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Saturday, 5 January 2013

IgA Nephropathy and me: Update 2: Transplant

Since I last wrote about this a few months back, there has been some good news.

My “brother with the hair” - a fit bloke who rides his bicycle at furious speeds around the roads of Leeds - travelled down to Oxford to be nuked internally, scanned, and generally prodded about by doctors and pretty nurses at the Churchill Hospital. The ‘boy done well’ and has been told he’s in very good nick. That’s one half of the news.

The second half is that my Renal Consultant has finally come round to the fact that I am incredibly pissed off with feeling rottenly knackered and has agreed that I am now “ill enough” to get some benefit from a kidney transplant.

With these two bits of good news coming within a few days of each other, my brother and I were each telephoned by our respective nurses asking us when we wanted all this to go ahead. My brother was told the earliest they could fit us in would be March.

Obviously that was a non-starter as it meant that there would be nowhere near enough time for me to heal up and get fit again for the TGO Challenge in May. So, we have plumped for a transplant in early June. We don’t have an exact date yet as they can’t book the theatres that far ahead.

So I shall stagger across Scotland this May under a gargantuan rucksack, with the help of EPO, intravenous iron and a rattly bottle of various pills. Hopefully I’ll be in far better shape than I was when I was on the walk last year, when my blood count was a measly 8.7. It’s now at a giddy 12.9, which is the highest it’s been for years. I’m feeling quite a bit better because of this. (I can see why Lance Armstrong likes the stuff…) This year I shall have all the wonderful thrills of the TGO Challenge knowing that a few days later I’ll be under the knife. I’ll be a few ounces heavier after the operation and my brother a few ounces lighter!

Kidney Transplant

I can’t even begin to tell you how grateful I am to my brother – and also to my other brother and sister, who also volunteered to give me one of their kidneys – and to the NHS for making this possible. Without Dave’s wonderful generosity and the NHS’s excellent doctors and nurses I would be facing a life on dialysis.

53 comments:

  1. Alan, hopefully the exertions of the challenge will mean that you are in the best possible physical shape for your surgery. That could have some benefits in terms of your post-op recovery.

    Obviously good wishes goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway.

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    1. Wowza, Dave! that comment arrived before I had posted the blog! It's true - I should be as fit as a flea. I'll just have to avoid Sugar Puffs, Cocoa Pops and Frosties...

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  2. Incredibly good news Alan. You have an incredible family and I think you're all rather brave x

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    1. Ta, Louise. It is rather good news for the new year!

      I'm not sure it's me that's being brave - but my brother with the hair, Dave, certainly is!

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  3. So a new challenge is underway apart from the easy one across Scotland. All the best mate, for both.
    Oh and Happy New Year

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    1. Thank you Al. And a splendid new year to you too!
      :-)

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  4. Brilliant mon ami.
    Hadn't read this when I emailed you.
    So just keep on with the EPO, and we will cruise across.

    So just need to organise the Daunder now!

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    1. We'll need to speak with his Lordship on that one.
      :-)

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  5. What a wonderful present for the New Year. All the very best of good wishes to both you and your brother. Amazing what can be achieved these days. (We, too, are incredibly grateful to the fantastic NHS.) Lucky you to be planning another Challenge - it's what keeps members of the Challenge Family going during the dreary winter weather......... John joins in sending our love and we hope Phil has a successful 10th crossing. Cheers Mary Allcock

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    1. Hi Mary and Hi John!
      It's lovely to hear from you both.
      Our team this year is Andy Walker (son in law of the Emersons), Phil and me. Phil's going in for a minor operation in a few weeks time (nothing too serious this time), Andy's just had an MRI scan for a problem he's been having for quite a while and then there's me. I suppose that between us we could probably cobble together a couple of fit "Frankensteinean" Challengers.
      It's great to hear that you're both still bowling along. There's no way I would miss out on Phil's tenth. It should be a great crossing.
      Love to you both
      Alan

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  6. All of the above! Makes my problems seem small and insignificant!

    Happy Happy New Year! Hope to see you in May.....

