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Dentist!?!

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I had my first dental appointment since my transplants. UCSF asks that you not have any dental work done for at least 6 months after your transplant but I begged because I didn’t want to miss out on this years benefits/coverage. I know, who begs to have dental work done! I have a lot that needs to be done though because I also have Lyme disease which destroys your teeth regardlessly of how well you take care of them.

In the past I haven’t been able to get numb at the dentist or best case scenario the numbness would last 30 seconds and then I would need another shot. I was of course terrified to go again this time because of the insanely barbaric memories I have of sobbing shaking while my teeth would get drilled on with no numbness (this includes not being numb for root canal). Nobody could go with me this time, it was me myself and I…. Well, Coleman was able to stop by for 5 minutes before he had to go to work and give me a hug and kiss. He is so sweet.

I told the dentist that I was confident that all it took was a new liver in order for me to get numb. And with that, the numbing shots began. He started with his best stuff, no playing around with little old lidocaine.

You know what? It was a lot better this time! It only took 4 shots and one during the middle to fill 2 cavities! I also had a bunch of people praying for me. It is my New Years miracle.

I understand why they don’t want you to have dental work though until 6 months out. It kicked my butt! I’m so tired! They also put you on antibiotics for a week before so you don’t get an infection. My mouth is still very sore for some reason.

I’m glad to have that done and over with! Now on to a New Year!!

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Pictures of my NEW LIVER!

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I got a copy of my CT scan that I had taken at ER last Friday night. I took it with me to UCSF and the transplant surgeon said it looks perfect. I will make this a short post and let the awe-inspiring picture speak for itself. This organ used to give life to a young man. He loved to ride his bike and that is all I know about him. It is such a miracle to look at and see what once gave him life and filtered his blood, etc etc, is now the same beautiful liver that does the same thing for me! Thank you God! And thank you Kell-bell for making this all possible, I love you sister!


Look at that big beautiful liver (top left for those who don’t know…)

Can you find the elephant? 😛 Ok it’s the only reason I put this picture up, it makes me laugh haha

Improvement

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Today was a big improvement from yesterday! Up and down, hey, at least it is more interesting this way and it gives me a better story to tell. Granted, I can’t wait until the day where all I have to talk about is God’s goodness (ok well that is EVERYDAY… God is good, ALL the time!!!), wedding bells and and shopping sales!

My pain has greatly diminished today, replaced by pure exhaustion. However, yesterday was a very long day. I’ve been snoozing a lot today. I also took my steri-strips off today, my scar looks great! I will have to take another picture soon, you won’t believe the difference of 3 weeks!

I also had my first bath today post-transplant. I got to soak in the tub, candles lit and music playing… I was finally able to relax, no staples, no steri-strips… heaven I tell you!

The only problem today is the hematoma on my liver has been causing me more pain, a lot of constant pain. It’s hard to keep track of the different pains (back pain, stomach pain, incision pain, hematoma/liver pain, referred shoulder pain, take your pick!)…

I just thought I would put up a quick post and give the good news that my stomach pain is a lot better (though the pain is still there for sure, it is an improvement from yesterday where I thought I was going to die from pain). Praise God!

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17

Long day @ UCSF

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Yesterday my transplant coordinator called and said that she was concerned about how much pain I have been having. She said that she wanted me to go to the clinic tomorrow (Tuesday mornings the liver transplant clinic is specifically for post-transplant liver patients and every week it varies which doctors work the clinic, and which doctor you will see). I called my coordinator back yesterday evening and told her I was doing a bit better and we agreed that if I was indeed better this morning, I wouldn’t go and if I was worse, then I would go ahead and come to my clinic appointment.

Well last night, after About 10 minutes of laying in bed, I was in tears. It takes a lot to make me cry these days because I now know what real pain is. I had to pull a roly poly move to get out of bed. Coleman tells me that I am a roly poly because when I am in pain, I curl up in a ball and when I need to get out of bed I have to rock back and forth and roll side to side. It’s awesome.

So, after 10 minutes I had to leave my beloved bed and move to the chair to sleep (which is where I have ended up the last 3 nights from pain preventing me from sleeping). I still didn’t sleep well in the chair and when I woke up with the sun this morning, I knew I needed to keep my appointment… or go to ER! The pain was intense. Think of lemmings starting a massive inferno in your stomach because that is exactly what my stomach felt like, constantly. At least if I kept the appointment, they would know what to do with me properly as UCSF is familiar with transplants, where as Kaiser, well not so much.

