I've become skinny*. Now, before you decide to punch me in my now-scrawny throat for declaring such a statement, hear me out: the up and down sizing of my body is not helping the sense of destabilization I have felt during this post-transplant time. It's disconcerting; I don't like it. Not even my feet are behaving: they shrink and swell along with the day. Nothing is stable. I need new winter boots. I can't buy new winter boots, as I am not sure if I ought to buy them for my normal morning feet or my essentially-water-balloons-at-the-end-of-stick-legs evening feet.
I also confess that despite now being leaner, I am still wearing those dang leggings, seven months on, rather than real pants. I really must do something about this, as they have stretched out and we joke that it looks like I am wearing hammer pants.
(And if you don't know what hammer pants are, let me be the first to say thank you for coming along on this skinny person blog post ride. It is appreciated, but you are too young to be reading this post. Or any post. Shouldn't you be outside, playing in the snow? Building forts or something? Eating Fruit Roll-Ups?)
*I need to clarify. While I know it is far from socially acceptable in our North American society to use numbers for money, weight or age**, I'm perhaps foolishly going to break at least one of those taboos tonight. Yup, I'm going to talk weight numbers. So, prior to this latest transplant, I was on peritoneal dialysis. As such, I needed to weigh myself every morning, to make sure that the overnight dialysis had removed the correct amount of water-weight from my frame. To regulate this (quite unscientifically, but it is what is available) the PD medical team and I had to come up with what is known as a 'dry weight' (what I weighed without the usual 2.5L of dialyzate in my peritoneum). The number increased over the ten years that I was a dialysis patient (it is a sugar based solution, after all. Cut me some slack please) but just before my transplant, my dry weight between 141 and 142lbs***
Then I had the transplant surgery. Overnight, thanks to the IV drip, a kidney that decided to "sleep" for the first days, and general post-surgery water retention, I bloated. I ended up being approximately twenty three pounds over my dry weight. Let me just state that again: this happened within days. Everything puffed up. My hands, my face, my belly, my legs. Even my bum decided to get in on the water retention party.*****
So via a few days of hemo dialysis, months of diuretic pills and a kidney that decided to eventually (somewhat) wake up, I lost that weight. But it took time. The lymphocele showing up one week post-transplant also did not help. That brought along a whole new set of lymphatic fluid weight distribution issues. Read: I was lumpy and bumpy and rarely recognized my own body.
By mid-November, over four months post-surgery, I was thankfully again at my dry-weight. Then. Then I had the fateful lymphocele marispulization surgery. As we all know, that did not go as well as hoped. I left the hospital six days later, again with an extra twenty pounds of water weight. I felt awful.
I wore my leggings. I removed every sprinkle of salt from my diet. I often dishearteningly but stubbornly wrapped my legs in tensor bandages at night. I did what I needed to do to lose that water and re-distribute the lymphatic fluid. And then, I waited and let my body heal.
In the process of healing, I am now at 131 lbs. While that may not sound emaciated, when I looked at myself in the full-length change room mirror the other day, I was shocked. I do not recognize this body that I find myself encased in. It's not the one I know. It is not familiar. I left that store's change room feeling slightly dizzy from this swaying to and fro reality.
**I firmly believe that shame thrives in taboo. So this is me refusing to accept these silly societal rules that say that we (especially women) have to hide our age and weight. That's bullshit. I'm nearly forty-two, one hundred and thirty one pounds and damn proud of both.
***using pounds here folks - my at home scale was set to such measurement****. So I guess this post is for you, U.S.A, Burma and Liberia.
**** if this is really stressing you out, simply take those pounds and divide by 2.2. Ah, math, the saviour of the world. Oh. Wait. That is Jesus, right? Dang. Always getting those two mixed up.
***** it wasn't a party.