In the darkness the trees are full of starlight (henwy) wrote,
In the darkness the trees are full of starlight

No news is good news

'Expectations were like fine pottery. The harder you held them, the more likely they were to crack.'
-Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings

I went to get the lab results from my blood test that I had taken a week before leaving for Gencon. Overall I guess things are fairly good, all things considered. The topline result is that kidney function seems to actually be holding steady, which is sort of a surprise. My last set of blood tests 3 months ago had readings of 3.3 and 3.2, and honestly, I had sort of expected the slow and steady decline in function to continue, and that was if I was lucky. If I was unlucky, I figured the decline would be more precipitous. The creatinine was 3.1 this time around, a slight decrease. Considering the amount of variability and error involved, it's very unlikely that things have actually improved, but simply holding steady is more than I expected. It basically translates to a GFR, or percent kidney function remaining of 23% or so. I also had another blood draw done in anticipation of an appointment with the nephrologist next week and we'll see if those numbers match up. I can't help but wonder if a loosening up of the diet while at gencon had any effect pro or con on kidney function.

I know it's probably pointless to try to anticipate what the future holds in situations like this but I can't help but trying to run the math. Before this latest result, the kidneys were declining at a rate which put me into official kidney failure, 15%, after around 2 years. A person can survive past that point even without dialysis until they get to the single digits when the poisons start to accumulate and it'll be either dialysis or death. Considering that the average wait for a transplant in NJ is 5-7 years, this was always going to be a sort of iffy proposition from a purely mathematical standpoint. I guess all I can do is hope that this current result wasn't an outlier and maybe things have actually stabilized.

As for everything else, things were generally pretty good though a whole bunch of things were out of range. I'm getting more anemic, likely due to the decrease in kidney function over time. The kidneys produce a hormone called EPO, which stimulates blood production in your bone marrow. Damaged kidneys means less EPO and thus less blood. I haven't actually noticed any negative effects whereas in the past when I was anemic I would feel more tired, easily winded, and lethargic. I can only imagine that the weight loss has made a difference in the opposite direction.

My A1C is down to 5.1, which I think might be the lowest it's ever least in recent memory. It's even out of the pre-diabetic range which is nice to see. My cholesterol has also plummeted down to 130 from around 200ish during the last blood test. Things are generally going well enough that the only medication I'm taking now is some vitamin D tablets, the sodium bicarbonate tablets to help preserve kidney function, and the potassium binders. No more blood pressure medications or cholesterol meds or anything of that sort. It's just as well since my doctor is pretty sure it's the medication that caused all this kidney damage in the first place. If I had paid more attention I wouldn't have taken the cyclosporin for as long as I did and all those surgeries with the huge doses of vancomycin probably didn't help either.

The kidney damage is causing other problems in addition to the anemia like elevated levels of potassium and uric acid but neither is dangerously high for now. All I can do now that there's a hole in the boat is bail water and hope that the hole doesn't get any larger.

Tags: blood tests, kidney disease

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