Saturday, 30 November 2013

My annual check-up test results

I just did a happy dance through the house for the past 30 minutes, after I received my test results! To call it miraculous would be an understatement!

Here is a comparison of my GFR and Creatinine levels:

                        Before the operation    Day of discharge     6 Weeks later    One year later

Creatinine:                   78                               109                       117                   96
GFR: (ml/min)              84                           not tested                   62                   79

Creatinine is a chemical waste product in the blood that passes through the kidneys to be filtered and eliminated in urine. The chemical waste is a by-product of normal muscle contractions. Creatinine is made from creatine, a supplier of energy to the muscle. Creatinine tests help doctors determine kidney function. Normal values are between 80 and 120 depending on age and size. 

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used by physicians and other medical professionals to see if the kidneys are working correctly. In basic terms, it is a measurement of how much liquid and waste is passing from the blood through the tiny filters in the kidney, called the glomeruli, and out into the urine during each minute. The test measures how much creatinine is in the blood. This shows how well the kidneys are performing. In a normal healthy person the GFR stays close to the same value all of the time. The test is done by taking blood from a person and sending it to a laboratory. Normal values are between 80ml/min and 110ml/min depending on age and size.

So as you can see from this comparison, my kidney function with just one is almost as good as it was with two! Compare this to the fact that I was told during my tests not to be alarmed if the GFR is as low as 40, because that's apparently acceptable for donors. 

Now you'll understand why I'm so happy and grateful! I saved my friend's life and I'm physically no worse off because of it. It's truly a miracle.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Our 1-year transplant anniversary!

It's surreal to think that it's been exactly a year today since our very successful transplant operation! Some days it feels like yesterday, and other days like a dream.

What's undeniable is how well we're both doing. Pieter's creatinine levels have been normal since the day he received his new kidney, and is making the most of his good health. Pieter and Lizelle are finally fulfilling their dream of moving out of the city to leafy Surrey this weekend to enjoy a quieter life amongst all their friends. They also recently had a lovely 3-week tour of Italy. Pieter is healthy, positive, full of energy and most of all full of life.

I've been back to my full health after just 3 months and feel extremely grateful and blessed to be my old self as before the operation.

We would again like to thank everyone involved in this miracle: family, friends, colleagues, blog visitors, and everyone at the Royal Free London Renal Unit. Without all your love, support and expertise this would not have been possible.

Today I had my annual check-up, which is routine and which I  will have every year for the foreseeable future.  I was told that I'm still in very good health and that everything is normal, as can be expected. How amazing that one can give someone an organ and still lead a normal life!

My lovely wife, Natasja wanted to do something special for those unfortunate people who are still struggling with kidney disease/ failure, to show them there are people in the world who care about them, and to bring them comfort and hope.  So on 09 November she organised a crochet event to raise funds for Kidney Research UK, raise awareness about kidney disease, and to crochet granny squares which were used to create beautiful blankets for dialysis patients. The event was a big success and we managed to raise £504 on the day, with enough granny squares to make 7 blankets. You can read all about the event on her blog my clicking HERE.

Today I had the honour and privilege of hand delivering the blankets to the Royal London Hospital's Dialysis Centre.

These lovely ladies have offered to give the blankets to a few of the most needy individuals to bring them some comfort in these difficult times. I wish to show them that there are altruists out there, willing to help the sick and needy, asking for nothing in return. I'm sure our story will give them hope and keep them positive, that they can also experience the miracle of a new life.

I had the pleasure of personally handing over two of the blankets to two very happy and amazed people. They were so pleasantly surprised that a complete stranger would come and hand over such a lovely gift to them. And that's exactly why we decided to do it. We're all connected, and we're all a part of God (not apart from God) so what we do for others, we also do for ourselves.