Tag Archives: diabetes

Health Update

Just a brief update here today. The onset of Type 2 diabetes becomes more likely once one receives a transplant after age 45. Although my new kidney has been working well, I certainly haven’t wanted to put its good functioning to the test by having elevated blood sugar.

Here’s a chart which explains what the A1C numbers mean and where it puts one on the scale.

My first tests had me in the low 7s. Category: diabetic. The last time I was tested the A1C score came in at 6.4, a great number which indicated I had moved into the pre-diabetic range. This past week, the score was 5.8: non-diabetic! Wow. My first question was, “Does this mean I’m now free to scarf down a bunch of chocolate?” (I had visions of gnawing on the ears of a solid chocolate Easter bunny….) I was somewhat discouraged from pursuing that venture, but even so, I’m feeling pretty good about this number and hope I can maintain the disciplines of diet and exercise that have got me here.

Wishing you all a happy and blessed Easter (with or without chocolate!).

Grace and Peace,

Russ Sawatsky


Two Steps Forward + A Few More

Earlier this week I visited my family doctor for a regular check up on my diabetes condition. Readers of this blog may recall that I was diagnosed with diabetes following my transplant, a not uncommon consequence for those who receive a kidney transplant after age 45.

A common measure for one’s diabetic status is the A1C test. A number of 6.5 or greater is diabetic. My numbers during the last several months have been around 6.9 – 7.1. Happily, though, my most recent number was 6.4! Woo hoo! That means I have dipped into the “pre-diabetic” range.

Another step forward has also come from another blood test that showed that my creatinine level has fallen back into the low 90s. Although previous levels were in the range of 100-110, within normal range, having it drop several points a year after my transplant is really good news.


The “few more” steps refers to the Kidney Walk (click on this link if you’d like to donate), which I will be going on tomorrow (Sunday, September 24) morning. (If you live in London, Ontario, you may want to consider coming out to Gibbons Park at 10:00 AM.) Two years ago, when I first went on the walk, I was in the middle of dialysis. Last year, I was at less than two months post-transplant. This year I’m a full year beyond my transplant and feel like I have actually re-entered a normal lifestyle complete with a degree of health and energy that I haven’t experienced in years.

In gratitude,

Russ Sawatsky

Infographics about Kidney Disease and Organ Donation

Here are a couple of recently published “infographics” that contain some stark information about kidney disease and organ donation, courtesy of the Kidney Foundation of Canada. Given the increasing prevalence of organ failure in general and kidney disease in particular, it’s quite likely that this is more than mere statistics. Beyond myself, you may very well know someone else among your friends and extended family who is dealing with a disease that may ultimately lead to life-threatening organ failure.

Thanks for your support,

Russ Sawatsky

Circle of donation

I’m reposting this from the Grand Forks Herald in North Dakota. It’s a great example of a paired exchange, when incompatible donor-recipient pairs are matched with other incompatible pairs in a way that allows more transplants to take place. For Canadian residents, here’s a link to the Living Donor Paired Exchange program.

Circle of donation: Grand Forks couple takes part in six-person kidney exchange

Although he wanted to, Paul Voth could not donate a kidney to his girlfriend, Tanya Knodle, whose health has been failing in recent years (as previously reported April 6 in the Herald). Their blood types are not compatible.

But they found another way that Knodle, who was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at age 10, could receive the kidney she needed due to the diabetes-caused kidney disease she had.

The Grand Forks couple agreed to be part of a “paired exchange” program. Voth would donate his kidney to a stranger, whose donor would give a kidney to Knodle.

In mid-May, she and Voth completed tests to clear them medically for the exchange, she said.

“On July 2, we got a call that the surgery had been set for July 28. I was very shocked.”

Instead of a paired exchange, though, Knodle, 38, and Voth, 34, were part of a “triple exchange” which involved three donors and three recipients who had surgeries in Fargo, Minneapolis and Sioux Falls, S.D., on the same day.

Voth and Knodle were operated on at Sanford Health in Fargo. Voth’s kidney went to Sioux Falls; the kidney from that recipient’s donor went to Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis donor’s kidney came to Knodle in Fargo—a kind of “round robin” of organ donation.

It’s a way for a patient to receive a kidney even though his or her donor is not compatible, said Knodle.

For Voth, the decision to donate was a no-brainer.

“I didn’t really think about it,” he said. “This was someone I cared about and loved, and she needed a kidney, so why not?”

Click here to read the rest of the story.