Monday, March 24, 2014

That One Time I Missed Most of March Because of White Blood Cells

Oh Haaaaaaaay.  How has your March been?  Pleasant?  A bit cold? A bit boring?  Have you been sick for the past two weeks?  Have you been thinking, 'Oh maybe I just won't get better until April and will have an excuse to take the rest of the month of March off'?  No?  Really?! How bout that.

Well, I'm back to the world people.  I'm finally remembering what it's like to not lay in bed 24 hours a day.  I enjoy the taste of food again.  I enjoy fresh air and sitting in a clean apartment, sleeping on clean sheets, not worrying about how many additional viruses are burrowing their way into the mattress while I breathed hot, infected air into my pillow.  I am alive. I am not a zombie. I am real and I am on my way to healing.

If you came to this blog in the past two weeks, you probably saw nothing.  Nothing good anyways.  It's true.  I've been sick for two weeks.  And let me tell you:  I ain't felt death that near since this time last year when I was gearing up to start dialysis treatments.  And I wanted it. I wanted it so bad. I wanted to go home and be with Jesus.  Dance with the angels and break thermometers because I knew I would never need them again.  That's how sick I felt.  

Why and how in the world did I end up like this?  Well, you can thank my kidney transplant for that. I'm sort of joking but sort of not because it is kind of sort of relevant to how all of this happened.  

Remember when I told you that now, with my kidney transplant, I was going to have to take medicine for the rest of my life?  Those medicines are called immunosuppresants.  In case you missed biology (don't worry; pretty sure I slept through 80 percent of it) your immune system is what keeps you healthy.  It's [hopefully] made up of a bunch of white blood cells who's purpose in life is attack foreign objects and bacteria that make their way into your body.  Usually those foreign bacteria (stuff not made by you), can make you really sick if they're not dealt with correctly.  So most normal people have a good army of white blood cells who fight off these things and keep you from having to take any sick days, in case you were wondering why you never get a cough every once in a while.  I'm sorry, but this is probably it.

White blood cells are good for stuff like head colds and the flu.  But bad for stuff like organ transplants.  Because even though my kidney transplant is good for me and keeps me alive, it's still foreign.  So according to my WBCs, it needs to go.  And this is why, I take immunosuppressants:  to keep my WBCs from building up their army, so that they can't call out my kidney for being a foreign object.   The results:  my dad's kidney gets to live in my body as a spy forever, working alongside my natural organs....but I also am more at risk for contracting things like CMV

Cytomegalovirus.  In a nutshell, you probably have it because apparently 90 percent of the population gets it at one point in their life.  It just doesn't make everyone want to die because most people are healthy.  

For the rest of us--the 10 percent who randomly never got the virus and the immunosuppressed--when we are infected by this nearly harmless can make us feel like solid S&#T until we get treated for it.  

So, now I present to you:  five things I wouldn't wish upon anyone:

1.  Diarrhea.  

2.  Pain in your eyeballs so bad that you start to wonder if you have a brain tumor and regret that time when you didn't wash your hands for exactly 20 seconds before putting a new pair of contact lenses on.

3.  This weird thing in the upper middle part of your abdomen that makes you cry when you walk and also makes you think you have an ulcer and/or cancer according to WebMD.

4.  Sleeping for 24 hours.  Unless you're into that sort of thing, which I am only SORT OF into that type of thing. I love sleeping, but I don't love worrying about getting a blood clot that's going to travel to my heart and I won't know about until I'm on the plane to Greece.

5.  Cats who clearly don't understand "Noooo I DON'T want to get up!" when you're lying in your bed face down for the 15th hour in a row.  They seem to think: maybe I'll just meow LOUDER and then the human will move.  It doesn't work like that, cat.

I am finally starting to feel better people.  I'm eating again.  I went to the gym. I'm staying up late again.  Ben and I hugged for the first time a few days ago.  Things are looking up.