Saturday, June 12, 2010

Balancing act

Fix one thing, another goes out of whack. That is often my experience.

I went to Boston Wednesday instead of the usual Monday so I could meet with a kidney specialist, Dr. Humphries. When I first saw the note that I was scheduled to see a nephrologist, I was taken aback due to misunderstanding the word. I thought it meant someone who studied dead people. "I think I'm still alive," I thought. Then I remembered that this was someone for kidneys and that a necrologist was for dead people. Geez.

Barry drove me in because I felt kind of shaky. My hematocrit had gone down to 24, meaning I would need a transfusion if the number didn't pick up on its own.

First I saw the kidney doctor, who was very pleasant. My ankles have been swelling, and he said that's because I'm taking in too much salt. My sodium has been quite low, so I was doing what I thought was best for bringing it up: salty snacks, salt on food and salt tablets. Melissa had said I could take two a day, and then I read the bottle and it said up to five a day. So I added a third.

That finally brought my sodium to the lowest end of normal, but apparently it was too much. I don't change my meds without asking, but I thought a salt tablet didn't count. Apparently wrong. Now I'm off salty snacks and the extra tab. I hope my sodium stays up there. My potassium, which had gone too high, finally got down to the high end of normal. I am supposed to take a sandpapery powder in water, Kayexalate, to bring it down.

He said my kidneys looked normal now but they were badly scarred from the kidney failure.

He said he'd be in touch with Melissa and Dr. Alyea and that he'd see me in four months. ("Four months!" I thought. "He expects me to be alive in four months. Cool!" Kind of depressing thought process, but understandable. I hope with time this sort of thinking abates.)

Meanwhile Melissa said my hematocrit came back up by itself to 27. My white count was stable at around 8, but my platelets had fallen from over 100 back to 59. That really worries me. But Melissa said she had talked to Dr. Alyea and he said not to worry. They've bounced back and forth before. Okaaaay then, I will try not to worry if he says not to.

Physical therapy has been going very well. My therapist said on Thursday that I was doing some balancing exercises that I couldn't have done when I came in. I like it when they bring out the toys: balls, hurdles, bouncebacks etc.

I'm supposed to do something at home every day, but going out of the house gives you more motivation. Also for some reason I feel stronger there. Often at home I get stuck when I try to get out of a chair, but at least I do get out, and I manage most days to do my mile and a half or more walk, alas, without a dog for now.


PJ said...

I'm glad you didn't need the transfusion and that you will be visiting the kidney doc again in 4 months. I hope you find the proper balance in all you do!

Trish said...

isn't it amazing how cancer patients look at some things?

the fact that the doc wants to see you in 4 months is a GOOD thing! ;-) Like when I panic about something and the doc says "I can see you in 2 weeks", that tells me he thinks it can wait and to just calm the hell down.

Glad to know you have "long range planning" and that things are sort of going ok. Sodium is a tough one with kidneys that are scarred (my first visit to a nephrologist had me looking up the meaning, as I made the same mistake). But the other numbers are doing the right thing...balancing is a tough act and it seems to gently be doing the right thing. this is good!

The fact that you can do you walk impresses me. Keep it up! Hopefully sooner than later you you can get your pup off the DL list to join you again.

donna said...

Also, you and I will be hitting a tennis ball pretty soon. That's always good for balance and a smile!

pam said...


you always amaze me! Gentle-Strength, Resilience-Ronni...listen, as you do, to your doctors...dr. pam, your unofficial and first nephrologist, knows that your kidneys will continue to heal...

on the note of language, you would not have to have worried so much if Ancient Greek were required in all Schools! that's my plan for Secondary Education...

Here's a new Greek Nickname for You...Ronni-Nikea! Greek Goddess of Victory, and besides, the name of the shoe of your beloved sport...xop

Diane said...

What do you mean "he thinks I'll be alive in 4 months..." Of course you're going to be alive in 4 months. You are rebuilding and it is a balancing act (physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually)
Stay centered and keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll get there.

Susan C said...

Here's to finding the balance. Seems like that's always a challenge for me, no matter what my state of health.