Thursday, April 24, 2008

Lots to celebrate

Following up on the entry made three days ago, let me summarize what I learned earlier today from Dr. Frederike Bemelman, a kidney specialist at the AMC.

The main item was more detail about the results of the kidney biopsy done last week: there is no indication of any degree of rejection; no toxicity (a possible consequence of using Neoral, one of the anti-rejection medications I’ve been taking); and no problems with the filters of the transplanted kidney.

Other results of recent tests: no indication of diabetes (those with kidney illness are more at risk of diabetes); creatinine level good (97); cholesterol okay (5.5); LDL level okay (3.2); liver function excellent; hemoglobin very good (8.5); and, finally, no warning signs in my urine (no trace of sugar, protein or abnormal cells ).

In brief, lots to celebrate!

One consequence of the various tests is that my medication can be changed. Instead of Neoral, I’ll switch to a new anti-rejection drug, Certican (Everolimus). At the same time, I’ll stop taking Myfortic, another anti-rejection drug that I’ve been on since the transplant. About a quarter of the patients using Certican experience some side effects the first few weeks, such as skin rash and slightly swollen feet. (If I am one such patient and negative side effects persist, I’ll be switched back to Neoral.) The medication changeover will start a week from Saturday. In mid-June I’m due back at the AMC for a checkup and the usual blood and urine tests.

This journal hasn’t been used to record much detail about medication, but on this one occasion it seems worth saying a little about this aspect of living with a transplanted kidney. It’s likely that the day is coming when other solutions will be found that will no long require a lifelong regimen of drugs for those who have organ transplants, but for now that’s not the case.

I made at stab at saying how grateful I was for the outstanding work she and her colleagues have done for me and Nancy, but tears prevented me from getting very far. Finally all I could do was kiss Dr. Bemelman on the cheek, a surprise for both of us.

Note: Instead of a photo, I’m posting with this the latest kidney-related cartoon from The New Yorker. A real-estate agent is telling prospective buyers of a house that there is one additional selling point. The present owners are “willing to throw in their kidneys.”


Else10 said...

That's fantastic news, Jim! God is Good! (Notice that you only have to add an extra "o" to "God" to get "good"...) Have a blessed Pascha!

Steve Hayes said...

Glad to hear of your progress!

Christ is risen!

Thea said...

Rejoicing in this excellent news.
Christ is risen! Thea

Elaine Baskin said...

Beautiful. Love, Elaine