Every 30 days, give our take a few days that way or this way our kids get blood draws so we can check on their kidney function. We’ve done at least that (or a lot more if warranted) for the last 5 1/2 years for our son and the last 3 years this month for our daughter.
This monthly schedule is based on the idea that the tests would give the doctors an indication that the transplanted kidneys are starting to fail and they would, hopefully, be able to begin a steroid protocol to (again, hopefully) turn the rejection around which usually means a hospital stay for about a week.
In July we had a really bad scare – our first big one – when my son’s labs showed what the doctors were sure was rejection. They called and wanted to admit him immediately. We were 7 hours away by car and over an hour away from the nearest hospital, which we opted for to double check the labs from 2 days before. It took us a few days but the lab numbers came back to a safe number, then to my son’s baseline a week later. Scary.
Every month (hopefully together) I drive the kids to the hospital for labs. Then we wait. We hold our collective breaths and wait for the results to tell us yes or no. Yes, we have to figure out the next treatment plan or no, we’re good for another month.
The period during the lab draw and the wait is, well, part of life. It’s part of our normal. This is to say that it may be our normal, but there isn’t anything normal about very nearly constantly thinking about a failing kidney.
The normal-ness of it all makes me forget that I bury the stress it brings each month because it’s what we do, we just keep moving forward. Every once in a while I feel it though. I feel the heaviness of the potential results and what they could mean for my kids and our family if they are negative results.
Then I remember that for both of my kids this is monthly. Until. And I remember this is my normal and I bury the stress and worry again.