Day +68, Sunday

Photo of the Day: ….and on the 68th day post-transplant, she tried running.

Overnight the forecast changed from all-day rain to part-day rain. While chatting with Dad this morning, I happened to glance at the hourly weather planner and noticed a brief window that lacked precipitation of any sort. Conversation wrapped up, I finished my tea and headed to my room to change. Selecting appropriate athletic clothing was challenging, because as I was sorting through my available clothes, there was also a little voice inside of me that quipped up, why don’t you try a run instead?

Unfortunately, last weekend I sent Andy home with a giant suitcase of clothing I had not yet worn after being released from the NIH, namely all of my run attire. No running tops, no cute jacket or windbreaker. No sports bra. Meh.

I was undeterred though, and quickly threw something together. Tights, merino wool long sleeve shirt, short sleeve t-shirt and wool jacket.Double yoga tops as a sports bra thing. Add in gloves and a grey and snowflake beanie and voila – perfect. Then Mom popped her head in and said she would be joining me and we crafted a plan: The loop at Seneca Creek Park. I would run a lap, and then run back to Mom and walk. If I felt good, I could repeat.

So that’s just what we did.

All in all, I ran twice. I have no clue about time running vs walking. I ran a full loop once and the second time, made it to the base of the hill before meeting up with Mom, who at this point was walking towards me as planned. It had been 45 minutes of run/walk (likely 15-20 minutes of run, if that, for me), and the rain and mist was starting to fall in earnest. Mom and I walked the final bit to the parking lot, at which point I raced ahead to 1) turn on the car 2) blast car heat and 3) strip off my wet running tops and put on a dry and toasty sweatshirt.

And let me just say – standing in a nearly-empty parking lot in 36 degrees with rain while swapping clothing is not fun. Doing so with a bald head, well, that adds another level of chilliness I did not know existed. Thankfully, the power of speed was on my side and within seconds I was seated in the front seat, warm and dry, with the heater blasting.

As for the run, where to begin? It’s been nearly 3 months since I ran, and I felt stiff, disjointed, like I was more shuffling than running (which I probably was). My lungs and heart aren’t used to this level of exertion, but hung in there. I simply focused on putting one foot in front of the other – like what I’ve done each day post-transplant. I do need to work on my flexibility and it will take time to build up both strength and endurance. But today wasn’t really about any of those – it was more about showing myself that I can. It was about the emotional and mental part of my new, post-transplant life – that I can push myself and (slowly) return to doing the things that I’ve done before, that have brought me so much joy and happiness.

It was only 15, maybe 20 minutes of running, broken up by walking; but today, I felt as though I climbed a mountain.

Later at home, I showered, warming up from the cold. I noticed for the first time a bit of a rash, similar to what I have on my upper arms, on the tops of my legs. Over the past day or two, these areas have felt similar to my arms – very lightly itchy, but not enough to scratch. I’m convinced that my new blood & immune system is getting acquainted with my skin (the largest organ on my body). So I slathered myself in various prescribed creams, then lotions and while that was setting, worked a bit to file and pamper my feet. Then it was tea and reading, a boring but predictable (for my GI system) dinner of chicken & wild rice soup, and a Messenger call with Andy while I had 1 page left of Book 2 (of the All Souls Trilogy). I don’t care what anyone else says – that’s love…..tearing through a book, only to abandon the final page for later because you want to see/talk with your significant other.

Tomorrow is Lucy’s birthday! Happy Birthday Lucy!! And its also another day in the Clinical Center. I’ll have labs first – we’ll see how my Tacrolimus level is, check on my kidneys, and I’ll bring up my skin with Daniele. It doesn’t hurt, doesn’t feel super aggravated – it’s just something I’ve noticed. I would like to avoid oral steroids, such as Prednisone, if it can be helped. My face is puffy enough as it is, eyes nearly crusted shut every morning and puffy in a way I have never experienced – I would hate to add Prednisone to the mix. But I’ll trust my team with this one, and when in doubt, take things one step at a time.

At the end of the day, that’s about all I can do.

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