After my appointment with the doctor, he asked that I go get an ultrasound. At this point the pain was so bad that Coleman had to get me a wheelchair because I could barely walk. The ultrasound showed that I have a small hematoma on the edge of my liver. They weren’t too concerned about it and said that it’s common and should reabsorb on it’s own. Thankfully the other hematoma (blood clot) that was on my incision 2 days ago had disappeared by today. So no worries there. My arteries in my liver are flowing perfectly. I also got to see my new liver for the first time. Boy, oh boy! Literally… it is a big boy sized liver. =) That must be why it is working so well, mr gigantor blood filter. Then, we had to wait again and have a 2nd ultrasound done by the radiologist (not the tech). Then we had to wait for my doctor to call us to tell us we could go home or if we were going to be admitted… Talk about hurry up and wait… which is not any fun when you have a pain level of 8! We were there for 4-5 hours!

They did give us the OK to go home though. They gave me some suggestions for the pain and also decreased my cellcept (one of my antirejection meds) that can have side-effects of stomach issues. I hope these suggestions will help and the pain will subside sooner than later! Sorry for such a boring post…. it was kind of a blah day, even the weather was overcast. On the bright side, the doctor said I can take baths now, that my incision has healed up nicely! There is only one spot that still has a scab on it!

Dear Summer,
Please come back! I miss you and the smiling sunshine.
Thanks,
Your biggest fan

I hope had a terrific Tuesday!

Paracentesis, Kelly’s 2nd day and no kidney flare up!

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This morning, after talking to some other cirrhosis patients, I figured out that yesterday’s symptoms had nothing to do with a kidney flare up. It was because I hadn’t eaten! When my blood sugar gets low, I get so sick. I get shaky, nauseous, sweaty and loose my appetite. I don’t understand why, I don’t have diabetes. However, maybe they should check that again… anyways, the good news is that I really don’t think it was my kidney acting up, this girl just needing to eat some grub! Mmm and let me tell you, Kelly (I’m staying at her house for the week) makes some ridiculously good food! Last night we had tacos (with my brother-in-law’s awesome salsa).

Today Kelly and my mom went to San Francisco again. I would love to be able to go with them but unless it’s necessary, it is just too much for me right now. I’m a certified couch potato! Haha However, I can’t wait to be a certified energy-addict post-transplant. I can’t wait to get back on the wakeboard! (Speaking of, you should see my adorable 8 year old niece, she was practicing in the living room standing on her wakeboard having her daddy and uncle pull her with a rope, she is a wakeboarding pro for being 8!) Ok back to San Francisco, sorry for my rabbit trails, today Kelly is having a chest x-ray, EKG and a physical. I hope and pray it goes quick and easy for them!

Now, I wanted to write a little about my paracentesis. This is mostly for the benefit of other cirrhosis patients who don’t know what to expect. It was my first time (and I’m sure everyone has a different story of how theirs went) but thought I would tell a little about it. For those reading who have no idea what a paracentesis is, here is a quick blurb I copied from webmd. Also, if you don’t like hearing the details of medical procedures, stop here. =)

“Paracentesis is a procedure to take out fluid that has collected in the abdominal cavity (peritoneal fluid). This fluid buildup is called ascites. The fluid is taken out using a long, thin needle put through the belly. Paracentesis also may be done to take the fluid out to relieve belly pressure or pain in people with cancer or cirrhosis.

I went in and unfortunately had Dr. Evil (you know, the one from austin powers), ok not really, but he could have been. He numbed my stomach with a lidocaine shot, it felt kind of like a small bee sting. This wasn’t as bad as the lidocaine shot they gave me for my liver biopsy though. The doctor was working with an ultrasound tech. The tech used the ultrasound to locate the best spot to insert needle to remove the excess fluid. It was kind of neat to see where all the fluid was. I’m not gonna lie, it did hurt when he stuck the draining needle in but it wasn’t too bad. I layed there for about 45 minutes while they drained off 3 liters of excess fluid from my stomach. The doctor left as soon as the needle was inserted. At the end, when the fluid was gone, that is when the pain began. Now I don’t know if that is normal or if it is because my body metabolizes pain killers at a very fast rate and the lidocaine had worn off by that point. It was severe stomach cramping type of pain, so the tech called the doctor. After he didn’t show up, she just pulled the needle out. That hurt even worse. I don’t want to scare anyone and of all the stories I have read about having these procedures done, I haven’t heard any like mine. Most of them are easy and pretty painless. When the doctor finally decided to show up again, I told him how much pain I was in, his response, “well I would give you more lidocaine but that would mean that I have to watch you because I would be giving you a drug” (he also said something about being too busy!) Well, how rude of me to even think of being an inconvenience to him!

Anyways, I was super excited to have the procedure because I wanted to be skinny minny again. However, that was not the case. I was really disappointed that it didn’t take off all the weight. This was probably because not all of the fluid/edema/ascites was not in my abdomen but the remaining bit was in my tissue. You can’t exactly stick a needle into tissue. So I was happy to get off 8 pounds via paracentesis (the remaining I lost with diuretics and homeopathics) but at the same time I was sad that it wasn’t more. In the end, I just have to make up my mind to be thankful in everything and remind myself that it could be so much worse!