Just as this blog, TrudyTriumph.com has evolved and progressed over the past few years, so have I. I started the blog to unload thoughts regarding the fear and anxiety I experienced as a urological patient with neurogenic bladder and bowel. As my body continues to morph, I count on you the reader to be in the wings; as I cheer for you, you can cheer for me (I hope). Life is never stagnant and as we exist, our form is always adapting and changing. It’s a law of physics! As my body changes, I need to constantly remind myself that my soul and attitude are primary to my contentment. Aging is an indication of our bodies wearing out. I just want to take the process a bit slow.
The first time I walked into the Virginia Mason Urology clinic, I was not prepared for what I saw. I was in a state of shock. Jolting my plans of a gigantic brackish lunch of briny fish and chips at the hospital cafeteria after the appointment, I read the words that cut deep. The sign did not merely say Urology Clinic, but rather, the sign that made me change my lunch plans, read Urology and Kidney Transplant. My immediate gut reaction, as I stopped dead in my tracks was, “Give me a break; shouldn’t they shuffle the really sick people in the back and discreetly discuss Kidney Transplant in hushed tones”. There the sign was: front and center, staring me in the eyes making me want to flee the reminder that the future of harboring chronic bladder infections was ultimately kidney failure.
Now, I am still far from the transplant stage but I am walking down that trail, so, in the future you will see a few more posts regarding my kidneys; as I learn for myself kidney tidbits, I will share those with you. I will probably get some things wrong. REMEMBER, I am not a doctor; just a patient that likes to leak private information, whine and write.
About two and a half years ago my urologist noticed that my right kidney was larger than the left. I felt fine, I was not even concerned. Ignorance is bliss, they say. While the doctors were worrying about antibiotic resistance because my back to back bladder infections I gave no thought to my kidneys. There was really no discussion of them with my doctor, other than her telling me that she was watching them. I was unconcerned.
Then, the nagging pain in my back started. The aching, smarting, twinge, which I experience now, as I type this blog entry. I have had it for about 5 months. Over Christmas it was so severe that small kidney stones were suggested. My hands are a bit puffy which cosmetically does not bother me much. Sincerely, they look younger than before.
I decided to see a Naturopathic Doctor. I visited her twice and got an ear full. She said that there are five stages of kidney disease. The GFR (glomerular filtration rate) for my blood of “49” indicates that I am currently in stage 3 out of 5 toward kidney failure. She went on to say that the average GFR declines as you age, but a result of “60 or lower” shows that the kidneys are not functioning as well as they should.
Here are the stages of Kidney Health:
- Stage 1: GFR- 90 or above: this indicates that the kidneys are functioning normally; it does not completely rule out kidney disease but is an indication that the kidneys are working well.
- Stage 2: GFR 60-89: the function of the kidneys is slightly impaired.
- Stage 3: GFR 30-59: the function of the kidneys is moderately reduced.
- Stage 4: GFR 15-29: the function of the kidneys is severely impaired.
- Stage 5: GFR 15 or under: the function of the kidneys is severely reduced and is often classified as kidney failure (often called renal failure)
Ii is very clear that my kidneys are being damaged, most probably due to my back to back bladder infections. For this reason, I am on a permanent low dose of antibiotics.
As I try to keep my kidneys healthy I invite you along for the ride. There is so much to learn and even more to fight for.
In a future blog post I will share with you the supplements she has suggested for me to try and how I am faring.
How do you try to protect your kidneys while living with a chronic illness? Please share.