nephrology consult

Today I met with the renal specialist. As is usually the case at UCIMC, an academic health care center, a resident met with me first to ask questions, review the results of the tests, examine me and discuss my diagnosis. Every time I learn that I have an additional condition, besides my stage 4 cancer, it feels confusing. On one hand, I think, well, compared to the cancer, this is not a big deal. On the other hand, with stage 4 cancer no one really needs any other complicating conditions. Now, with my type 2 diabetes and, as I found out today, chronic kidney disease, stage 3, I wonder how all those years of being healthy and disciplined with nutrition and fitness could result in my dealing with these issues now. Including the cancer. On the other hand with the damage from some of the treatment, I suppose had I not been as healthy as I was going into all of this, it could be a lot worse.

My kidneys are functioning at 45 percent of capacity. While far from optimum, it could be a lot worse. What I learned today was that damage to the kidneys is not repairable; once the damage is done, it remains. The only treatment is to avoid exacerbating the condition by eliminating any sources of further damage: NSAID pain medications, certain other drugs that put a burden on the kidneys (hydrochlorothiazide, which I take for my blood pressure, along with amlodipine which my PCP just discontinued), high levels of potassium and salt. It is best to avoid CT scans with contrast as they use iodine-based solutions, whereas MRI scans use gadolinium and are, therefore, less toxic.

I will do some research on sites that might be helpful for educating myself about this latest development. On a good note after feeling like I had caught a stomach virus yesterday and running a slight fever for a few hours, all the symptoms suddenly vanished last night before I fell asleep. Now I am just wiped out and ready to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

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© 2004–2012 Donna Peach. All rights reserved.

5 responses to “nephrology consult

  1. You are so brave! You are in my prayers . . .

  2. Thinking of you as you get your mind around this new normal.

  3. Dear Donna,
    As if you don’t have enough to deal with! Like Kathleen said, you are so brave, and you are in my prayers.


  4. I agree that you probably have had a slower degradation curve because of your strength going into this particular battle. But I also think your point is an important one for people to keep in mind – just because a person gets cancer you cannot assume that they indulged in an unhealthy lifestyle prior to diagnosis.

    I know too many cancer patients from my infusion center who were whole food/health food/organic/vegetarian devotees, who spent significant time in healthy exercise, who cared about environmental toxins and holistic health care practices. All were shocked to find themselves with their particular diagnoses – too many of which are terminal in nature.

    You may or may not be able to tweak your *risk* of disease with healthy eating and exercise, but there are no guarantees against cancer, unfortunately.

    Cancer isn’t fair. It also is not a value judgment. That’s important for both the patient AND the general public to remember.

  5. PS – pain isn’t fair, either. I hope yours resolves quickly, so that you can get back to doing the things you want to do. Love you, sweetie!!

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