October 15, 2009

Kidney Update

Yesterday was my six-month appointment with my nephrologist.  (If you're local and looking for a good nephrologist, let me know.  I really like mine, and have a good recommendation for one in Northern VA, too.  Leave a comment with your email address.)

So - the bad news is that I have gained a few more pounds, instead of losing them.  That made me more upset than it did him, but that's because I've been doing a lot better at not snacking over the last month or so.  Oh well.

My kidney-specific numbers are doing really well.  My Protein is less than 1 gram, which is a far cry from when I first started this journey.  My createnine was a little high, at 1.47, but seemed manageable.  The nephrologist was very pleased with the way things look with all of my labs.

Because no doctors appointment is without some drama, my blood pressure was called into question almost as soon as I got into the office.  When the nurse took it initially it came out as 92/70!  That's great, if I weighed half of my current weight, and did not have kidney disease.  But alas, I'm heavy and diseased, so my bp will never actually be that low.  The doctor came in and took it again, this time taking a really hard listen and being super specific about how he was doing it.  And he did it again after that.  I told him that I had run out of one of my meds about two weeks ago (read: three), but that was even stranger - it's the blood pressure medicine that I take! 

They decided that the cuff they were using is faulty, and I'm glad that they figured that out.  The nurse came back in a few minutes later (giving my arm time to get back into "ready" - with a smaller cuff.  The reading after that came out much more realistically - 112/80.  That's pretty incredible considering both weight and diseasedness!  We talked about it and decided to go the next six months (at least) without the medicine and see how things come out the next time, while at the same time monitoring at home to be sure that there is no big jump.

So, stats are good - took a medicine out of rotation - left!  Woo Hoo!

On the Flu front - my brother got the Swine Flu, but we managed to duck it, at least so far.  My doc does not seem too concerned, even though I take immuno-suppressants, so I'm going to calm down about it, too.  Because of stupid insurance stuff I could not even get my regular flu vaccination during a scheduled visit.  Well, I could, but they would only pay for one or the other.  Who says we don't need reform?


  1. I'm glad your appointment went well and very glad you were able to take a med out of the rotation! Here's an ignorant question. Is it possible for the course of this disease to reverse itself or is that ridiculous dream wishing?

    Paul gets a free shot at work. Both girls will get both shots as well. So I figure I can save $50 and not get myself vaccinated this year. But I'm thinking probably cost should not be a big factor in this decision.

  2. Glad you're doing so well!

  3. The correct BP cuff size is one that covers 2/3 of your upper arm. Too large a cuff will result in up to a 4% error (on the low side) but too small a cuff results in up to a 25% error (on the high side). I heard this at a conference at a BP lecture by a Pediatric Nephrologist.

    The Swine Flu vaccine is free, as the taxpayers are picking up the tab for this. There would most likely be an administration fee though that isn't covered.

    Here in Pennsylvania, our state Health Department gives vaccines for free. Have you checked into your state health department for the seasonal flu vaccine?