip at 830AM. The Dr's said everything went well and I was recovering great! I was just notified that I had been doing a little "too much" activity. So I guess it is time to slow down and really let my body heal. I had another interview and took lots of photos with a team from the University of Florida. I am hoping they are able to use my story for donation awareness.

    After the Dr appointment I headed straight to the airport. Today I get to come home! The first flight was just to Atlanta so it was only an hour. I did take a wheelchair to my connecting flight because it was literally the furthest away tht it could have possibly been from my first gate and the Atlanta airport is huge. I was really slow and didn't want to risk missing my flight or even getting bumped by a stranger who was in a hurry. The second flight went straight to San Diego and was 4 hours long. There was some mishap with my seating so I ended up in the back of the plane in a middle seat. Luckily for me the people I was in between were not easily bothered. It was very uncomfortable after the first 2 hours. I was fidgeting and wiggling. My back hurt, my abdomen hurt...everything hurt. I was just ready to get home. I just had to suck it up and it was worth it. I landed in San Diego and was greeted by surprise by some members of the Motorcycle Club I am a part of. It was so nice to see my family again. Eric was also there to pick me, and my luggage up (since I am not allowed to lift anything over 10 pounds for the next 6 weeks). I made it home just in time to see the 49ers win over the Redskins and spend some much missed time with my dog! Now it is time to hop in my own bed and get some rest!
    Today was not my best day and I haven't been feeling very well. I haven't had a bowel movement since the day I was released from the hospital so I had been very constipated. I was trying to eat some lunch and couldn't because my belly was so full! It made me feel like I was going to throw up. I finally decided to go against my personal preference and do another suppository. It did relieve my stomach pain but I was left with nausea and slept nearly all of the day. Hopefully tomorrow is better.
     Hello everyone! Not too much has changed since yesterday. Recovery is still going very well. My cousin Jamie drove up to visit from Tampa today to visit. We went on a nice walk down a nature trail. I guess I never realized we were in actual Gator country until I saw signs posted saying "Beware of Gators!"I also got bit by a few mosquitoes... Kind of gross, but medically relivant, my bowels have been very active today and I have been passing a lot of gas. It is such a relief of pressure! If you have read my other posts I have stated that the gas pressure from the inflation during the surgery was the most painful part of recovery. After today I feel I have FINALLY removed nearly all of the gas pressure! My daily walks have been such a big help to my recovery.
     I just realized this morning that the largest of my incisions has been leaking fluids. It gradually increased over the past 2 days. I have been told it is a normal part of healing and is just drainage. There is no pain, inflammation or redness. My incisions are starting to get itchy though! As I was growing up I was told by my mother that if your wound was getting itchy it meant that it was healing. So this is just great news!
    I am still not eating like I was before the surgery, but my appetite is back. I ate a large-to-me late lunch/early dinner at Olive Garden. I was the one to actually request the food, so that is new.
    I have recieved word that I was seen on a news program in Oklahoma City and Denver. NBC 7 in San Diego contacted me today through this web site. They told me that they ran a short story about Christine and I last night and I did a brief phone interview for them exclusively. A former classmate of mine, Josh Jones, contacted them with my story and they followed through. I watched the story online and the reporter botched it pretty bad. He stated the wrong dates and badly messed up both my first and last name. I am still thrilled at the opportunity to have my story presented though! With all this publicity at once it was bound to happen that someone would mess it up a little. NBC 7 is planning on doing a face to face interview when I am back in San Diego and posting a follow up story. This publicity has also brought about new contributors to my donation site and for that I am extremely thankful!

    I want to take this last section to just say thank you to everyone who has been supporting me through this. I do not have a very large family so it is very meaningful to me to have good thoughts and prayers coming from so many different people across the globe. All of this positive thinking brought on by my supporters has made my healing process so much easier. I have he
Well I don't even know where to start today. It has been so busy! I forgot to mention that yesterday morning I had a phone interview with a woman that works for Facebook's Consumer Communications Team. Today was also full of interviews. Basically from sun up to sun down! This morning I had a phone interview with someone from "People" magazine. Followed by an afternoon Skype interview with a gentleman from WFLA (local Tampa news station). This one aired already. This link is attached as a separate page labeled "First TV Interview".

IMMEDIATELY after we closed the Skype conversation a woman from ABC Action News called and scheduled an interview for 6PM. It was around 4PM at the time.
At 6PM we welcomed 2 wonderful women who had driven all the way from Tampa to get a face to face interview with us. It went very well and it airs tonight at 11PM on ABC in Tampa. I will post a link once it is available online. It is possible the CNN will be picking up this story as well.

