So this week has been relatively quiet with nothing significant happening – good or bad. My treatments continued although my wife Meg, who is my normal care giver has had evening commitments all week so my daughter Carolyn has been training to handle my treatments. She did great at helping me get needled and hooked up. Meg was able to make it home each night in time to take the needles out so Carolyn didn’t have to deal with that. I didn’t have any doctor visits all week and my treatments went fairly well with no incidents. I continued to exercise either at the gym or walking in the neighborhood or one day I went to the beach.
I did have a new garden shed installed this week. Hurricane Sandy a year and a half ago took out our old garden shed and all the things you keep in the shed have made their way into my garage so it was time. Having to pay to have installed galled me but I am not really up to that size construction job right now. It is 10′ x 12′ and is much bigger than the old shed. This year was either get a new lawn tractor or a shed. Since I didn’t have a place to keep the tractor the shed won. Now I can’t afford the tractor until next year but I already have a place to store it.
I did loose another friend this week. Dave Rand, Scoutmaster of Troop 15 in Stamford died very suddenly this week. Dave was a SM for a long time in Stamford having grown up in Troop 15 and eventually becoming the Scoutmaster. He was a great guy with definite opinions about how a troop should be run but we got along great. I am sorry I didn’t make his funeral but I only found out about his death after the funeral. He was diagnosed with cancer a month ago and died this week. RIP Dave, you were one of the good guys and are missed!
This weekend will be a full house with Kate coming home with her boyfriend Kenny, Carolyn and possibly her boyfriend Niels all here for the weekend. Hopefully I will get some work done in the yard from this gang. Sunday I hope the weather holds and I can get my smoker going and smoke some ribs for the whole crew! Monday is the Memorial Day Parade. Carolyn has been asked to help with the 5th/6th Grade Band! After the parade we are having a cookout with Niels & his mother – a meet the parents kind of event.
This week has been a fairly routine and uneventful week. I did miss my treatment on Wednesday when I had to abort when I couldn’t find my vein while putting in the arterial needle. My nurse thinks I might have aggravated my arm ( and thus moved my vein) by mowing the lawn on Tuesday and Wednesday, although I found my veins on Tuesday – so I am confused and just go on putting my needles in hoping to hit blood. Otherwise this week I saw the dentist for a cleaning, went to the nephrologist and the cardiologist. My nephrologist did lower my high blood pressure medicine. It helped when I had a BP of 99/60 at my appointment at 2:00 in the afternoon. My cardiologist confirmed that we need to lower my BP meds the next day and told me we can go even lower if we need to in the future. My blood work was fairly good this month although I still have a high Phosphorus issue.
It is nice to have Carolyn home from college. She has a couple of weeks home before she goes to training for her summer job at Deer Lake so this is a great time to visit with her. She was a big help this week with some yard work and she and her boy friend helped with clearing up the final leaves from last fall.
Today I was able to go with Meg to visit the Powahay District Spring Camporee with over 350 youth camping out at the Ernest Thompson Seton Scout Reservation in Greenwich. It was nice to see some of my volunteers again. It is amazing at how fast the unit leaders change. I have only been gone for five months and it seems like a lot of new unit leaders are already in place. Normally that doesn’t happen until the fall!
So a week ago I had my biopsy for my thyroid enlargement. It was an obnoxious test basically due to the position they put you in. Needles don’t really bother me anymore and I had one prick with some numbing agent and then they did 6 needles where they took part of the thyroid out for testing. A week later I went to get the results. When I first got to the doctor he was surprised to see me and when I told him I was here for the results of the biopsy he said they didn’t have them yet. I told him it had been a week and he should, they went to call for the results. An agonizing 15 minutes later he was back with the news that tests showed the thyroid is benign of cancer! They still don’t know why it has grown in size so we will do more frequent ultra sounds of the thyroid but for now it doesn’t pose a problem. It was an agonizing time from the biopsy until the results, thinking about how this could delay/prevent a kidney transplant! I am just glad it is over for now.
This week I also attended the Powahay District (district I served for like 5 years) Recognition Dinner. It was nice to see old friends and here how things continue. I was presented with a caricature (see above) done by Powahay Scouter William Janocha who is a professional cartoonist. It will have a place of honor in our home, hanging with the family photos.
