Monday, December 13, 2010

The Taming of the Kidney

So yes, on top of all of my kidney related health disasters the world saw fit to place a tumor the size of a foot on my wife's ovary. While children were never really an option for us, or even a desire, this will ultimately put the nail in the coffin of any prospective offspring. Sorry, Mom.

However more importantly, to us anyway, is exactly how we're going to manage any kind of day-to-day functionality with all of the medical procedures that are coming up. We are both going to be having major surgeries which will essentially disable us for 6 weeks at a time, each. It is very likely that there's going to be some overlap in our recovery period. Not only that, but now we have two surgeries that we're going to have to find a way to budget for. All of this on top of a newly rekindled discussion about whether or not our government has a responsibility to provide its citizens with access to affordable health care. I'll try not to politicize this blog too much, but needless to say we here at Kevin's Kidneys think that they're all a bunch of liars and thieves.

However there is some good news in the saga of my renal health! At our appointment today we learned that my kidney function has improved slightly, which means that I can go a while longer without needing dialysis. This is kind of a mixed blessing. Dialysis would make me feel less nauseous, improve my appetite, relieve some pain, and in general make me feel better - but it carries the risk of infection, puts stringent restrictions on my diet, and I've been told the process is very 'draining'. Staying on dialysis for an extended period of time can also lower the possible success rate of future transplants.

Another issue is that my kidney function isn't yet considered 'bad enough' to instantly qualify for dialysis according to our Health Insurance companies. Until my kidney function drops below about 10% of normal, insurance companies will refuse to pay for dialysis. If my doctors considered it medically necessary, they would have to write letters and give reports basically begging my insurance company to allow them to treat me.

So until my kidney function gets low enough for our insurance to be okay with dialysis, the doctors have given me a medication known as Lasix. Lasix is a diuretic - a drug that basically flushes excess fluids from my system. This will reduce some of the swelling and alleviate the shortness of breath I've been experiencing. It may even improve my appetite a bit and keep me feeling healthy while we wait for dialysis or a transplant. It will also make me need to pee more often than a new puppy with an overactive bladder, but you take the good with the bad.

In any case, I hope I'll at least be feeling a bit healthier within a week or two. I won't actually BE any healthier, but it would be nice to not have to sleep for 16 hours every day.


  1. Kevin, I just want you to know I really appreciate your efforts in keeping us all updated with what's going on with you and Liza. It's difficult being at all in the know when you live so far away, and so now I at least feel like I have some idea of what the two of you are going through. We think of you often, and keep the Texas McCallas in our prayers always. Feel better.

  2. The least we could do after all the generosity and kindness everyone's shown us is keep everyone up to date on how things are going. It really does bring our spirits up to have so much support.

  3. I'm so angry about this. Really. Things in the system have to change. How can people not see this! I wish you both were here in Korea where the system is a bit better. Hugs.