Time flies. As I've mentioned before, I was part of two studies at Stanford relating to my mother's kidney transplant. The first, a study to see if the addition of a stem cell transplant would allow the patient to live without anti-rejection drugs post-kidney-transplant, was not a success. However, the overall positive outcome of the transplant was the important thing, and if they were able to learn from us, that's great.

I complained a lot about the testing while it was happening; it was scary, unknown, and the stakes were incredibly high at the time. Now that it's over, I find that it was a little tiny bit fun as well, which is why I wasn't hesitant to return to Stanford to continue on with the second study. It's an important one for the future of kidney donation, as it follows living donors for a number of years, testing their kidney function and overall health.

There have been few definitive studies on this subject, and if the findings eventually prove that the donation of a kidney creates little risk of future health problems, that means that potentially, insurance companies will have to quit being dicks. Most consider kidney donation a pre-existing condition, making it virtually impossible to find affordable individual insurance plans if you're self-employed like me. (Add clinical depression into the mix and you're basically screwed.)

But beyond the insurance implications, hopefully, more people will consider becoming kidney donors. I didn't expect to become such an advocate, but based on my experience, I truly believe that it's a great thing to do, and not as difficult physically as most people think. I've never felt better, and wonderfully, my mom feels better too. She rode a bike today. That is awesome.

The kidney function test itself is a real bitch; involving an IV in each arm and one heck of a lot of urinating into a container every 20 minutes for four hours. But that's old hat for me now, so it was almost a pleasure to meet with research nurse and all-around amazing person Geri Derby for my test last week. I watched a lot of Spongebob Squarepants and this show where a guy was learning how to wrangle ostriches. Then I ate a chicken sandwich and went home.

Yesterday I went in for a CT, which is kind of a spooky test due to the injection of of a contrast agent. I like to think of myself as some kind of radiology expert, since I worked a radiology center for six months, but I really don't know that much about it. Basically, the contrast makes your insides brighter. Also, at the moment of injection, it makes your body feel all warm, especially in the pelvic area. This is such an odd sensation that I asked the technician about it. Why there, since the solution is intravenous and ends up everywhere? She said that it was mostly all in the mind; your brain gets signals that it doesn't understand from the contrast, and asks, "What's usually going on when there's a warm flushy feeling?" Either urination or arousal, right? So that's where the sensation seems to center. SO WEIRD! The feeling disspates pretty quickly, though, and the test itself takes only a few minutes. Then I put my clothes back and ate Mexican food.

Anyway, I'm all done with that stuff for four more years, when I go back and do it all again. I can't wait!


anna said...

Wow! I didn't think to ask my CT technician why the warm feeling was kinda like having to pee. Now I know! You are pretty much the ultimate trooper. But possibly you know that by now.

Squidhelmet said...

Mmmm... warm radioactive pelvis. That sounds nice.

Yay for your mom ridin some bike! U go grl!