I felt rather good today too. I was a bit exhausted from yesterday. I overdid it a little bit. It is not the best idea to walk 3+ miles a week after surgery. My gas pressure had been decreasing greatly. The only time I really feel it is when I wake up and have been laying still for an extended period of time. As I sit up and get out of bed I can feel the gas moving around and it is rather uncomfortable. As soon as I start walking it dissipates. I was able to eat an entire bean and cheese burrito from Taco Bell today. My belly actually grumbled and told me I was hungry today! Yay! I am getting my appetite back! Over all, today was a great day! I could not be happier with my progression and recovery.
     Today was mentally exhausting, but you are not here to read about my personal life problems. I ended up doing a great deal of walking today. I walked around a mile to a nail salon and got a pedicure. That felt amazing. I was able to have a great conversation with the woman working on me. I then walked additional mile back to the hospital where the surgery was preformed to refill my pain medicine. I have started reducing my pain med intake. I now take 10mg oxycodone every 5-6 hours. The pain is getting much more bareable. The gas pressure is decreased greatly by walking.The gas pressure is the most painful part of this whole procedure. During the hand assisted laproscopic surgery they inflate your abdomen with a gas and what is left from that is what causes gas pressure.  My biggest piece of advice to anyone undergoing the surgery would be to remain active! Walk. Even if it isn't fast. Or far. Your endurance will build up and you will feel better. After picking up my meds I was getting tired so I decided to walk another mile back to the hotel. My pace slowed dramatically on this last leg of the journey. I may have over done the last mile because I was starting to feel pain in my belly with every step I would take.

    All that walking did me some good though! I, for the first time since surgery, was actually hungry! I ordred a pizza and ate 2 whole pieces (minus crusts)! That was dramatically increased compared to any other meal I had eaten. I didn't even take a nap today! But, boy, am I tired!
Today was nothing too bad or good. Rather mediocre but I guess that is a good thing in recovery. We did a little bit of walking. Mostly spent the day running errands. Eric returned back to San Diego so I am down to 2 caregivers instead of 3. The rental car has been returned as well so now all of the travels will be done by foot or in my dad's little truck. It is a bit cozt with three people, but I am at least far enough into my recovery that I can handle sitting in an akward position for a small amount of time. I usually take a nap or two, but I only took a
Today was overall a pretty great day! I had a rough night’s sleep because of an abundance of gas build up in my shoulders, chest and abdomen. Add that in with some wild dreams from the pain meds. I thought the day was going to be rough. I took a nice long, hot shower to start with. Spent some time doing my hair and make-up and put my contacts in. Wore me regular (but extra loose) clothes. Today I wanted to look like a normal person again. With this all done I was already starting to feel better. I had half of a half of a pop tart for breakfast then we loaded up in the car.

We ventured to the Museum of Natural History and Butterfly Garden at the college campus. We took a nice easy stroll through the butterfly garden and through the museums. It felt great! I brought along my kidney pillow to use to apply pressure when there was pain and also to protect my wounds from strangers bumping into me. We did take several break to sit throughout this adventure but the stimulation and fresh air was wonderful! I regret not doing more outside the day before. Walking really helps to break up and spread the gas remaining from the surgery and keeps my spirits up high.

               After the museum we went to “The Wing Stop”. (This is also the same place where I first met Christine in person!) We had to sit at a low table with chairs. I am far from ready to sit at high bar stools with no support. I ordered from the kids menu and ate 3 chicken nuggets before a wild hiccup caught me off guard. OUCH! That was my first experience with severe stabbing pain since the surgery. I was unprepared and it caused me to lose what little of an appetite that I did have. I sat the rest of the meal applying pressure to my kidney pillow hoping that I did not hiccup again, and if I did I would be ready. Applying pressure when something like that happens helps immensely. I can only think, “Man, if that one hiccup hurt that bad, what would a sneeze feel like?” Let’s hope I don’t have to explain that pain next.

               After dinner we came back to the hotel and took a much needed nap from such an adventurous day. Woke up to just stay in the rest of the night and cuddle and watch movies. Oh! I also received a nice shoulder rub to help alleviate some of the pressure of gas build up. Thanks!


    My name is Valerie. I am a heavily tattooed, agnostic, motorcycle rider. I am also a Living Kidney Donor.