Growing up, I always had issues with my lungs. Of all the things to be bad at, I am still bad at breathing. Along with my asthma, I have food allergies, tree allergies, and animal allergies, but I never thought I would be diagnosed with something like Kidney Disease.
In June, I went to my doctor to get some health issues checked out. I am over-weight, my asthma wasn’t doing well, I was tired all the time, retaining water, and so much more. When I looked it up online I had the signs of thyroid issues. I got to my doctor, told her my symptoms, and asked for a full blood work up. The doctor agreed that the signs matched the symptoms of Thyroid dysfunction. I was prescribed a new inhaler to control my asthma; Dulera has been a life saver!
When I went back a month later to see the doctor, she told me all my levels looked great! The only issues she saw right off the bat is my glucose level was at 5.5 and that had me in pre-diabetic stage. Then she looked back at the screen and saw my eGFR level, It was 49. I was told I needed to do more blood work, which was fine with me . The day after, I received a call from my doctor. She informed me my eGFR had dropped by two numbers. My eGFR was now at 47. She informed me that I needed to go see the Kidney Specialist; I set my appoint for July 25th, 2015.
eGFR is Glomerular filtration rate. It helps measure the level for Chronic Kidney Disease.
Before I went to see my doctor, I researched everything I could about kidney disease and GFR. My research showed the possibility of Stage 3A Chronic Kidney disease. What I didn’t understand is what causes this particular Kidney disease. In my research, I learned heart Issues and diabetes are the main causes of CKD ( Chronic Kidney Disease) . At this point, I needed and wanted to see the doctor.
The day I went to see my kidney doctor I was in very high spirits. I honestly thought this is a false alarm. “Nothing is wrong with me,” is all that ran through my mind. When I sat down with my doctor, she read my chart and saw how my eGFR had dropped 2 points. She asked me about my life, family — all that fun stuff. I told her about my asthma and what prescribed inhalers I always used.
Sometimes you have to joke to keep your spirit high!
At this point, she told me I have stage 3A Chronic Kidney Disease. I still wasn’t grasping what she was saying. In my mind, I was still okay. She went on to tell me that with my asthma and the long-term medication I was going to be on, it would sooner or later lead to Stage 5 CKD. This was not new information to me, I had read it while conducting my research. I talked to my aunt and decided the good of the inhalers out-weighed the bad of the kidney failure; I can live with one kidney, my nightmare is not being able to breathe.
My doctor wanted to do more blood work to see where my levels were and to get a visual of my kidneys in an x-ray. These tests were to knock out a bunch of different things, HIV, kidney stones, recheck my eGFR and my glucose levels. I was fine with more tests. I honestly still thought it was a fluke. Something, somewhere, had to have been wrong. My final diagnoses soon became Analgesics Nephropathy.
Analgesics, like Ibuprofen, Aleve, and Motrin cause Analgesics Nephropathy. I have been taking analgesics regularly since I was in middle school. None of my doctors cared to inform me that they could hurt my kidneys, nor did they keep an eye on my kidneys. Now I have kidney disease from something WE ALL — USE! Some of us use them daily.
Life is full of excitement!
I walked into the waiting room where my family was waiting for me. I guess my face showed more than what I was thinking. The words, “Oh no, she looks like she’s been crying,” said by one of my girls, rang in my ears. I wasn’t, but I guess my face showed worry, even though I wasn’t really feeling it. I told them we had to go get more blood work and I needed some x-rays done.
Once my blood work was done, I had to wait for the x-ray. It took them all of 5 minutes to get me back to get that part done. When I got out, my husband was walking the hall. I went up to him and he was on the phone with his boss. After he hung up, I asked what was up and I heard it in his voice. He started to cry. I hugged him and told him I was going to be okay. My husband’s boss gave him the week off because of the news and told him to spend it with me. He told me that he wanted to give me a kidney. I told him I was not in need of a kidney at the moment.
I realized that day, my family loved me.
One by one, my kids started to offer their kidney. I told them each no. I didn’t want my children to give me a kidney knowing they will someday have a child of their own. They needed to save that for their kids. At home, I told both of my sons that I was sick and I have CKD, they each cried. I didn’t learn this till a short time ago.
A week after seeing my kidney specialist, I was supposed to call her for the results. I some how lost her personal cell phone number! That is when my internet skill kicked in. I felt like a stalker. I found her facebook page and an email address. Thank goodness for the email address. She called me and told me my glucose level went up 0.2 points. I was now at 5.9 . She informed me to pay more attention to getting my glucose down more than anything. She didn’t want me to have yet another issue on top of the kidney disease and asthma. I’ve had to cut back on so many foods in my diet. I also am working to lose weight.
I got this!
Eventually, I started to notice what foods caused me to hurt. Food like cheese, tomatoes, fast food, soda, chocolate, bananas, and so much more. When I would eat any of these items, I would start getting pains in my back. I would feel sick as well. As this started to progress through the month, I started to notice I was not eating that much after removing certain foods from my diet. I started to use a food tracking app to see how I eat and to see how many calories I consume in a day. The app I use is called LifeSum. I love it! I noticed that some days I only eat about 200 calories. On days I push myself to eat, I can hit just over 1100 calories.
Since I found out I have CKD, I have dropped 18 pounds. Talk about being very proud of myself! One thing I have to make sure of is to keep my stress levels down. I also have to drink a ton of water. I cut out all soda, which was hard for me, but I did it! Sometimes I have a hard time cutting out all milk products; cheese is the hardest. I am doing it, though!
Chronic Kidney Disease hit my family hard. I never realized what a diagnosis such as this could do to a family. It brought my husband and me closer. My children have a new realization of how precious life is. As for myself, I have come to terms with me having Chronic Kidney Disease. Even though I have this horrible disease, I do not want to be a victim to it. For myself, want to live a very long life. I want to be there to play and enjoy my grandchildren once I have some, and I am in no rush! Enjoying my life and going back to school to become a respiratory therapist are still part of my plan.
I will do this!
Bad days with pain are still part of my life, I definitely have my days where I wonder ‘why me’, I know this can get worse, but I will do whatever I have to, to postpone it as long as I can.