Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Its been one week since surgery

And dammit, I got my period last night. The normal misery that a woman experiences once a month is certainly magnified when one is recovering from surgery. But it sucks even more when one is down a kidney. Why? The kidney is involved in red blood cell production. So getting your period reduces your blood count all that much more.

The kidneys produce EPO, which is the hormone that stimulates red blood cell (RBC) growth. (It is also the illegal doping product that many endurance athletes have been caught using in the past....). Since I am in the acute recovery phase, I am producing 1/2 the amount of EPO that I am used to producing. And I can feel the difference! When I walk up and down stairs, I feel like I am living at altitude.....that feeling of "holy shit I am out of shape". My heart races with gentle bits of activity and I get tired pretty easily. I find myself occasionally gasping for air just like I have found myself in the past when I've been at any significant altitude (+9000 ft). The reason for this is because the red blood cells deliver oxygen to the tissues. My oxygen carrying capacity is acutely reduced because for the past week, I've had half the ability to produce RBCs. This is why people who have kidney disease feel so tired all the time....their ability to produce RBCs slowly decreases. Mine is just a result of the transplant.....and this will change. I've been told it takes about six months for my sole kidney to fully take-over responsibility for the functions of my entire body. I'm banking on the fact that I am pretty healthy and strong, so maybe it will be a bit quicker.

And note, this is just my understanding on what is going on, from what I know about kidney function. I am not a kidney expert by any means, I only know what I feel, so I have attempted to tie together what I feel with what I know.......


  1. it sounds like it it going good, keep it up and hopefully we'll see ya

  2. Roz, I will NEVER EVER bitch to Seth again about getting my period, dam girl, after all of this, they should name that Iron Man after you and call it the Roz Awesome 70 mile race!

  3. Hahaha, thanks Dot :). Nonono, of course you can still bitch about your period......now you can jsut provide scientific rationale to prove your misery :).