I’ve always known Cassie and I were a match, but now I have biological proof. Our blood typing test came back positive. We are compatible for the kidney transplant! *BIG CELEBRATORY SOUNDS* But now what? Cassie is onto the next phase of being a living donor. They’ll do even more extensive blood testing as well as interviews with both a social worker and a dietician before seeing a doctoral team that will go over with her what the surgery will entail. At first it seemed weird when they asked her to come to the interview alone, but it soon dawned on both of us, that was done for her protection – in case she was being coerced or tricked into doing this. They just want to make sure she is doing this willingly and of her own volition. It’s sad they need to take that precaution but at the same time I’m glad they are. Sometimes we need protection.
As for me, even more testing, too. But mostly, they are waiting for me to lose enough weight for the surgery. Only about 12 more pounds to go. So how have I been losing weight? Lots of support from family and friends – especially Cassie who has been cheerleader, advocate, and strategist all rolled up into one. But on the nuts and bolts side, I’m focusing hard on limiting my carb intake, replacing sweet snacks and carb-loaded sides with something more nutritional. A lot more salads. And a lot more veggies in general. Even there, you still have to watch your carb intake, so I focus on the things I like that are relatively low carb like mushrooms and zucchini, and will still have some onions and tomatoes thrown in for added flavor. Instead of sugar, I rely a lot more on salt, fat (like butter and good mayo), spices – things on the more savory side to whet my appetite. For me, this works because my sodium and potassium levels have remained normal throughout my CKD. If they were elevated, I’d have to restrict myself further to avoid speeding up the kidney damage. My phosphorous levels have started to go up and that’s mostly because I replaced sugars and sweets with cheese and nuts – two things that are high in phosphorous which can have a dangerous effect on your body (if you’re curious, here’s a great article on phosphorous and why it’s important to monitor it). Knowing that, I’m working on dialing back my reliance on dairy and peanut butter and trying to find alternatives for quick snacks that will help me keep it under control.
Overall, I’m trying to keep my carb intake to between 30g to 50g per day. Generally, doing so will put my body into a state of ketosis where I’m burning fat and not sugar. To give you some perspective, I would typically have about 1.5 to 2 cups of rice PER MEAL. And that’s just the rice. That doesn’t include breading on my meat or croutons in my salad. ONE cup of rice is about 52g of carbs by itself, so I was having about twice as many carbs in one meal as I eat all day now. It’s hard for me to give up rice, so for a while I was having 1/4 cup of rice at lunch and dinner and just trying HARD not to have any other carbs, but eventually I started having just 1/4 cup of rice once a day and it gave me more flexibility to add in things like onions and tomatoes or other foods with limited carbs. That gave my meals more texture and more variety and surprisingly over time I haven’t missed it as much as I thought I would. Sometimes I don’t have any rice at all!
On the protein side, I’m trying to keep it below 80g per day although if I go a little above this I don’t worry as much. Too much protein CAN throw you out of ketosis, but 80g is still below normal so I haven’t worried a lot considering that it’s been working for weight loss and my numbers have been holding steady (Thank God!). It’s all about providing as little stress on my kidneys as possible. Thankfully, there are a LOT of things I DO like to eat that are keto friendly. Omelettes are something I’ve always enjoyed, but now create a lot more often. Eggs are a wonder food and incredibly good for you. I eat much more salmon (which is fine because I love salmon) and have found a number of creative ways to do it. And there’s this wonderful chicken dish that I’ve been making I was able to adapt to a keto lifestyle. Over the next few weeks, I’ll share with you some of these delicious recipes so you can make them yourself and taste the yumminess.
Overall, I’m down to 239.2 lbs – only 3.2 pounds away from my goal. Stanford wants me to get down to 236, and I feel really confident about it. Like I said, I’m not a doctor so this shouldn’t be construed as medical advice. As always, go talk to your doctor about what works best for your lifestyle. But I’ve been frustrated for so long losing weight and this has been working great for me. It might work great for you, too. So if it helps anyone in their journey or just inspires you to keep trying, then I’m happy to share my journey with you.