I just saw my nephrologist, thought I’d post a quick update.
First, I’m almost a month in of very clean renal diet eating (I’ve lost about 10 lbs in the process yay), and haven’t had a drop of alcohol in over 3 weeks, so I have to say I’m feeling pretty darn good right now. With my super social lifestyle, I don’t think I’ve gone 3 weeks without some sort of a drink in years. It’s amazing how it clears your head out. Anyway I’m gonna continue this trend as things are looking good, and most importantly I’m feeling amazing.
My protein / creatinine ratio jumped up to 4.9 (from 4.6) – which isn’t good – because my protein count in urine jumped a bit… but all my other numbers (potassium, phosphorus, sodium, calcium, iron, blood pressure, many other things that are way over my head) are all VERY GOOD and NORMAL readings. This is a direct result of diet I’m positive. He’s still concerned about my protein level in my urine (from the Acute Tubular Necrosis they found in the biopsy), but still wants to wait it out awhile as I’m not in “dire” shape and there’s still time to improve.
I’ve been on a high dose of prednisone the last month, and he’s going to start weening me off of it over the next month. I can’t just “stop” taking it, as my body would freak out – so I have to taper off of it for a month. I’m glad because this drug makes me very wiry – can’t sleep half the time (it’s why I’m up at 2 or 3 am some nights wide awake and not tired). So hopefully after weaning off of this I can get back into some normal sleeping habits again.
The BIG news though – which makes this whole thing as “real” as possible, is he’s referring me to a surgeon to get an Arteriovenous Fistula put into my arm. (click that link for more details of that). This is the first step in preparing for possible dyalisis treatment. Now don’t be alarmed – I’m not a dialysis candidate right now. But it takes awhile for this thing to heal up and become functional – he just wants it to be ready should the time come that I need it. My kidneys are at 22-25% functionality right now – should it ever dip below 20%, (and I start feeling the effects – which I don’t at all right now) the prospect of dialysis becomes very real. So it’s better to be prepared with the “preferred” method than to have to do it other more risky and pain-in-the-rear ways. Apparently this is “The way to go” so I’m all for getting prepared for it should I need it.
It’s an outpatient surgery – basically they fuse an artery to a vein in your non dominant arm, which increases blood flow speed through the vein. This thickens the vein walls, sort of creating a “super vessel”, so to speak, with fast rushing blood. That site could then be used for the exit and entry of blood to a dialysis machine. He says you can actually put your finger to your arm and feel the blood pumping through it – it’s called the “thrill”. You can also hear it with a stethoscope – that’s called the “bruit”.
It takes a few months for that to heal up and take shape – so that’s why he wants me to get it going and have it “Ready” for down the line (which could be months, years, whatever) should I ever need it.
So the next plan is – see the vein surgeon, get the AV Fistula procedure done, continue my prescribed medication, and see my nephrologist in another month to continue monitoring my kidney function.
In the meantime, I’m gonna continue this very kidney conscious diet and lifestyle, continue to lay off the suds, and use this time to my advantage to find creative things to do with myself. Right now, Netflix, Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons, and Uber driving are taking up a lot of that time – I just wish it would warm up so I can break the bike out and get some fresh air!
Another update forthcoming in the next month or so.