Also my brother Richard and his wife Terry were in town and we had a great visit. Their last day in town I did have a stomach bug of some kind and missed going out to dinner with them but they got to visit with Carolyn. This weekend is mothers day and Carolyn is home and Kate will be coming to visit for the weekend so we should have another nice visit.
This past weekend the three Rennie siblings got together for the first time in 19 years! It was also the first visit I had with my brother Richard in 14 years! My Sister Carol came up from Alexandria, VA and my brother Richard and his wife Terry came east from San Diego, and Kate and Kenny came down from Massachusetts. The only thing missing was my daughter Carolyn but she is in finals and couldn’t leave Ithaca. She will get home before Richard goes back to CA and she is planning a trip to DC to see Aunt Carol, but it would have been nice to have her here with everyone. Rich and Terry couldn’t bring their daughters Karla and Amanda either. Hopefully with 4 daughters one of them, at least, is bound to get married at some point so maybe we can get everyone together then!
Needless to say, there was a lot of eating and drinking going on. Meg made a couple of my mothers traditional family dishes – her cheesecake and brisket! Rich and Carol also got to see my treatments and what all is involved with setting up the machine as well as putting in the needles and then the boredom that sets in while I sit and bleed into a tube for 3 1/4 hours.
Kate, Kenny & Carol had to head back for work on Monday but the rest of got to visit for the week. We did a trip to New Haven so Richard could tour his Alma Mater, Southern CT! He started there as a freshman in 1965 and boy has it changed since then. We also stopped for lunch at Katz’s Deli near the Southern Campus! Pastrami is not on the Renal Diet but Rich enjoyed some! Tuesday took us for a trip down memory lane with a visit to Greenwich! We visited our parents graves, went by Connecticut Ave and saw our old house (it’s Pink Now!). For lunch we had a picnic in Bruce Park (which hasn’t changed at all!) with sandwiches from Greenwich Prime Meats – the old Maneros Butchers! We also drove by Grass Island where we used to have our boat mooring – Grass Island also hasn’t changed much! We went by the old high school Rich went to, then drove down Greenwich Ave, which has changed a lot and then drove the Post Road to Riverside and then on 95 and headed back to Shelton. Greenwich certainly has changed since we lived there.
Hopefully we won’t have to wait 19 years for another family get together!
So with the start of May comes my 1 year Anniversary for Dialysis! I had my first dialysis treatment on May 2, 2013 and a lot has happened since then. I had known that this day would come for almost a year – when in June 2012 my Kidneys failed and I wound up in the hospital for a week. It was during that week that we decided to go forward with the operation to put in the Fistula. The Fistula needed time to mature and while I didn’t need to start right away, it was just a matter of time. It is hard to think back to before dialysis. I had no energy, no ability to get anything done and I had no appetite at all. I think back to my first treatment now and I can’t believe how far I’ve come in that year and yet how much more I want to accomplish with my health and life. My first week or two of treatments are still a blur as I can barely remember them. The first time I couldn’t even look while my training nurse put the needles in me – and boy did they hurt. A year later and I can put my own needles in without my nurse. My first day of Dialysis last year was also the day Meg’s mom passed away. It was a very trying time for me, I can’t imagine what she had to deal with. Without her I am convinced I wouldn’t be here today and potentially having a kidney transplant soon!
Also, today I went in for a thyroid biopsy where they put needles (6) into my thyroid to take out part to test it for cancer. It will be the middle of next week before I have the results. I am fairly positive about this but I have noticed increased difficulty in speaking and swallowing in the past two weeks, but don’t want to get all worked up over it now – there will be time for that later. My main concern is that it will prevent things from moving forward towards the kidney transplant. The treatment for one will affect the other. Individually I think I can deal with each problem but together it just seems so overwhelming.
Also this week I had the news of the loss of my friend Tripp McMillan, a fellow professional with the BSA who had a lung transplant two years ago. Tripp was an Area Director when I was on Staff in Syracuse. He and I stayed in touch especially since I started my dialysis and as I went thru the testing for the transplant. Rest in peace Tripp!
I certainly feel better than I did one year ago I still have a long way to go before I will be feeling great again.