Summary: A wonderful client who came in wrote a story she wanted to share about her experience with kidney disease. Take a moment to read her story.
My Journey, Destination Unknown
In March of 2017, I went for what promised to be a routine yearly physical. However, the promise was broken. It turned out that there was nothing routine about this physical.
The results came in and the phone rang, “Hi Judy, It’s Dr B. There were some anomalies in your bloodwork. It might be the labs. Come in and we’ll do them again.” And so I did.
The second lab experience was as disturbing as the first. My creatinine was elevated indicating loss of kidney function. It was at this point that I was referred to a Nephrologist. Prior to this proverbial fork in the road, I would’ve described myself as an extremely healthy woman and did water aerobics four times a week.
My Nephrologist, Dr Y, suspected that I had Light Chain Disease which is a form of Multiple Myaloma. He recommended some tests to determine the accuracy of his speculation.
One of the most heinous symptoms of my journey thus far was the fatigue. It was not like your ordinary run of the mill tiredness. It was bone crushing fatigue that rendered you incapable of anything but lying down and hoping it would pass.
Anemia was one of my symptoms and I was getting shots of epigen to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more red blood corpuscles. It was in this compromised physical and emotional state that I attended my son’s wedding. The event was magnificent and proceeded flawlessly even with the mother of the groom a shell of her former self.
With the wedding in the rear view mirror, it was time to get on board the train of tests. Some were excruciating, like the bone marrow biopsy, and others were less painful but scary nonetheless, like the kidney biopsy.
My excursion through testville ended with a doppler test which revealed impaired bloodflow to the kidneys and one was completely shriveled.
At the urging of my children, I went to a prestigious New York hospital for a second opinion. It was there that I encountered Dr Gruff, a man whose credentials exceeded his bedside manner. One of his first comments was “you should put your name on the kidney transplant list, look at your GFR. “
For those of you who don’t know what a GFR is let me describe it succinctly. It’s the Glomular Filtration Rate and determines the flow rate of the filtered fluid through the kidneys. It indicates the stage of the kidney disease. I was stage 4.
Incidentally, a transplant is not a panacea and dooms the recipient to a lifetime of heavy anti – rejection drugs and, at the same time, the rejection possibility is always looming.
Dr Gruff suggested a procedure that might get my kidney numbers into the realm of normalcy by placing a stent in the renal artery. In hopeful desperation, I acquiesced.
There were always downsides to such procedures, like shutting down kidney function completely, but I took the risk. Sadly, the procedure didn’t work and all I got was a hematoma which left me lying on my back for 6 hours in recovery.
Do I sound “matter of fact” as I deliver the details of my journey thus far? No my friends, I am merely assuming the persona of a detached reporter. The truth is that I was an emotional wreck with terrible bouts of fear and sadness.
I joined an online support group , read a plethora of material and became acquainted with a Naturopathic Doctor who’d been through kidney failure and had written a book on his protocol to improve kidney function I made an appointment to see him.
He subsequently put me on a rigorous routine of supplements and diet restrictions. I ignored the beckoning of my favorite foods and bid a fond adieu to pizza and icecream.
After following the protocol for a few short weeks, I noticed an improvement in my kidney numbers. My GFR has gone up and my creatinine has gone down. It’s only a beginning but an encouraging one nonetheless.
My journey continues though I will leave you at this point. There’s no happy ending because there’s no ending at all. This is merely a pause.
As I said in the title of my essay, my destination is unknown. I often fear the future and it is difficult for me to pull the gold ring of optimism as my train speeds along the path.
“God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can and Wisdom to know the difference.”
~The Serenity Prayer