Saturday, July 31, 2010

So I was about six months old when they finally diagnosed the problem, and started me on the the long road to fix it. The first thing to do was to attack the massive infection now affecting both kidneys, secondly, because the function was found to be lacking in such a severe way, the doctors felt it best to reroute my urinary system to a stoma created on my abdomen for the purpose of getting rid of my waste. So I now had a "bag" fitted onto the stomach area which then collected the urine as it existed from the stoma surgically created by the doctors for this system of urination to work. The prognosis in the short term given to my parents was certainly rosier than it was back in Toledo, and I looked, acted, according to my mother as a soul who now wanted to be part of this body and life. The long term prognosis was quite a different matter. At that time long term survival for people with kidney failure was not good. Dialysis was not a welcome or long term prospect for anybody, and transplantation was still really new and really still in the science fiction category. Survival rates for transplants, even living donors with perfect genetic matches was around 75%. 

My parents, both young, 21 at the time, were to some degree overwhelmed but at the same time had a faith and a real hope that my life moving forward was now on the right track. The next years of my childhood would hold the full promise of the gifts my parents would give to me. I would live a full childhood and treat myself, and thus be treated by others as completely normal. Never to be thought of as sick in any way, the frequent visits to Cleveland, and the Clinic only reinforced the belief that I had of something special, and unique, not sad of scary. Furthermore, my parents were to remind all the staff I dealt with growing up there that I. and not they, was in fact the patient. The doctors were not to talk down, or whisper in condescension to me. Treat me like a real patient, who was responsible for my own care, and that's how I then looked at it myself. 

There would be many big decisions on the horizon as my kidney function would inevitably fall behind my growth and development. Someday lots of things, the kidneys, the bladder that had never been used would be on the agenda. But for the first ten years I have a childhood of friends, summer trips to Lake Michigan, school, football in the street, skinned knees, scrapped up faces, forts, Legos and hot wheels, kick the can in the moonlight, first kisses, and my cat Morgan. My health wasn't on hold, I held the life my parents wanted me to have and I really loved it. Things would not really change until around sixth grade.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In the first of several entries I thought  should give some context and history to how I came about with kidney failure and why I now, at this point in my life, am waiting for a kidney transplant (which when it happens will be my third). 

At birth, I was found immediately to have serious and life threatening health concerns and was placed into intensive care due to being labeled a "blue baby". Not being aware of the underlying causes for my oxygen deficiencies and other outward signs of physical stress, the medical care was not adequate and unsuccessful in full treatment of my problems. After being sent home with my parents, they, and my extended family, after returning my an extended trip in Europe, realized that I had serious health problems, but were unable to discover the underlying, and real cause for my issues. My parents were distraught as I was unable to sleep through the night, constantly crying, not able to nurse without fuss and sickness. My mother and father, being a first time parents, and young, were at a loss, but knew something was not right, so they continued to go to the pediatrician for answers that were not there. Emergency room visits were also short term patches due to no one pinpointing, until a few months into my life, that they felt the only answers would come if I taken immediately to the Cleveland Clinic for an evaluation

A look over by the medical staff discovered the problem as acute failure due to an infection caused by a birth defect in the urethra which was blocked thus causing a backup of urine into the kidneys while I was developing in my mother's womb. This diagnosis was just the very beginning. The path and treatments of my lifetime were to be set, and forthcoming, in the early decisions made at that first time spent at the Cleveland Clinic in 1971.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Had an early morning treatment, 6:00 am today, came home and had a long sleep. All running and biking with dialysis today caught up to me. Slept for almost five hours. I'm now up, had a Red Bull and going to the Y for a run with my wife. Soon I am going to add some entries on my medical history to put some context to where I am now. It will take some work since I have been dealing with the kidney issues since birth, 39 years ago. I don't feel that old, really, still feel like I'm 19 sometimes, and well, after dialysis, maybe 29! Anyways need to go off and run so my wife and i can see a movie later. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday has come after a busy and very full Monday. Had dialysis and it went well, my weight was in check after the weekend, only 2.5 kilos. Afterwards took Rose to work and then finished dinner for the girls and went to the Y for a warmup bike and then a rather fast three miles, especially for a dialysis day. For some reason when i came home I cycled another five or so miles because it is so relaxing. It has made such a difference with me to have this new bike in my life. i feel so free and at ease with my evening ride. The sounds the smells and the fresh air in my face. I am wondering whether the vitamin regimen I have been on for the past six months including the new zinc recommended by my doctor has anything to do with my good run of really good health. Well, it is good whatever it is. 

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Its Sunday evening, trying to kick back a little. Ran yesterday (five miles) in the incredible heat and humidity around 105. Also did a ton of work around the house finishing up the new rooms for the kids. Today I had a four hour work meeting for with The Ground Level, then another run and cycle at the Y.  Oh yeah, I biked last night with my wife and son. Maybe this is all too much, but I do love the activity. Keeping my weight and blood pressure under control. Just hope the phosphorous and potassium are OK. Just need a good nights rest without a sleeping pill that drags on the whole next day. When there is no kidney function, some medications just stay in your bloodstream to some degree until they either sweat or are really cleansed out during dialysis. In more simple terms, that sleeping pill I took for bed last night maintains its sluggish grip for the whole day. I'm looking forward to my weekly schedule and hope that my wife has a "smooth" week. The first of the week for both of us is always hectic, and a bit overwhelming.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Had a good treatment yesterday, and it was my doctor's day to do rounds. All looks good and he is offering a simple solution to me low testoterone levels by taking of all things some Zinc. Other than that we talked about my new bike and riding. Its good to be healthy, relatively speaking. I wonder what my life would really be like, that is different, if and when I get a new Kidney. My life now is pretty full, and my dialysis thing is just an inconvenience, bigger at times than others, but not life halting. Back at the Ground Level this morning. Need to get quite a bit done today. My wife is in class and the kids always need food and fun, especially in the summer. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Austin Klapp: Its the middle of night and I'm not sleeping. A co...

