Hi peeps, McSteans here. I have decided, perhaps foolishly, to enter the blogosphere. Some of you may know me from my husband Ryan's blog, the League of Melbotis.
Ryan and I currently live in Austin, TX with our two big happy dogs, Mel and Lucy, and disgruntled feline, Jeff the Cat. Once upon a time I was employed as a software engineer, but have 'retired' to focus on my health. Since I was seventeen, I have been living with kidney disease and have had two transplants. I am currently on dialysis three times a week. During pre-testing for a third transplant, I was diagnosed with severe Coronary Artery Disease and deemed too much of a risk for surgery. Years of kidney disease, transplant drugs, and other stresses have seriously damaged my heart.
This all sounds overwhelming and I'm not detailing my medical history to beg for sympathy, but like it or not, it is a huge part of who I am. I'll try not to whine too much, so alert me if you hear tiny violins while reading.
Dialysis, while not fun, is actually easier than it was 10 years ago. Between my first and second transplants, I was on dialysis for about 2 years and treatments lasted 4 hours (3 times a week). These days, newer machines have allowed for some treatment times to be cut, although I know there are some in my clinic who still do 4 hours. I am personally down to 2.5 hours, making it easier to maintain somewhat of a normal life. Most people sleep or watch TV during treatment, but I usually spend about an hour writing in my journal and the rest of the time reading.
Switching gears now, I've been trying recently to focus more time away from dialysis on having fun, so yesterday Ryan and I went to Barton Springs for a couple of hours. Before this summer, I'd only been to Barton Springs once, about 10 years ago. Ignorant of the 68 degree water temperature, I jumped in the water seeking relief from the 100+ heat wave of the summer of 1998. I thought my heart was going to stop it was so cold, but I stayed in and eventually warmed up by treading water. This year I have put my traumatic experience behind me and am proud to say I've been swimming many times. I even went off the diving board yesterday, in what will have been my first and last time. I love the entire experience of the pool, from the beautiful blue-green color of the water, to the sounds of happy people chattering while you dry out in the sunshine after your swim. Hopefully I'll be able to return many times before summer comes to an end.