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    1. Thank you Laura
      :-)
      How's the damaged wing, Missy? Getting lots of wonderful clean French alpine air?
      Nice big Rhone reds will help the healing process, I'm sure!

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  7. That is good news Alan, I hope all goes well with the TGO Challenge and the transplant.
    You really do have a brother in a million!

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    1. I have a wonderful bunch of brothers & sisters (who'd have thought I have been saying that when we all lived together, eh?) who have rallied round brilliantly.
      I am one of six children. We always seemed to be squabbling over one thing or another, but there were enough of us to always have someone else to play with!

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  8. Wonderful news Alan. I'm so pleased to hear this. And what a top present you'll have post TGO eh? You defo owe ya brother a few beers...:)

    Happy New Year my friend :)

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    1. Dave's quite good at beers. Come to think of it, So's Gwyn. Perhaps we should arrange a get together for a proper session...
      Happy New Year to you too, Terry.
      We're all praying for some snow for you and Chris so you can get filming.

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  9. That's great news Alan and I expect you'll enjoy the Challenge that much more knowing the op is the following month. All the very best from us both.

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    1. Thanks, Gibson
      :-)
      Phil (Lord Elpus) made a good point - "I’m sure that we all feel a bit more relaxed knowing that you won’t have any stitching to unravel (note to self – remove turkey trussing needle & string from first aid kit)."

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  10. Good news indeed, Alan!
    I admire your determination and dedication to the TGO Challenge. I, on the other hand, would have jumped at the March option; I'm bloody impatient like that! :-)

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    1. I haven't missed a year since 1995 and I don't intend to let this get in the way now!
      :-)
      I see Tasmania getting it's bush fires out of the way now so it will be clear for your trip - there can't be much left to burn!

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    2. If I'm in Tasmania, there are serious questions to be asked of my navigation; the walk is in Western Australia! ;-)

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    3. That's a fairly healthy margin of error - I was "aiming off"
      :-)

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  11. What a great and strong family you have, Alan. Best wishes to you and your brother Dave for June

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  12. Great news, Alan!

    Your brother has done good - as you say!

    Get yourself fit-er in May and June will be easy-peesy!

    Best wishes for you and Dave in June.

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    1. Hi Sweetie!
      :-) Thank you.
      Just need to claw back some fitness now for May. Otherwise Lord Elpus & Mad'n'Bad will be dots on the horizon!

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  13. Hope everything goes well in June, and that you and your brother get back into the hills / on your bike soon afterwards.

    It's hard to think of a more brotherly act than giving a kidney. Did you get on well as kids? :-)

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    1. Interesting question...
      :-)
      Perhaps we were too close in age? Just 22 months between us. However we have been doing far better as grown-ups... (ish)
      :-)

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  14. Hi Alan,


    Well this sounds like a very good start of 2013. !! So I wish you a pleasant challenge preparation. I expect to see you in Montrose. It seems our routes will not cross before, alas.

    Rolf

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    1. Fair enough - I'll look forward to seeing you again, old fella!
      :-)

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  15. Perhaps you could become a record holding one-off statistic in Mick and Gayle's comprehensive analysis of the TGO - I am sure they could invent a new category for you.

    Bons voyages (nb use of plural).

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    1. I'm not so sure it would be record-breaking.
      :-)
      There have been quite a few Challengers over the years with artificial hips (Russ Manion springs to mind straight away - who did a Challenge barely weeks after his operation)
      I know of another very well known Challenger who coped with failing kidneys as well.
      In fact there are loads of medical conditions endured by Challengers! They are are pretty determined bunch!

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  16. Looking at the diagram, I think you ought get them to give you an extra liver and bladder at the same time. You might get a discount and it would obviate further spare part problems in the future :)

    Good luck!

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    1. I have this mental image of Steve Austin, the six million dollar man, bounding across the Highlands of Scotland...


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  17. Fantastic news Alan, you must be thrilled to pieces. It's a great start to the new year and I admire your courage for going ahead with the Challenge before the op,your courage for having the op and your brothers for supporting you. Well blooming done!

