Monday, February 1, 2010

On the Cusp

Yesterday the bad news.

The remaining functionality of my single kidney has dropped 3% in the last 4 weeks from 15% to 12%. The sudden drop seems to be a feature of my progressively failing kidney. It has been stable at 15%-16% for the last six months after a drop from 23% with the removal of other kidney.

I haven't felt any change. My appetite, weight, and blood pressure are all good. Every visit to the specialist which showed no change in the blood work encouraged an optimistic view; that the daily cocktail of drugs had halted the decline, that this benignly stable state could go on indefinitely.

Yesterday was a wake up call

For starters, I'm six months older. That might not seem like much but it shortens the window of opportunity in which have a transplant from seven and a half years to six. At my age every month counts. Then again maybe that's my particularly dire circumstances talking. 10% kidney function is the cutoff point (transplant, dialysis or death follows) and I just dropped 3% to 12% in 4 weeks. It may stabilize again but I wouldn't count on it. It is more likely I'll be under the knife sometime soon.

There is sense of urgency now that wasn't there before. My next appointment with the skin specialist to check the treatment I had for Bowen's disease has been brought forward from March to this afternoon. The treated ear has been a problem ever since treatment; it itches, feels hot and can't strand the sun. I can sense it now in a way I never could before and can't for the untreated ear.

This could be because the treatment spurs on the immune system to heal the disease. (one reason why the treatment has to be finished before transplant because transplant requires the suppression of the immune system). Equally it could be that I can feel it because I know I have it. In the same vein, yesterday's startling drop in function convinced me I could feel the pain in my kidney.

So here's fate that's worse than death - contemplating it. Young healthy people never give it a thought.

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