Bud Anderson can hardly believe how wonderful he feels. It's been less than a month since his kidney transplant, but already he notices a world of difference.
The constant fatigue is gone, replaced by the kind of energy he hasn't had in years.
"I had forgotten what it felt like to really feel good." said Anderson, 58, who received a kidney from his wife, Judy, in operations that were documented in Loudoun Extra.
Since his kidneys failed in February 1998, Anderson's health had slowly deteriorated. He was able to avoid dialysis by improving his diet, and Judy, 57, got him off the waiting list for a new kidney by persuading him to take one of hers.
The gift--both the giving and the receiving--have changed not only his health (not to mention hers, for a while) but also their 38-year marriage.
"Judy and I, we've always been close," Bud said. "And you think you got everything, and it couldn't be any better and you can't get any closer. But you can."
Bud's fears, for her as well as himself, dissipated when he woke up after surgery to learn that Judy was doing fine and that his new kidney was working well.
"I was a different man," he said. "I was the happiest fella in the world."
The road to recovery has been a little easier for Bud. Because Judy's operation was more invasive than her husband's--who received the new kidney right alongside the old one, which was not removed--her pain has been more intense. She still tires easily and is slightly numb on her left side.
But, Judy says, she feels stronger every day. Now that both of them can climb the stairs again, they have moved from the first floor of their home back into the bedroom. Doctors estimate that Judy will take six to eight weeks to regain her strength.
Bud, on the other hand, says he felt hardly any pain. His body has shown no signs of rejection, and he hopes the 60 or so pills he takes every day will keep it that way. The first three months will be the most critical.
He travels to a Winchester lab three times a week to have his blood drawn, and there have been a few setbacks: erratic blood pressure, fluid in his lungs and a little shakiness. But they were all problems corrected with an adjustment in his medication.
Since the surgeries, well-wishers have inundated their home with cards, flowers, phone calls and food. Friends have shown up with dinner for the Andersons every night for three weeks. People they haven't seen in years have stopped by to see how they are doing.
"We've been so blessed," Judy said. "It's unreal how many people we've heard from."
CAPTION: Bud and Judy Anderson, shown several days before surgery last month.