7 weeks since the kidney transplant

By Nancy Noble
Kidney Recipient

It has been over 7 weeks since the kidney transplant and I feel really good. The incision is completely healed and it looks really good.

I am pretty much back to normal. I have been able to work in the garden, but while wearing a mask and always wearing gloves. I am walking daily one to two miles at a slower rate than what I usually walk, but that’s OK.

All my lab work is really good except my glucose is fluctuating, probably because we are still trying to adjust my prograf (anti-rejection medication). I am going to the clinic weekly for labs and seeing the doctor every four weeks.

I am looking forward to relaxing this summer as I am not back to work until September.

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Feeling better every day after kidney transplant

By Nancy Noble
Kidney recipient

It’s been three weeks since my surgery and I am feeling a lot better.

Nancy Noble with her husband, Mark. Nancy had a kidney transplant April 2, 2014.

Nancy Noble with her husband, Mark. Nancy had a kidney transplant April 2, 2014.

My pain is pretty minimal and I am only taking one pain pill a day. I have been walking in my neighborhood two blocks twice a day. I also seem to have more energy, probably because the pain is less.

Most of my labs have come back very good. Before the transplant, I was on three blood pressure pills. Now, I check my blood pressure in the morning and at night, and I only take the medicine if my blood pressure is at a certain level. So far, I have only needed to take one of the blood pressure medicines about every third day. Super kidney!

Unfortunately, my glucose level has been high, so I am on a medicine to help lower it. Hopefully, this will help.

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Beaumont Health System features kidney donor, recipient on website

By Michelle Rogers
Kidney donor

I became acquainted with Beaumont Health System’s media relations coordinator, Mark Geary, on Twitter just before he started his job with the hospital. He was searching what people were saying on the social networking site about his new employer and I happened to be tweeting about my and Nancy Noble’s upcoming surgery. The relationship has resulted in a fantastic piece, coordinated by Mark, on the hospital’s website that gives Nancy and I a platform to share our story in an effort to encourage more people to consider live kidney donation.

What I like about the story and video, packaged together here, is that, contrary to the WDIV Channel 4 news piece, it incorporates information from one of the doctors, Dilip Samarapungavan, involved in Nancy’s kidney transplant.

“People doing something special purely out of the goodness of their hearts, purely because they know it’s the right thing to do, on a human level, is so incredible,” Samarapungavan is quoted as saying in Mark’s piece. “The data is actually very clear. If you’re healthy and all of your testing is normal at the time of donation, people who donate kidneys do excellent. It doesn’t have any long-term impact on their health, in general.”

Information from the experts and specialists involved is critical to a well-rounded piece, and improves the understanding of readers.

It’s my and Nancy’s hope that we will inspire more people to consider live kidney donation. For more information on Beaumont’s transplantation services, visit the hospital’s website.

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Going back to work after donor nephrectomy

By Michelle Rogers
Kidney donor

I’ll be going back to work Monday, 19 days after donating my kidney to Nancy Noble April 2 at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. It’s about nine days earlier than expected and to the surprise of many people around me, but not me. I’ve been determined since the beginning to go back as soon as possible, but needed to wait for my doctor’s appointment April 15 to ask for the go-ahead.

My follow-up appointment was Tuesday with Dr. Steven Cohen, the surgeon. Screen Shot 2014-04-19 at 9.48.21 PMI had to give blood and urine samples, and he checked my incision site and asked me how I was feeling. It was a little rough driving the hour to get there — hitting all of those potholes and being jostled around while still healing — but otherwise I felt fine. He agreed to let me go back to work the following Monday, giving me Wednesday through Sunday to continue to recover and ease back into my daily routine.

And get back into my routine, I did. Immediately.

Later that same day, I had an appointment to have my hair cut, colored and highlighted. On Wednesday, I went shopping at the mall, but didn’t find anything that fit right, probably because I am still a little swollen, or at least that’s what I told myself. On Thursday, I went grocery shopping and did some housecleaning. Friday was more shopping, but this time with a friend, and I had a great evening with friends at the Tigers’ baseball game at Comerica Park. More shopping and cleaning today, and tomorrow is Easter, so my boyfriend and I will spend brunch with my mother.

As you can see, I am feeling like my old self — doing more shopping than laying around in bed — and now I am ready to dive into work.

I am ready to get out of sweats and back into professional attire.

I am ready to get out of sweats and back into professional attire.

I am a little nervous about what that will entail since the community media lab I was running was shut down just as I was going on medical leave, and I’ll have a new gig going back. I am still waiting to find out exactly what that will entail. I am usually excited about change and new endeavors, but I’ve been out of the loop and not involved in the planning process while on medical leave, so I don’t feel as confident or in control as I usually do.

