The latest blood results came back with an elevated something or other related to Ana’s liver function (Jim spoke with Maria – the physician’s assistant earlier today). Maria said that the value is still within normal range, but it is up from the last time they drew blood (on 2/14). Ana needs to get blood drawn again tomorrow – which she will do at our local family physician’s office in New Paltz. Unfortunately we won’t get the results until (hopefully) Monday. If the value is still high, then she will need to get a needle biopsy of her liver done on Tuesday. This is already scheduled, with the hope that we can cancel it if the blood test results come back favorable.
Ana’s also clearly retaining fluid in her abdomen which is quite distended. She is no longer draining fluid because the hole that was draining closed up (a normal part of recovery). However, this much fluid is not necessarily normal and is considered a complication. It poses a risk of infection and it’s also pretty uncomfortable for Ana right now. She was up two pounds since yesterday when she weighed herself this morning.
The tiny bit of icing on this crap-cake is that Ana’s doing really well with the low sodium diet. It turns out it’s not really that hard to stick with if you actually read food labels and cook meals at home. She’s even keeping a sodium journal of everything she eats (she loves making lists.) Jim and I have never really been much of a team in the kitchen (he cooks, I eat. he doesn’t cook, we eat out). But Ana loves home cooked meals and she’s really enjoying the process of discovering recipes and trying them out. And, weirdly, I’m finding that I’m not as afraid of the kitchen as I thought I’d be. Those of you who’ve known me longest (Mary) will likely be more amazed about THAT fact than I am.
Anyway, back to blood test results and ceaseless worry. I’ve read that most liver transplant recipients experience at least one episode of rejection within the first year after transplant and that, for the most part, these rejection episodes can be reversed if caught soon enough. This is why Ana gets tested each week. The first few months after transplant are the most critical. Even though we know this – even though I KNOW THIS – I am still desperately, inconsolably afraid. And because of that I’m having a hard time shutting down the mechanism in my brain that wants to completely freak out right now.
I know I have to try. I’m not sleeping. I’m not relaxing. I’m making Ana upset. I’m fighting with Jim. Every nerve ending in my brain feels hyper sensitive to every sort of stimulus. I’m jumping at noises, snapping at minor infractions, staring into space…far…too..much. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for the final shoe to drop. I wanted to crawl under my desk today and hide. Literally.
I’m absurdly emotional and depressed.
I am not okay. But what can I do? I have no choice but to be strong for Ana.