I wish I was talking about Hawai'i, but I am not. Besides, my 4 year old niece Kate says I'm "too old" to go to Hawai'i even though she keeps asking when we're going to go. No, the paradise I'm talking about is the paradise of not going to dialysis and having a working kidney.
Yes, today is 3 weeks since my kidney transplant. I look great. I'm not trying to be all high and mighty on my looks, but I look significantly better than I ever did on dialysis. My face isn't puffy, I have color in my cheeks, my ankles are so skinny without all that fluid... okay so that does sound shallow but come on, it's been 2 years. I have energy, I don't have to get up at 5 am on Saturdays, I have to find the bathroom when I go places... it's fantastic.
I went to transplant clinic yesterday. Everyone kept commenting on how good I looked. When my surgeon, Dr. Nelson, came in the room and saw my creatinine, his reaction was as such- "Holy sh*t that's a great creatinine!!!" and trust me, he said it with all 3 exclamation points. He's a really good surgeon. Seriously the best. And apparently I didn't drive him to retirement like he said I might so that's good news for all those people I saw in the waiting room at clinic who look like I used to: pale, puffy, tired.
Dialysis is by no means a substitute for having a kidney. It keeps you alive when you are missing that major organ, yes, but it's not a replacement. My new kidney has been using the last 3 weeks to get all the fluid out of my body and subsequently I weigh nearly 5 kilos, or 11 pounds less than I did the day I left dialysis. The majority of that was fluid weight that dialysis just can't get off. That is also a sign that lil' Randall- as my best friend Jamey named my new kidney- is working well. So is the fact that my blood pressure is trending on the too low side of things with no medication, and the fact that my hematicrit is up to 31 with no iron treatments or blood transfusions.
Would 3 weeks in Hawai'i be a better, more true form of paradise? Probably. But I'm not complaining. Especially after 2+ years of dialysis and all that comes along with it. 3 weeks of a working kidney is paradise enough for me. I'm looking forward to many, many more weeks of para, para, paradise.