Monday, October 25, 2010

Brother, can you spare a kidney?

As you may (or may not) know,  I have been battling chronic kidney disease for several years now.  The story of how that came about, and my surgery in November, can be found in my prior post here.  Starting on Friday, October 22nd, the purpose of that surgery was put in to practice.  My kidneys are in a state of failure, and I have started on dialysis three days a week.  The surgery was to provide an easy access point for dialysis. The picture above is of the very machine I was connected to on Friday.

Juggling work and trying to maintain a decent amount of hours along with regular dialysis treatments is, as you can imagine, rather challenging.  I work for a consulting firm, so every hour I work is billed to a customer.  It not only matters that I get my work done, but that I bill a sufficient number of hours each week.  I am trying to arrive at work very early and work until it's time to leave for my treatment.  I also plan to try to get some work done at home after I've had an hour or two to recover.  I'm not sure how well that's going to go, though.  Dialysis treatments literally take something out of you.  You leave with low blood pressure, and the arm that was connected is very weak.  You weigh before and after the treatment, and after only two hours for my first one, I had literally lost 1 pound.

I don't want to sound like I'm complaining -- I know in my heart that God has a plan for me, and that everything is in his hands.  My human mind, however, still needs a bit of convincing that I'll be able to keep this up and maintain somewhat of a "normal" life.

I am currently on the kidney transplant waiting list at Emory Hospital.  I am technically not "active" until I lose about 10 more pounds, but I am accumulating time on the list.  Typically, people on the list who have A-positive blood like me tend to wait about 3 years for a "non living" donor.  However, I would much prefer not to have to wait that long.  Also, a kidney from a living donor is much more preferable.   They tend to "take" better and last longer than a kidney from a "non living" donor.

Generally, I am not one to ask for favors of people.  I like to DO favors.  I believe God has granted me the resources I have so that I can help the people I care about.  This time, though, I would like to ask anyone reading this to prayerfully consider donating a kidney to me.  The entire process will be paid for my my insurance, and (bonus!) I would be eternally grateful.

If you feel led to submit yourself as a possible kidney donor for me, you can call the Emory Transplant Center for an initial interview.  Here is their contact information:

Emory Transplant Center
Living Donor, Kidney Transplant Program

Clinic Building B, 6th Floor
1365 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta, GA  30322

Initial Living Donor Interview:  404-712-4857

Toll Free Donor Line:  1-866-727-3250

Fax Number:  404-712-7311

I cannot thank you enough for your prayers and support.


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Donate to Nashville Flood Relief

I'm sure most of us have heard of the devastation caused by the recent Nashville floods. The staff and members of Cross Point Church have been actively being the hands and feet of Jesus for hundreds of victims of the flooding. Now, you can be too, from the comfort of wherever it is you have yourself plopped in front of the computer screen. Just click on the logo above this post to go to a page where you can make a donation to Cross Point's Flood Relief Fund.

So...what are you waiting for? Go! Now!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


I'm talking about the Parrot AR.Drone. It's a remote control helicopter-bot, so? You control it with. your. iPhone. (!!!) Over wifi. It has cameras that show the bot's eye view, on your iPhone. And oh, also augmented-reality games you can play while flying it, alone, or against other Parrot drones. Check out this flight video - it's like something out of a scifi flick!

Monday, March 22, 2010

My thoughts on the healthcare bill and politics in general

I recently commented on a post on Facebook about the debate on the healthcare bill and the prayers of praise and woe being offered up left and right on the social networking site in recent days. I think this sums up pretty much how I feel about politics and government. It's a passionate diatribe, so, mom, if you read this, pardon my "french". Read, and please comment. I'd love to hear people's reactions to this.

I'm just damn tired of everyone being so self-righteous, both conservative and liberal. I disagree with the particulars of this bill, that not in the morality or sense of fixing healthcare, which is obviously broken. The truth is that law by its definition DOES legislate morality. The question is whose morality does it legislate. I think the best is actually a mixture of liberal and conservative ideas. I believe that we can do some things to help those who cannot help themselves, but not at the expense of damaging those who DO help themselves, AND others. I believe that children, including the unborn and the forgotten, should be cherished. I believe that our elders should be respected and paid back for what they have given to society. I believe that unrestrained greed kills. I believe that unrestrained government does too. Far lefties will call me a "neo-con", far righties will call me "soft". I will continue as I am. Give me a reasoned argument, a workable idea, that doesn't hurt as much as it helps, I'm a reasonable guy. I can listen. Let us all listen to each other. That's the only way to get anything worthwhile accomplished at all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What's going on with me...

Several people have asked about my recent surgery, and what it's all about. In lieu of repeating myself multiple times to explain my surgery and why I did it, I decided to talk about it here.

For about 7 or 8 years now, I have had chronic kidney disease. It started with a completely unrelated visit to my primary care doctor, who called me back after bloodwork to say that I had protein in my urire. "Is that bad?" I asked. He advised that I make an appointment with Dr. Kirti Shah, a nephrology specialist (kidney doctor). At that time, they said I had about 60% of normal kidney function. I started taking various medications, hoping it would just pass. After putting it off for a couple of years, I had a biopsy done about 6 years ago, The biopsy produced the diagnosis: I have something called "Gouty Nephropathy". Gout, as you may have heard, is a condition where uric acid builds up the bloodstream and crystallizes in joints, often in the toes and ankles. I have had attacks of gout from time to time, and they are PAINFUL. At its worst, I can't walk. I haven't had a gout attack for couple of years now, but it appears that the "gout of the kidney" I have is a bit more permanent. Why I got it, I don't know for sure. My best guess is that I had undiagnosed, untreated blood pressure for some unknown number of years.

