Yesterday was a good day. A very good day. Of my 7 trips out here to Rochester, the most positive and encouraging results we have had.
I met first with the neurologist. The results of my EMG test were about the same as in November, the last time I had the test. It measures how my nerves are conveying or conducting electrical impulses, and they aren't any worse. That is significant in the first year post-transplant. The subjective tests the Dr. administers, checking responses in the legs and feet to heat, vibrations and strength, actually showed modest improvement. She felt overall things had improved and would continue to get better. How much better remains to be seen, but I view this as just another test of time, trust and patience. The nerves can grow back at a rate of a milimeter a month, so it will be a long slow process. But at least the possibilites are there.
The final visit was with the transplant Dr. As I had hoped and believed, the transplant has gone well, and they are further reducing my immuno-suppressant medication. My concern was with the amyloid, and it has not done any further damage to either my heart or my kidneys as they would have expected to have happened in this first year. At this point I am pretty much risk free of further damage since any of the remaining amyloid in my body post-surgery will have disapated or attached to something in my body and already done whatever damage it was going to do. Dr. Potarucha, my favorite guy, was at something of a loss to explain how I have done so well under the circumstances. He said he doesn't see results like these very often, certainly not one year removed from transplant. Me, I attribute a lot of it to all of my friends, family and co-workers who have been sending me so much love and support. And of course, to my "caregiver", Jeanine, who has helped guide and support me through these uncertain and unchartered roads we have traveled together. You really don't know how you will respond or react to something like this until you go through it.
And juxtaposed to our joy and relief , is the ongong realities our new friends at the Gift of Life House continue to confront. We come back to find Jim, here on a 14 year check-up for his heart transplant, has been told that he has a pancreatic tumor that they feel is untreatable. Joel who continues to battle the initial adjustments to his new kidney. And George, my new friend who loves golf, failing to respond as hoped to the blood transfusions he has been receiving. The yin and the yang of the healing process here at the Gift House. We go home tomorrow. We return with our hearts lighter and more hopeful. But we also go with the awareness and love for our friends and family who continue to confront challenges in their own journeys. We are looking forward to seeing everyone when we get back. Love to all, Rick