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    1. I'm not sure about this "courage" thing, Nina, as I'm the biggest cowardy custard I know. I hate dodgy bridges (I'd rather wade than fall off a dodgy looking bridge) I get dreadful vertigo and I've never done a courageous thing in my life that I can think of!
      Perhaps I'll inherit some of my brother's courage from his kidney - he really is a hero!
      :-)

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  18. Happy New Year - Top news - I can't quite believe that is where you put the new kidney though :)

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    1. Thank you, and Happy New year to you too, Paul
      :-)
      I have to admit to not knowing where they were going to put it, never having given it much thought. I had vaguely believed they they would whip one out and replace it, but not so!
      So now I will always have an excuse for being a fat bastard:
      "It's the extra kidney, Guv!"

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  19. Good news Alan. Hope it all goes well - TGOC and the op.

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    1. Thanks, CT
      :-)
      It's Phil's tenth Challenge, so there's no way I'm missing it! It should be a blast!
      I just need to make sure I'm back all in one piece for the op!

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  20. Hope everything goes well for you Alan - all the best. Chrissie

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  21. Just think of the pretty nurses Alan. I know I would.

    Look forward to more Tales From The TGO.

    And just think - if you say "now look, young whippernsapper, I'm in hospital next week so I think you should carry some of my supplies" - they might just do it ;-)

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    1. I've met most of the nurses already, James, and yes, they are lovely!
      But you obviously don't know Lord Elpus & Mad'n'Bad very well! They're both in a worse state than I'm in! And they're terrible curmudgeons who wouldn't help an old lady across the road unless they were named in her will. And if they were in her will, I wouldn't fancy her chances of making it unflattened by a truck to the other pavement!
      :-)
      I'm sure there will be many tales of derring-do and dreadful misadventures to come!

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  22. That EPO sounds like grand stuff, Alan. You couldn't send a dose up to Ardrishaig for me, could you? I was beginnning to wonder if you'd left enough time to have your brother's kidney plumbed in in time for this year's Challenge, but it sounds like you have everything planned nicely. I hope you have a great crossing (well, you seem to be the fittest of the three!) and that the ops go smoothly for both of you.

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    1. Hi Judith
      :-)
      I can't tell you how much EPO & the intravenous iron has changed my life! I'm like a new man. Well a slightly less knackered old man, anyway!
      But in order to keep up with the greyhounds, I'll just have to load Phil & Andy's rucksacks up with rocks. That usually does the trick. They do get a bit anstey at the end of the day when they find them though...

      Ardrishaig... A fine start... (ish) Are you sure about that? :-)

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    2. Hey! What's wrong with Ardrishaig? Apart from it faces the wrong way, of course. I believe you're heading West for a bit first, too?

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    3. Hello Missy!
      I suppose Ardrishaig's okay... if you like walking in forests for the first day... There are good coffee stops in the morning. It only gets to be great on the third day, really.
      I wouldn't start there again... But you'll have to cross it off your list on your way to twelve, of course, which is why we started there too...

      We are indeed heading west - on the ferry to Lismore - enroute to the excellent pub at the ferry in Appin.
      :-)
      It's all about the stops, really.

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  23. Good news there Alan, both that you will get a nice shiny new body part and that you get to do the Challenge to boot.

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    1. Cheers James
      A nice shiny pre-owned kidney! Only one previous owner, medium mileage in good working order. Full service history.
      :-)

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  24. Best of luck to you and your brother. I had myself replumbed at the Churchill 5 years ago. When I got home I think what helped me recover was walking each day. At first it was very short distance/time but I just increased it each day. Hope it goes well.
    Ben

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    1. Thanks Ben
      I've just bee reading your exploits on your blog. You've certainly been living life to the full since your replumb!
      If I can get to that level it will be amazing.
      Many thanks for dropping in.
      Alan

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  25. Hi Alan: I became aware of your blog posts while researching about IgA Nephropathy. I would love to be able to talk to you more about your experience with IgA Nephropathy. My email is wtam317@gmail.com if you have any availability to speak. Thanks!

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