Lanna has been doing very well at home these past three weeks. Two weeks ago she had her dialysis catheter and incision staples removed, both of which were mental victories, indicating the doctors’ confidence that things are going very well.
Her energy levels had been improving, even with the frequent trips to the restroom during the night, but this week she started feeling a little drained. Her labs on Monday showed that her hemoglobin levels were low (7.1), and labs today showed they had dropped further to 6.7 (a normal level is 12). Hemoglobin indicates how much iron is in the blood (this is what they measure if you’ve ever donated blood), and is how the blood transports oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Low levels of hemoglobin inhibit blood flow, which for a kidney transplant patient is a dangerous problem. In healthy people, it can cause dizzy spells and lightheadedness when you stand up, both of which Lanna has felt a few times this week, but for transplant patients, it could be an indication of rejection.
A critically low level of hemoglobin would be 5, and Lanna is getting too close to that level, so her doctor has asked her to get her blood work done again tomorrow (Friday) morning and to see him Friday afternoon. We ask your prayers that her lab work will come back pristine tomorrow and that God will heal whatever is interfering with her hemoglobin levels. (My family typically has anemia and trouble absorbing iron, so Lanna’s problem with her hemoglobin right now is likely partly hereditary. Anti-rejection drugs can also contribute to anemia.)
Other than that, Lanna has been doing well. She has started working a few hours a week from home, and she has been ramping up her exercise (we walked 45 minutes together Tuesday). Her spirits are still good, although someone should probably get her sense of humor under control — she’s cracking jokes at everything.
Thank you again for all of your prayers, cards and help — it’s a tremendous blessing to have so many family members to count on.
In Christian love,
Update #6 on Lanna and prayer request (5/7/09) May 8, 2009