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Picture of Pain

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I had my UCSF clinic appointment today. My doctor was finally someone that I knew…. Dr. Kang! He was the surgeon who let me know they had found a liver donor for me. He was one of the main surgeons on my transplant team. So thank you to those who prayed that I would get a nice doctor today.

I brought the CT scan (on disk) with me that was taken at Kaiser ER on Friday. He showed it to me in 3D, it was amazing!! My liver goes almost touches my heart it is so big! I had an air bubble in my chest, he told me someone needed to burp me hahah….

He said there was a little fluid near my lungs but that was normal and that I do not have pleural effusion, as Kaiser had led me to believe. He also said that this amount of pain couldn’t be caused by a pleural effusion anyway. Other than that he said it looked like a perfect scan and he showed me where everything was. It was pretty amazing. Technology these days… to be looking at a screen that has a picture of the organs that beat, filter and keep you alive, every single second of every day. What a miracle. God sure outdid Himself when he made us huh!

He did an exam and said that it looks like my ribs are fractured from the transplants. During surgery they pull apart your ribs with a rib spreader. I had two surgeries and was on the table, ribs spread for a combined total of 20 hours. You may or may not recall but I have had major issues with my ribs in the last year or so, they are very brittle and easily wounded. So this doesn’t come as a surprise to me. And it explains why I have pain in so many different areas.

You can read my previous post regarding my rib problems here: Slipping Ribs Post

I am thankful that it is not some chronic issue, or problems with rejection, or any other thing that could go wrong (there is a lot…) So, granted fractured ribs does suck, but they will heal without causing problems to anything else.

Also, because Dr. Kang really understood how much pain I was in (thankfully a doctor that got it!), he gave me serious pain killers. Haha, as if dilaudid isn’t serious enough. He told me to increase it to as often as I need and upped the dosage AND gave me Norco to take with it. Granted I feel weird taking so many drugs… but it does help the pain! Praise God! However, these knock me OUT! Like night night sleep tight Kortni! They knock me out like I was in the hospital, falling asleep mid-sentence (or mid-type). Forgive me if my post doesn’t make sense or I have errors.

So that was the “good” news. The bad news is that my TAC level (anti-rejection med) was, yet AGAIN, a little too low for their liking. He increased it from 6mg twice a day to 8mg twice a day!!! I was released at 3mg. An 8mg dosage is on the high scale when it comes to prograf (the anti-rejection medicine, the lab for it is just called TAC level). It is already causing me some serious side-effects (or seriously embarrassing haha), none of which I plan to discuss here, in a somewhat public eye… The doctor said it is much better to increase it now then to go into rejection and then be on insanely high doses of anti-rejection meds. I guess he has a point!

Another side-effect that has been getting worse is my lack of appetite. Nothing has a taste. I walk down the candy isle and nothing looks good. The smell of meat repulses me. They say this will get better after a few months (they say that about almost everything… 6 months… 1 year.. just keep holding on…). It better improve because my honey and I are foodies! Nice restaurants, cheese plates, good chocolate… yumm! I just have to pull him away from his 4, yes 4, jobs! Crazy, busy guy! I am proud of him though!

Oh! The secret book giver has been revealed. It turns out my Auntie Sue gave me the Julie Klassen book. AND she said she has a bunch of them! Oh happy day! She said she has crates of them and a bunch of Julie Klassen books too that I can borrow anytime (she is my next-door neighbor too!). That totally made my day to find out who gave it to me and that she has more! So… Thank you Auntie Sue!!! I love you!

Yet again, have I mentioned how awesome my family is!


About Kortni

I received a living donor liver transplant from my amazing and selfless sister, when it failed, I got a 2nd transplant 4 days later from my other hero! I have an amazing family and wonderful, supportive boyfriend. I love hiking, photography, natural health care, being outdoors and crafts. Did I mention that Jesus is my best friend and He has blessed me immeasurably!

3 responses »

  1. Oh honey this is good news. Keep us posted and sleep sleep sleep. Maybe you will wake up hungry soon! I always knew we’d find out what Sue was hoarding over there…lol..books!

    • Thank you! I have been sleeping a lot! These pain meds really knock me out, I feel like a zombie. Now that I finally got control of the pain though I am not needing as much, I think it was a vicious cycle… I just needed to get on top of it!
      Yes, she has lots and lots of books! Yay for me (and that we like the same kind of books!) =D

  2. Great Kortni, glad you are getting some relief. Next time you talk with your doctors, I would ask them about putting a plan together now (soon the better) for getting off the pain meds without that horrible withdrawl. I found that just after a week of me having to go on morephine, I was having hot flashes, goosebumps etc. Now when I have to take a does, I start planning immediately (sort of like prednisone) to titrate myself off of them. Then once that is finished, you should be ready and able to rejoin your old life and get back to being yourself. But for now, I would enjoy the sleeping from no paid and concentrate of getting well! Your story is so inspiring. It brings me so much hope!


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