It’s been 6 months since my last post-transplant update. For those who follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen what’s been up, but for those prospective donors who have found me via google searching and are curious to know what life is like 9 months out, it’s time for a post.
I’m really excited to say I’ve been contacted by about 10 prospective living liver donors in the past 6 months, several of whom have actually been able to donate. I know having a donor mentor meant a huge deal to me and I love being able to help others who are in the process.
Okay, so what has recovery been like in the last 6 months?
Not long after my 3 month update I did try some short stroller jogging:
Running again at 4 months.
By the 4 month mark in January I was back to my weekly 3-4 mile run/walks with my group and later added Zumba and our local co-ed indoor volleyball league. My body felt capable but I was still a little over aware of my abdomen, if that makes sense? When I’d do some “sprinting” at the end of the run I was totally searching for a feeling that something wasn’t right. Never found it though.
I also went back to Physical Therapy for a few weeks to recalibrate and get me back on track for strengthening. I was starting to feel that familiar tightened right hip flexor, the lower back pain, and the spinal inflexibility from the previous summer when my core was weak postpartum. After the surgery, I was back in a weak core pit and the same symptoms were returning.
I tried to stick with the program, tried to do my exercises religiously, tried to regularly massage the scar tissue…
But then life happened.
So far 2018 has been nuts. In a good way though. God has been exposing and cleaning out some hidden wounds in my life. So there goes all of my mental and emotional energy. My niece and nephew have come to live with us, which has been amazing. But more people in the house means family life stuff takes up more time than it did before. Plus, we’re moving to a forested 7 acres next month. The process of selling our home and preparing to move has been stressful at times but we are so excited for what’s next!
So for a while I stopped running.
Stopped doing my exercises.
Stopped anything extra.
Oh. The Monthly Rash.
The only weird thing since January has been the recurring rash on my stomach around the incision. Every month, usually around my menstrual cycle, the rash would flair up. I’d apply the clotrimazole I had gotten from UCSF when I had been readmitted. It’d go away after 4 days or so.
My last flair up was early May and I made an appointment with a dermatologist (for two weeks later). Of course it was gone by then but she said that now that she had seen me, when it comes back, they’ll squeeze me in priority. Okay. I figured the rash would come back around soon with my next cycle. Which actually hasn’t happened yet so…we’ll see if that means something….
6 Month Mark
I had to get a physical and a blood draw at the 6 month mark. I was able to do that locally though, so no trip to UCSF required. At my cousin’s check up at UCSF, his surgeon told him that he now shares some of my genetic makeup. I think that’s hilarious.
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My cousin is doing well. His surgeon told him he shares some of my genetic makeup now! We’re like real, blood relatives now. 😂 #imadopted My healing process continues. I’m working on massaging scar tissue and rebuilding core strength. Definitely having lower back pain due to core weakness. So no weight lifting for exercise yet. My skin still gets rashes off and on. There is still noticeable numbness around the scar as well. However, I can run and pretty much all other aspects of life are back to normal. We could even start planning to have another kiddo….hmm. I’ve been contacted by more and more potential donors and I’m so glad my experience has been helpful. I got a physical and a blood draw recently so that results could be sent to UCSF. #lifeisprecious #livingdonor #livertransplant #organdonor #knowgreaterlove
9 Month Mark
Superficial skin layers are still a little numb. Mostly below the incision line around the belly button. I am eating dairy and fatty foods just fine. However, if I do have some digestion issues, it feels like an unrelenting cramp in my lower right abdomen which is super annoying. So that’s not bad just different than before.
Today I’m on day 4 of a daily mile run + core work. I’m only committing to one mile a day for the first week of #startingoveragain and I go out somewhat begrudgingly but whatever. I’m doing it. It’s helping. Also softball season has started also so…more activity is good.
Sometimes I forget the transplant ever happened. But then I’ll see my scar and be like, Oh yeah! Or I’ll see my cousin post something snarky on Facebook and think…dammit I’m glad he’s alive and feeling feisty. Or someone from church will know me as the “liver girl”. Or someone will ask me what it was like to donate a kidney (haha).
I guess what I’m trying to say is life and self-perception has normalized. I no longer think of daily modifications to my diet or physical activity because of the transplant. My cousin is doing so well I’m no longer wondering what his latest test results will reveal. We just keep celebrating each new month’s liver-sharing-anniversary.