This past year has been an incredibly stressful roller-coaster - work, health, raising a toddler, and all of the uncertainties.  About one year ago, we were given the earth shattering news that my kidney function has dipped into the danger zone, and that I need to get on the cadaver list ASAP and that I would need dialysis soon.  In response to this, in Jan 2018, we launched the "Donate4Hassan" campaign to find a living donor since the estimated time on the list is 3-5 years.  With each and everyone's support, donations, shares, prayers, and everything else I haven't mentioned -- our prayers were answered and we got a donor who had passed through all of the tests, and as of 8/31/18, I'm a new man and I have a new kidney!!!!

The time leading up to the date of surgery were crazy.  Getting everything in order, and taking extra steps to ensure my family is taken care of in case something went drastically wrong during the procedure was difficult -- no one ever wants to think that they may not be able to see the sun rise the next day.  We had to be at the hospital at 5:15AM, so that means we would have to wake up ridiculously early (since we wanted to be at home and not in a hotel the night before).  I had to wake up extra early because I had to do my last dialysis session before I got to the hospital -- there was a special odd feeling that came over me as I performed the treatment.  This would be the last time I had to do this!  It was quite liberating, despite the fatigue of not sleeping one minute the night before.  I mean, this was a game changing surgery -- who would be able to sleep!  I laid in bed, in the dark, just reflecting and thinking of everything and everyone that has supported me through this entire thing.  

We ended up being half and hour late to the hospital because of an accident on 495 at 4:30AM!!  Unbelievable.  We get to the hospital, check in, go up to the transplant ward and begin prepping for surgery.  I was expecting to get wheeled into the OR and then getting put under, nope, they were sneaky and put me out in the prep room.  I don't remember going under at all!  Before I know it, I wake up 9 hours later and the surgery was complete!  I couldn't believe the length of time for the surgery!  Typically, a kidney transplant takes about 4 hours.  But because my procedure entailed taking out my old ones (which isn't common), with a few other things, it extended the time significantly.  PKD had enlarged my kidneys so much, that I had to get them removed.

It was rough waking up from being under from general anesthesia for 9 hours - I was so drugged up that reality was incredibly hazy.  I have very cloudy memories from when I got situated into my recovery room.  I was hoping to say something funny and cool like that kid on YouTube who went to the dentist - "Is this real life?!" Sadly, nothing....lol  My family said I was pretty coherent, but everything, including the memory of it, was very foggy.  They were also semi-disappointed and wanted to hear me say something ridiculous as they all had their SnapChat apps ready...lol!  But, the doctors had stated that upon transplantation, the new kidney began processing immediately.  Not just processing, but processing a lot!  It was great news!

The next few days were very rough despite having some really strong pain medication through the IV.  I had a drug remote! Within defined limitations through their drug administration system, I would be able to push a button for a hit - it was kinda neat..lol.  The incision was made straight down the middle of my abdomen - which hurt like nothing I had experienced before.  Surprisingly, they make you try to get out of bed (even if it's to sit in a seat right next to it) very quickly (after a day).  By day 3, I was walking the halls -- really really slowly, but walking none the less.  The human body is insane.  Three days ago, I had my stomach muscles/etc. sliced down the middle, my internals moved around, and I've healed enough to be able to walk a little with assistance!

I was expecting to stay at the hospital for at least a full week (maybe 10 days), but because I had been doing so well and my lab work reflected great progress - I was discharged 4 days after surgery.  I was escorted to the front entrance by some amazing nurses, and my wife brought the car around and we were off!  The car ride was a little rough - you use your abs for everything....even minor things like stabilizing for a moment on a pot-hole or bump in the road.  But, it felt so good to get back home!  The hospital care was great, but you really can't get quality rest there.  Every few hours (even during the night) they wake you up for routine items (medication, taking vitals, blood draws, etc.).  

Back at home, and it feels amazing.  I am still in shock that my donor (who currently would like to remain anonymous) provided me a portion of his life to help mine!  When we think of super heroes, comic books/fiction/movies immediately comes to mind.  Many of us don't realize it, but they do in fact walk among us.  It's unbelievable, but Superman swooped down and saved my life on August 31st 2018.  There aren't enough words in the English language to describe the feelings of gratitude I have towards him and his family, but I hope one day I can provide (even a fraction) assistance to him, or anyone else, in their dire time of need.  

I'd also like to thank each and everyone of you who supported us through all of this, especially those who took the time to come and visit me in the hospital.  Just having you there and seeing your beautiful faces really brightened the day for me!  Looking forward to seeing everyone soon once I've healed a bit more -- would love to have Wolverine's powers right about now :-P.

So, given that I had been battling PKD since I was diagnosed a little over 5 years ago, doing dialysis for a very short time and getting a transplant this early on - what did I learn or what did I take away from all of this?

.......I'll let you know with the next blog post soon...lol!  Cheers, thank you and be great!  Talk to you soon!  

Hassan Shaukat