I keep telling myself whatever will be, will be, and not to sweat it. I take comfort in my decision to donate one of my kidneys to my boyfriend’s sister, my fast recovery process and opportunity to finally get out of pajamas, leggings and workout clothes and back into professional attire, even though I didn’t end up buying anything new.

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Recouperating at home after kidney transplant

By Nancy Noble
Kidney recipient

I have been home from the hospital for a week now. It is nice to be home. I think each day is a little better than the last.

It’s kinda hard to tell if the pain is better or not. I am able to get around the house better and have been walking on my street. Today I walked from corner to corner, which I think was pretty good!

I am also doing more things for myself — taking my blood pressure and my meds on my own. I have been making my own lunches and breakfast, too. Sarah helped Mark out today and vacuumed. First time ever! I vacuumed for my mom all the time. Kids are different these days. I’m sure Sarah thought it was a big deal, but she did a great job without complaint.

Sarah goes back to school tomorrow, so we will be back into the schedule of school. Mark goes back to work, also. So far, all my blood work has come back great and even though I need to go to the lab twice a week for blood work, the doctor doesn’t need to see me for two weeks. I guess that’s a good sign that he is happy with my progress. My blood pressure has been really good, too. I haven’t had to take blood pressure medicine for three days. Yeah, Michelle’s kidney is supercharged!

Stay tuned for further updates.

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Recovering from nephrectomy

By Michelle Rogers
Kidney donor

Yesterday marked the one-week anniversary since my nephrectomy as I donated my kidney to my boyfriend’s sister, Nancy Noble. I came home on Saturday and the last five days have been pretty uneventful. For the most part, I’ve stayed in bed, keeping entertained on my iPhone. Today, I decided to pull out my laptop and finally write an update.

Jim Walsh, my boyfriend, has been serving as my caregiver, which basically means he’s making my meals and taken on all the household chores — for now. I don’t think this is going to last much longer as he has seen I am pretty capable of doing all of this myself, I just haven’t felt like it. I feel a bit lazy, but I keep telling myself I have every right to milk this as long as I can because, after all, I just donated a kidney to his sister.

My pain has been relatively light. I can take hydrocodone every three hours, so up to eight a day, but I’ve been taking two or three per day.

This incision looks worse than it feels. It's about 4 inches long and was closed with surgical glue.

This incision looks worse than it feels. It’s about 4 inches long and was closed with surgical glue.

My incisions, where the surgeon cut my torso for the laparoscopic surgery, are healing fast, but don’t look very pretty. I am glad the doctors went with laparoscopy because, from what I’ve read and experienced, the amount of pain medication required, time in the hospital and time to return to work is significantly shorter, and cosmetic results are supposed to be better.

I have my first follow-up appointment with the doctor on Tuesday. I think everything is going pretty well. I haven’t had a lot of pain and the incisions are healing fast. I don’t expect there to be any problems.

For having undergone this major surgery just eight days ago, I am surprised to feel almost totally back to normal. I want people to know this wasn’t a big deal. Yeah, it’s a little more involved than donating blood, but probably equivalent to giving birth, maybe even easier — and you don’t have an 18-year commitment ahead of you.

Please consider the gift of life.

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Full days and fresh air as kidney recipient recovers

By Mark Noble
Husband/caregiver

Yesterday Nancy and I took two walks outside. We went two houses down one side, then back to our house and two houses the other way. This way we would never be far from home, so to speak.

Nancy “worked hard” during these walks. They were slow, slower than a grandmother in a walker. But that’s the speed Nancy needed to go, and it was her first foray outside since coming home on Sunday.

Nancy also took a two-hour nap today and has professed to do so each day.

I helped Sarah with her homework and continue to prepare all the meals. I’m exhausted, but I keep going. I did take a break today to go for my workout, which was a struggle because I was so tired, and I followed it with a swim, a hot tub and sauna. I think it was the shower at the end that woke me up.

I brought Nancy a hummus wrap for lunch, and dinner was our leftovers from school (Thanks Liz it was delicious!).

Today I planned to wake up Nancy before 9 for blood pressure, temperature and medications, and then make her breakfast as I did today. Perhaps later I’ll go back to bed, who knows? I might slip away to Nip and Tuck to see Becky and the crew for breakfast and coffee. That’s my biggest vice, but I love going there.

I have a social event for a few hours, but I’ll have to prepare dinner before I can go. I’m going to search Facebook to see which of Nancy’s friends wish to come over for a few hours to help keep an eye on things while I am out.

Each day is a long day — for both of us, I am sure. But, I’m glad to have them. I’ve forgotten all about my job, because I’m too busy to think about it. I can’t get a breather in except a moment here or there. I cleaned out the garage yesterday because I needed a break. I’ll do more today, probably that’s when I can drag trash out to the curb.

I tried to start my motorcycle, but it needs a new battery. I think I’m going to need a jumpstart myself soon, maybe a massage at Trim or my club.

More to come as I return to work soon.

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