Thursday, May 31, 2012

Annual Eye Check!

I went to see my opthamologist for my annual eye check up.  As someone who takes plaquenil, I have to get my eyes checked regularly as plaquenil, (or hydroxychloroquine) can affect the eyes.

So as usual, first I put my glasses on and read the letters being projected on the wall.  Then the doctor showed me a flip book with numbers in them that I had to read as quickly as possible. For example, the dots might be green and the numbers, which were comprised of dots, might be orange. I think that is to make sure I'm not colourblind.

After that, I had the dilating drops put in my eyes, waited about half an hour, then the doctor looked in my eyes again.  She said that everything looked fine and I would need to come back in one year.

So that's it! If you're on plaquenil, do not neglect or skip your ophthalmology appointments.  It's important. Also, when you do go for these exams, make sure you bring your sunglasses.  Since your pupils are dilated, you will be very sensitive to the light from the sun.  And that counts for winter, too. The light from the sun reflecting off of the snow and into your eyes might make your ability to see even worse until your pupils return to their normal size in a few hours!

And now, for your entertainment, my creepy dilated pupil.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

My bedroom just got a whole lot SEXIER.... ;-)

Yes room is super sexy right now.  Why, you ask?

Well, because...the dialysis machine has FINALLY been removed!! Gosh, I forgot how much space I actually have in this room...and I'm sooo happy that it is GONE!

I had decided even before the kidney transplant that I did not want to be here when the dialysis machine was taken away.  I wasn't here when it was brought in, and I didn't want to be there when it was taken away.  So thankfully my Dad stayed home for when the tech came to disconnect the machine, and when the movers came to remove the machine as well as the boxes and boxes of supplies.  


When my dad called me to tell me that everything was gone, I felt a little emotional.  That emotion was amplified times a million when I came home and went to my room and did not see a dialysis machine beside my bed.

I will say though-with the dialysis machine being in my room for so long, it did become a part of my room and therefore there were things on it, around it, etc. like calendars and other stuff.  I have a lot of clearing out ahead of me...but I don't care.  This is simply fantastic.

This was my room before. I took this picture on my blackberry while connected to the machine (I almost said "my" anymore!!) :

And this was my room a few minutes ago.  As I mentioned..there is still some cleaning up to do (there is no excuse for those vhs tapes on top of that wardrobe, though. LOL)

Now, don't get me wrong.  Being on home dialysis did a lot of good for me. It made it possible for me to be more independent and not have to go to the hospital every other day to be dialyzed.  Home dialysis was also instrumental in keeping me healthy for when the transplant did come up. For the opportunities that being on home dialysis gave me, I'm thankful. With that said...Goodbye, dialysis machine! It's been a slice...but I can't say that I'll miss you!!

kidney transplant> home dialysis > in-centre dialysis.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Transplant Nephrology Appointment on Monday

This coming Monday I'll be seeing my nephro again. I'm hoping things will be a bit more stable by then.

Some of the issues that have come up:
CMV positive blood test result- as you may remember from previous post, I had mentioned that blood tests showed that my white count was dropping/low. As a result of this, many of my medications were put on hold, including my antivirals.  Well, I guess that the amount of time that I was off of the antivirals was enough for my blood tests to show up as CMV positive. Pre-transplant, my donor was CMV positive while I somehow managed to be CMV negative. In healthy individuals, CMV is not something of concern, but it is a concern for those who are a kidney transplant recipient.

Since my white count issue has been resolved, I have been back on the antivirals for a while now.  I have actually increased the dose of one of them from once a day to twice a day. He's to hoping that will rectify itself.

Slightly elevated liver enzymes- another issue that has come up is a slightly elevated liver enzyme level. I have been told that it could be due to my new medications. Yet, even though I've been on pantaloc for a while, I have been told to stop it, as apparently pantaloc can sometimes elevate liver enzymes.  When I was having issues with my white count, my doctor had wanted me to stop/hold the pantaloc. I skipped ONE dose, and came crawling back to my pantaloc by the time I would normally take my next dose. I have really bad reflux and simply cannot be without it.  It makes me wonder how something I have taken for so long without issue is not affecting my liver enzymes.  Anyhow, this time around, I was prescribed omeprazole to use instead of pantaloc.  I used to be on omeprazole until my gastroenterologist switched me to pantaloc after giving me a endoscopy and a colonoscopy.  I wonder if these things are taken into consideration before meds are stopped/switched.  I'll have to talk to my doctor about this on Monday.

At least my low white count has been rectified.  I'm really hoping that things will soon sort themselves out so that I can go back to work. I'm reaaaaaly wanting to go back so I can start applying for HR jobs! It's amazing how much more BUSY I am/feel when I'm not at work.

I guess we'll see what happens on Monday.  Wish me luck..

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Snacking on Kale Chips

It has to be due to my body feeling better after the kidney transplant, and possibly the medication I'm on, but I've gotta appetite has definitely increased substantially. I was about 114 pounds (I'm 5'6) prior to the transplant and while I was still on dialysis.  That was March 1 and previously. Now, it almost 3 months post op (Wow, time does fly...doesn't it!) and I weigh 128 pounds. So I've gained a good 15 pounds..and I can't say that I'm upset about that. I'm quite happy! I was really skinny previously. Skinny to the point where my co-workers and bosses and such would ask me if I was okay, why do you look so skinny, etc.  I had lost a lot of muscle mass from not being too active and spending a lot of time in bed. Once I get the go ahead from my doctor to go back to work, I plan on joining a gym.  I look forward to it as I have not gone to a gym/been a member of a gym for a long time.

