“Sampalin n’yo nga yan Doc (Slap him Doc)!” My mother burst in anger when she knew that I didn’t fully control my diet the past few weeks. It was the Couples For Christ weeklong anniversary celebration and I was one of the service teams. In short, I have to eat the service meals for a week, making my cholesterol and triglycerides soaring high… Again.
June 28, 2016. It was my second maintenance checkup after knowing my condition. We also decided to bring Roy with us so that if he has questions about the procedure, he can ask everything he wants to know. Roy is a cousin, a brother in Christ and a good friend who would want to donate his kidney to me.
He and Nanay departed from Bataan at 5:00 AM and arrived in NKTI at around 7:30AM. I arrived there at around 8:00AM and we waited in the queue. It was 11:30 when we are called in by Miss Helen, my doctor’s secretary.
“Kamusta ka (How are you)?” Chad (Richard T. Hizon. MD), my doctor, said the moment he saw me. He also greeted Nanay and Roy a good day. With no hesitation, Nanay immediately said that my cholesterol and triglyceride levels have risen. She also gave him my blood test results.
Chad browsed the test result and affirmed the numbers on it one after the other. “Hemoglobin, okaynaman. Spillage, okay din. Tumaas ang cholesterol mo. Kailangang i-maintain mo na talaga and Lypantil at saka Rosuvastatin (Your hemoglobin and spillage are okay but your cholesterol has risen. We have to get you back to Lypantil and Rosuvastatin again)“ he said. “Pero kamusta ang kain mo?Nakakapagpigil ka? (Are you still controlling your diet?)” he asked.
That question made me pause. I forced myself to think of something good to say, but he didn’t allow me to say anything, “Hindi! Huminto ka eh… Wag ka na… wag ka nang mag dahilan pa… Kabisadong kabisado ko na yan. Yung mga humihinto na ganyan bago sumagot, alam na yun. (No, Stop thinking of an alibi. Stop your excuses.)”
Nanay cut in and said, “Sampalin nyo nga po, Doc (Slap him Doc)” Chad continued, “Gustomo yatang ma-dialysis ng maaga eh (it seems like you want to get into dialysis early?)” “Your cholesterol and triglyceride will not rise this high if it’s only because we stopped the medicine. It is because of too much intake of food.” he continued. “Although the good news is your crea decreased. You were 4 the last time, but now it’s only 3.6”
Kidney Transplant 101
Chad wrote my meds on his prescription and I took that time to introduce Roy to him. I told him that Roy has many questions about the procedure. He stopped writing and gave us a short orientation.
“Kidney donation is relatively safe. A person can live with one kidney alone. That is why we always say on our lectures that the purpose of our other kidney is for sharing. Look at the kidney transplant patients. They only have one kidney, but still they live for a long happy life. It’s relatively safe. Nothing will change on you. You can still do the things you normally do. The only precaution we have is contact sports. We will advise you to shy away from Taekwondo or Judo or the likes.”
“I am planning to go to the gym.”
“There’s no problem in going to the gym, play basketball and any sports.”
“How about running and jogging?”
“It’s okay. Nothing will change in you. You still have the capacity to have a child and go to work. The risk of the operation is very small. The risk is less than 1%. Since the technology today is better, we will not “open” you up. We will just use a “telescope” and 2 days after the operation, you will be discharged.”
“Will it leave a scar?”
“Just a small mark.” Chad unbuttoned his polo to show his scar below his chest. “I underwent in that procedure, but I don’t know if the mark is still here.” The scar is small and unnoticeable. He got that scar due to his gall bladder. “You can still wear your bikini.”
“Will it hurt?”
“There is a post operation pain, but it’s manageable. During operation, you are on general anesthesia. One week after the operation, you can go to work and one month after, you can go the gym.”
It seems that Roy has no questions anymore, so I asked about the matching.
“Let’s start the work up. Let me run through the procedure. There are three phases. First, we will test if Roy has strong kidneys and if it’s safe for him to donate. If we can see a small sign that t donation is dangerous for him, we will stop there and look for another donor. You can do the lab tests and ultrasound at Bataan. Second phase is the matching itself and the third is the preparation for the transplant.”
Then it’s Nanay’s turn to ask.
“Doc if we can sustain his creatinine since it’s decreasing, let’s postpone the transplant till next year because his wife started to conceive.”
With surprise, Chad burst in joy. “Good!!! Congrats!!! Ang galing mo talaga! Bihira lang ang maka concieve na ganyan ang creatinine ha. (You are really good! It is very rare to conceive in that creatine level!).”
“It was really a miracle.” I said.
“That is why I told Deo to focus first on his wife’s pregnancy. This may stress his wife and might affect their baby.” Nanay continued.
“For me, I would beg to disagree.” Ako po, ang aim ko is as early as possible, ma-transplant si Deo oratleast ma approve siya ng Philhealth (My aim is that Deo have the operation as early as possible or at least be approved by Philhealth). Actually, the creatinine of 3 is already for transplant. Mas maganda po kasi ang pre-emptive. Ibig sabihin, hindi pa nadidialysis, itra-transplant na. (It’s better to be pre-emptive and do the transplant before dialysis.)“
Chad kept quiet for a while and thought of something! “We could also do this…” He said suddenly.
If you really want to concentrate on your wife’s pregnancy, let’s do the work ups first, then lets enroll to Philhealth. If it’s already approved, and if your crea is 3 or 4 and you don’t feel anything, let’s postpone the operation till next year. Kinabahan ako. Baka maubos ang pondo ng Philhealth (I’m worried about the funds of Philhealth). The system and the scenario might change. Sayangang P600,000.00. (We might not get the P600,000.00)” – He was referring to PhilHealth’s Z package.
Know more about PhilHealth Z package here.
“Kaya for the meantime nak, ingatan mo muna ang kidneys mo. Kung maaaring pangat nalang ang ulam mo. (For the meantime, take care of your kidneys. If it’s possible to eat only sour fish)” Nanay said.
“Wag naman po. Kawawa naman si Deo. (Have pity on Deo)“ Chad cut Nanay. “He can eat meat and pork as what the dietician told him. Just follow your dietician’s orders.”
He gave Roy the lab and ultrasound request and he reminded me of our meeting next month to check whether his meds work. With a firm handshake to me and Roy and a nod of respect to Nanay, he affirmed us again not to worry. We got out of his clinic at around 12:00. We went home, ate lunch and brought them to GMC (Global Mission Center). They arrived home in Bataan at around 7PM.