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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Sloshed! The Sequel

I was going to write last evening, but the internet connection here was very odd last night. From one moment to the next, there was no telling whether the internet would be connected or not. It got to the point of having ten minutes on, ten minutes off, then four and a half minutes on and ten minutes off - it was enough to drive me crazy. As those of you who have been with me a while know, at least it's a very short drive. Since all of you were so kind as to listen to my tale of bad test results and having to drink so much fluid that my eyeballs were floating, I thought it would be polite to follow up with some results.

I mentioned that there were some results that made it seem as though my kidneys were declining in function. As I mentioned in the previous post, I don't want to travel that road again. On November 30, my blood pressure was 130/86, which was a bit too high. When I came back for my blood draw on December 9, it was 118/66 which is wonderful. Wow, I thought, these results are going to be good!

Yesterday the last few results finally came in. My blood sugar was nice and low for a diabetic, coming in at 89. I won't bore you with more numbers than are necessary, but one of the results Doctor Mike had his eye on was my uric acid levels. I had told him I'd had two attacks of gout within one week, and if uric acid builds up, attacks of gout happen. It's quite painful because the crystals of uric acid collect in the joints, so it's like having stuff grinding inside your joints. It hurts as bad as it sounds. If it happens too frequently, it can cause joint damage, so we need to keep on top of it. (An interesting side note: According to Dr. Mike, colchicine, a drug that was generic and used to treat gout, had come to a point of needing more testing to be re-patented or some such thing that makes no sense to me. The company didn't want to spend for testing and now another company has done so. The drug is now called Colcrys and costs tons of money. Sound familiar? Drug companies, ugh!) Anyway, my uric acid level decreased from 11.4 to 7.5. It's still a tad high, but a huge step in the right direction, yay!

The test that was really a cause for concern was my serum creatinine level. Creatinine is a byproduct of muscle metabolism that is excreted by the kidneys. If the creatinine level is too high, it is an indication that kidney function is impaired. With me also being diabetic, there is additional stress on the kidneys, well, on all of the body parts, really. If there was a decrease in kidney function, we'd have to re-evaluate my whole diabetic treatment program as most of the pills are metabolized in the kidneys. I was not looking forward to going through another period of trial and error to find an effective diabetic medication, especially since my sugar levels have been doing so well.

Normal creatinine levels for females, depending on your source material, run from about 0.6 to 1.3. 1.0 or lower is the magic number Trent and I have aimed for ever since we heard of creatinine. Back when I was diagnosed with lupus, the readings were done as 1.1, 1.2, etc. Now they go two numbers past the decimal point. I've been told that a good way to think of it is that when the number increases from 1.2 to 1.3, for example, that actually means the function has gotten ten times worse. So when I went from 0.92 to 1.22, I was every bit as concerned as Doctor Mike was. The good news is that it went back down to 1.02, which is a very respectable number that would make most nephrologists happy as far as Trent's case and mine are concerned.

I'm sharing these possibly boring results with you for a number of reasons. I certainly have nothing to brag about, but everything to celebrate. Numbers can change. When they do so quickly and in the undesired direction, they are a sobering reminder that we need to remember to take care of ourselves, especially when we feel great. The human body is an amazing and resilient thing, but it is also a delicate one. When one thing goes out of balance, it can have an impact on the entire body. And I can attest to the effect it can have on the mind with stress and worry as well. 

Guard your health, whether it is robust or suffering some challenges, like a precious gift. It can change quickly when we're busy paying attention to other things. As I have said before, one of the best wishes I can give to you or anyone is very simple. Be well! And as always, I hope that you will be happy. 

p.s. As Doctor Mike said in his notes on my test results, keep hydrated!


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