But i digress! In my never ending eating and snacking quest, it became apparent to me that I was going to need to find healthy snacks to fill my belly.

A few days after I thought this, I coincidentally happened to be watching Giada on the food network and she was making kale and sweet potato chips.  Don't think I can go wrong making those to snack on!  The first time I made them, I made both kale and spinach chips, since I usually have them on hand to make my green smoothies, which have also been helping with my appetite.  They were delicious! Thought I did make one mistake which I will discuss further on into the post.

This time, I was determined not to make any mistakes. This time, since I had a lot of kale and not so much spinach, I decided to make kale chips only.

First, I put my pre-washed kale on my baking tray. Ideally, this would have been parchment lined, but because my mom keeps the parchment somewhere that nobody knows except for her (LOL) I had to simply use tin foil.  Not ideal, but hey..what can you do?

Next, I drizzled the kale with enough olive oil to lightly coat all of the kale. It was maybe a tablespoon or so. After I put the olive oil on, I massaged each of the leaves to ensure that the olive oil had covered all of them, especially since kale does not lie flat like spinach does.

After there is enough olive oil on the kale, sprinkle with salt and black pepper.  Now, here is where I made my mistake- I added too much salt! As the kale cooks in the oven, it shrinks, and the salt becomes more concentrated.  So my mistake was adding too much salt after it had baked.  So this time, I added a very minimal amount of salt.

After this, I put the tray of kale into my oven which was preheated at around 250 degrees F. After about 10 minutes, I turned the kale over and let it bake for about another 7-10 minutes. But remember-everyone's oven is different, so keep a close eye on your kale chips, especially when you're making them for the first time.

They shrunk quite a bit! I should have made more!
After I removed the tray, I tasted it to see if it needed more seasoning. It did, so I sprinkled just a tiny bit more salt and pepper on them.

Then, that's it! I drank my smoothie (this time it was apple, pear, frozen strawberries, kale, spinach, banana, flax, almond milk, ice, and wheat grass) and snacked on my chips.

...and yes..they were very delicious. ;)

  In fact, I'm going to go make some right now.  It's 10pm right now and I could really use a snack! :)

EDIT AFTER MAKING MY KALE CHIPS AFTER THIS INITIAL POST: This batch of kale chips was just too perfect. It was a nice snack to eat while doing some work on microsoft word.  Also, check out the wallpaper on my blackberry. It's Buddy and the oh so famous "Boo". I love them so much..even though they're not mine and I've never met them :\

I cannot stand it! They are sooo yummy! I'm just sad that I didn't make more :(

There are a couple of spinach leafs mixed up in there somewhere too :)

This was my favourite leaf. Look how delicious and perfect it is! It's almost too pretty to eat! ("Almost" being the operative word here Haha!)

I hope this post will inspire you to make this recipe!  If this post inspires you to make these kale chips, let me know. Most of the ingredients you will likely have at home already (olive oil, salt and pepper) and kale is so very inexpensive.

Last minute tips/info:
Remember- once you bake them, they WILL reduce in volume quite when you spread the kale out and think to yourself "Man! That is WAY too much kale!!!"...add another handful or two after that! :)  And when you eat them, they will crunch lightly then pretty much dissolve in your mouth. It's not the same sensation as eating a hard and crunchy potato chip, but to me, it's just as satisfying. Also, try to space the kale leafs out on your tray and not let them overlap.  Lastly, kale leafs are curly and bendy, so make sure you open them up so that they are relatively flat.


Friday, May 11, 2012

Happy Birthday To Me...!

It's my birthday! Happy Birthday to Meeeeeeee! LOL (today is also my "not my twin" sister's birthday too hehehe).

I haven't posted in a while as I'm not sure that I had much to say, but I do have a couple of updates which I will post in the near future.

Notice anything about my header? I guess I cannot in good conscience refer to myself as a can I! :P

Thank you all for reading my blog, commenting, etc.  I receive a lot of messages telling me how much my blog has helped you, or how it has given you the strength to keep on keepin' on after seeing what I have been through.  Well, it is comments like that which keep me going too. I enjoy is a great outlet for me. I'm so happy that I have the ability to share my thoughts, feelings, and life happenings with you all and get feedback too. I just love that.

So, Thank you! Out with the 20-Something...and in with the 30-Something!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Organ Donation Awareness Week

Last week was organ donation awareness week!

At the hospital, there was a table that was set up to provide passers by with more information on organ donation as well as how they could register to be an organ donor. As someone who just had a kidney transplant, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the table! It was great talking to others, answering questions, and sharing my story.  We also had some pins and cookies for sale too! It was pretty fun.
Yum..organ donation ribbon sugar cookies...

The wonderful lady kept me company after my transplant! She works in housekeeping I think.

Register "Yes" :)

Myself and my transplant coordinator (pre-transplant) Julie :)

Liver Transplant recipient John and Julie-I took this by accident when grabbing my camera ha!

Group Pic

Group Pic take two!

Green ribbon temporary tattoo :)

At the end of the week, I had the pleasure of speaking to a number (maybe 80-100?) medical laboratory professionals as it was also medical laboratory professionals' appreciation week! I got to speak about how their work benefits us as patients, even though they work "behind the scenes" and don't often get the same recognition as, say, doctors or nurses. It was great. Everyone was really receptive to what I had to say. I loved it when I was speaking and I'd look out at the people in the audience and I'd see people nodding their heads in agreement or laughing at my jokes :P

Overall, it was a great and eventful week!                              
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