Last week I had surgery to put a fistula in my left arm. A fistula is a place where the surgeon connects a vein to an artery in your arm. This causes the blood vessel to expand, which makes for an easier access point for a large bore needle such as is used for kidney dialysis. It takes 2-3 months to "mature" and be ready for use. It's best to get it done sooner than later. Otherwise, if dialysis is needed and you DON'T have it, they would have to put in an intrusive and infection-prone "central line" in a vein near your neck.

Why now? Well, it comes down to this: As of my last appointment with Dr. Shah in mid October, I am down to about 12% kidney function. As a general rule, kidney patients are put on dialysis when they get down to 10% kidney function. So, it's best to be prepared.

To be honest, I don't FEEL like I have kidney disease. I take medications and check my blood pressure regularly, but I don't have any other physically apparent symptoms. I urinate normally and regularly, and the only way you'd know I have kidney disease is to look at my lab report. I was as reluctant to get this fistula as I was to get the biopsy in the first place. It interrupts my work and life schedule. It's an ugly 2-inch set of stitches on the inside of my left arm next to my wrist, and I hate it. In a way, it represents to me a path that I don't want to go down. But I have no choice. Here it is. It's real, and it's in my face. I don't know what the near future holds. I'm starting the process of getting into a kidney transplant program. Those near me assure me of God's ability to hear miraculously, and I don't doubt it. But I will plan for the worst as I hope for the best. Any and all prayers are appreciated as I travel down what could be a fairly rocky road in the coming years.


Friday, October 2, 2009

The Best sports "Cinderella Story" EVER.

My sister-in-law Cathlyn posted this on Facebook today, and I just had to put it up here. If somebody in Hollywood doesn't make a movie about this, they're idiots. Check it out:

Monday, September 28, 2009

10 Things I Learned While On My Disney Cruise

10: Not all cruises are created alike. Disney Cruise ships are clean, bright, and fun. From the looks on the faces of people I saw coming off of those massive Carnival cruise ships (and from others on the Disney cruise with me who had done Carnival cruises before), those Carnival ships are like "Motel 6 on the ocean". Guess we picked well!

9: The waiters at dinner on our ship apparently had some sort of eerie "spidey sense". For instance, one night one of our dessert selections was a very tasty warm chocolate "lava" cake. "You had me at 'lava cake'" was the immediate response by everyone at the table but one after seeing it on the dessert menu. I remarked that what it needed to top it off was a nice scoop of vanilla ice cream. This was while not one Disney server, assistant server, or maitre'd was anywhere near us. When the lava cake appeared at our table, our server followed immediately behind it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for each. It's magic, I tell you! And it was good.

8: While visiting the ruins of an ancient Mayan settlement on the island of Cozumel, Mexico, our tour guide told us about the Mayan calendar - a complicated series of symbols on two interlocking wheels. The next time the calendar will run its course so that the last symbol of each wheel meets, and the cycle restarts, is December 21, 2012 - A date predicted by many cultures to be of Armageddon-like proportions. There's a new movie in the works that ties to this legend, and more about the idea can be found here.

7: Car dealership finance managers are not all evil. Jamie and I met Todd, who had been a finance manager at auto dealerships for quite some time, and his lovely wife Jenn at our dinner table on the first night, and hung out with them quite a bit over the course of the cruise. They were both warm, friendly, and just a wee bit crazy, so I liked them both a great deal.

6: I discovered I like French onion soup -- and I'm not such a huge fan of Tiramisu or Panna Cotta - but I tried them all.

5: The best Spaghetti Bolognese I ever had was at an Italian restaurant overlooking the sea in, of all places, Grand Cayman Island. Who knew?

4: Did you know that there is a form of tequila called "Patron XO Cafe" that when mixed with an equal amount of cream, makes what I would best describe as an "adult coffee smoothie"? It's quite nice. Thanks to Todd for that bit of info, and the shots!

3: Being a Disney employee is NOT all sunshine and butterflies. These people work HARD, work long hours, get fairly low pay, in an extremely high-pressure, highly political working environment. If you want to get ahead working for The Mouse, be prepared to do NOTHING else. (Thanks to our new friend Jenn for some "inside" information on life in the house of the Mouse).

2: Loafers, white socks pulled up to the shins, ragged polo shirt, and the SAME GREY SWEAT SHORTS EVERY DAY (that look like underwear, by the way) is apparently acceptable cruise wear for every occasion for some cruise passengers. This particular one was middle aged, 6' 5" or so, and British. For "Pirate Night" - where some folks went all-out in full pirate regalia, what did this fellow show up in? The same thing...with the addition of a leather belt with a small plastic sword shoved into it. Argh!

1: Disney puts on the most technically proficient, talent-filled, bombastic, cheesy, romantic, silly Disney-themed stage shows on their ships. Absolutely top notch performance and execution. And cheesy. And silly. ...and I am an absolute sucker for them. I swear every time I heard "Tale as old as as old as rhyme....Beauty and The Beast..." I almost got misty. But you didn't hear that from me.