Austin Klapp: Its the middle of night and I'm not sleeping. A co...: "Its the middle of night and I'm not sleeping. A common problem I've had most of my life (being up at night) is now only ten times worse beca..."
Its the middle of night and I'm not sleeping. A common problem I've had most of my life (being up at night) is now only ten times worse because of the dialysis thing. Yet another thing about having no kidney function, and little known at that, is the hormone imbalances and defects. Everything from testosterone loss, to epo being off, kidney failure is alot more than just the toxin and fluid issues, which are massive in and of themselves, and of primary importance to the entire dialysis process, because frankly one can really die, and really quick, if these things are not addressed on a day to day basis. Its funny to reflect on the fact that if I did not go to dialysis for the next few weeks, i would simply die. To see other patients, especially, the older and the very sick due to multiple system failures just decide that they are done with it and say goodbye. Dialysis is artificial life support. Well done and assisting me in the quality of life I enjoy. I'm grateful, regardless of the "complications". I know alot of people with no health issues such as ones I deal with who carry more life crippling "complications" everyday.  Sometimes the overcoming is what makes us all feel alive. I know its my dirty little secret. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Morning at the Ground Level, still working out the morning "grind" for when I'm to fly solo and run the place early. Always good to be wanted and have things and places to do and be. Have another full schedule today with my wife off at school and then straight to work. The kids will want, and then want some more. Its okay, as long as I get my run in sometime before I fall asleep tonight. Five miler? We'll see. Off days ( from dialysis) offer just enough time in the day, along with the extra energy to get so much more accomplished in a less stressful way. Stop by and get some coffee with me at the Ground Level, see you soon.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The rewards of a good run and taking care of most of the kids needs is my frozen gatorade, hot shower, and a Tigers win, but can't depend on the Tigers all the time. Baseball, especially, professional baseball is alot like my life on dialysis, managing to move ahead in a game really built on spaces inside lots of failures. Negative space. Being defined by that which not seen. The very best hitters in the game, ever, make contact and get on base about 40% of the time, and we are not even talking about getting to home plate. These diminishing averages some how put scores on the board, and one team does manage to win a game. 
Busy Monday morning as I'm opening the Ground Level with Jesse for the first time. We had alot of business this morning and also no ice machine, lots of fun running to the carry out for ice in the middle of a smoothie order! Have just enough time to put down blog and finish start up at coffeehouse before first of week's dialysis. I'm about three and half kilo's up on my weight so it should be kinda tough treatment. When that much weight has to come off it gets a little rough. Also depends on how much "junk' in my bloodstream from the weekend. Anyways this is what I've signed up for with the new gig. Good to be busy though, and needed. Doesn't end later with dentist appts for the kids and Rose with work means I'm feeding the kids tonight. Won't rest until late, real late.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday evening, time to figure out dinner for my 15 year old's Birthday. Looks like maybe olive garden...easy. Had a nice time by the pool after my four mile run. Hot, Hot, hot though. We are lucky to have the pool so close to the house. My wife and i can't seem to stop getting ready for the week. Lots to do and we try, really hard, not to get stressed in advance of it all. It just never ends. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The day has come to close with the perfect meal from the Beruit. The biking and run were both special. Really special though is that in a few hours my baby, Phoebe, will be 14 years old. I love her with all my heart. She keeps showing the way even though the way is rough at times for her. She never stops loving her family. Happy Birthday special "B".
Family, not me, off to Cedar Point today. Already can't stop picking up with everyone gone and no one to yell at. I'm going for a ride today on the new bike, probably a long one, with some twists and turns. I haven't done that since my college days. This is why I got the bike, for that. To feel free and one with the sky, riding nowhere in particular, also pushing your body. I never can just completely relax, but maybe that's been my thing all along. Because later I will also be running at least four. I should enjoy this while it lasts because I haven't had an uninterrupted string of good health like this since I started dialysis over five years ago. Its been since really December, in the hospital, with multiple infections, that I have been "sick". I did have surgery in April but really not for any illness and the recovery was quick, I ran the weekend after the friday surgery. A male sensitive surgery no less. I guess I really can't stop. That is what my wife says all the time. I try to sit, but feel that being forced to sit in the Dialysis chair three times a week is enough for me. See you on the road somewhere.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Beginnings or endings

Starting this blog to be read by whom? don't know. Had dialysis this afternoon, ran three miles this morning. Sitting at the Ground Level Coffee house learning how to do the finer points of my new job. I'm glad my overall well-being is solid enough to carry on this schedule. Looking forward to starting mornings here within a week or two. Every week day 6-10. Should be, at the very least, good for a sense of value besides sitting around the house. I have been asked to blog about my life (Dialysis, running, family, etc) for the Kidney foundation and I am still thinking it over. For now I feel I need to keep my jacket zipped up and let the wind blow me from the back. Anyways I'm happy now, even though I'm always being pulled to what I don't have or feel I should experience. Lets let that go for now.