#82. Everyone is different - December 2012

Tomorrow it will be six weeks since I’ve donated.  I am back to work with a pretty normal workload at this point.  I don’t have any pain at all.   The dull ache inside has disappeared, there is less swelling around the main incision, most things have returned to normal.   There are two things I do notice, and maybe they are related. 

One is that I still have limited energy. For example, I’ll go for a walk for an  hour and when I come in and sit down my body feels like I have been hiking for three hours…way more tired than I should be for that amount of exercise.  I also find that I feel very weary a lot of the time.  That means that most of my free time is spent lying on the couch…  I’m a pretty get up and go type of person, and like to do lots of stuff.  Well mostly at home nothing is getting done.  The second thing I notice is that I am absentminded.  I keep forgetting things! Of course everyone is forgetful, but the rate at which I am forgetting things is much higher than usual.  Appointments, facts, stuff I’m supposed to be doing.  So the lack of energy is in my brain too! 

I am not too worried about all this, I see it all as part of the healing process.  The nephrologist said a 6 to 8 week recovery, and so I know my body is still recovering. Physically, mentally.

This weekend I chatted with the friend who had a nephrectomy two weeks after me, and his recovery is very different than mine.  He didn’t take any pain medication after the surgery.  Nothing!  And he feels good now.  When I look back at my husband’s nephrectomy, I think his pain was more severe than mine; he had a really hard time getting up and walking because it was so painful, and he couldn’t do stairs for a while.  That wasn’t my situation at all.  But he was back doing physical labour at work within a month; and there is no way I could do anything like that, even now.  It’s hard to predict how your body will react,  you just have to see what happens.

#81. On the mend - November 2012

I am back at work now, it will be five weeks tomorrow since the surgery.  I am physically pretty much recovered.  Nothing hurts!  The thing I notice is that my digestive system is not yet quite back to normal and my energy level is low.  I feel good when I start out the day, but if I am up and about I tank after a four or five hours, just very very tired, gotta-walk-slow-and-find-a-place-to-sit-down tired.  Which is unlike me because I like to walk fast.    The other day I was coming home from the library and a lady in her 80’s passed me on the sidewalk because I was walking so slow!  So I am pacing myself, trying to do what I feel I can, and just gradually getting better.

It was my day off today, and instead of doing any projects, I lay on the couch and watched two movies in a row.  Recovering isn’t hard work, it is kind of relaxing!

I’ve been thinking about the whole donation process.  This would all have been a lot easier if I could met or talked to people who had done this before.   I know Hamilton has only had two undesignated donors before, but I know in Toronto they’ve had several dozen.

 For some reason I couldn’t find any blogs of people who had done this in Canada, until just the other day. I think it has to do with the fact that there are different terms for what I did.  I’ve been called an undesignated donor, but it is also called a nondirected donor, or a non-directed donor, or an altruistic donor.  So depending on what you google and how you spell it, you may or may not find anything.  The Canadian Blood Service, the program that co-ordinates the matches, the program I was part of, does not have any contact with us, it all goes through the hospitals. 

In the meantime, I am back to work, which is great.  I am out and about seeing people, and a lot of people are asking how I am.  I met someone today who just found out about the donation, and she said, “And you did it for a stranger.  I knew Mennonites were nice, but I had no idea…”