The 3 D's

Doctors, Dialysis and Donors

We'll start with dialysis.  So far my kidneys are holding their own.  I have not had to start dialysis yet.  My labs have been pretty stable.  My creatinine level is still climbing, but slowly.  It is 3.72 right now and my GFR is still 14.

Before dialysis could begin, I would need to get the fistula put in my arm and that takes about 3 months to heal before it can be used.  If for some reason my kidneys take a turn for the worse before my fistula surgery or while the fistula is healing, I will need a surgery to place a catheter in my neck straight into my heart.  This catheter will have two ports that the dialysis machine will hook up to.  We are really trying to avoid the neck/heart catheter as it has a higher risk of infection, and who wants an infection in their heart?  Not this girl!
For more information about Hemodialysis Catheters you can read about them HERE.

Doctors.  I have been to several in the last month.  In order to qualify for a transplant, I need to be given clearance from several doctors.  The appointments I have gone to and am happy to say received green lights from are dental, dermatologist, mammogram, gyn and cardiology.  On top of that I had 11 vials of blood taken and tested for everything under the kitchen sink...tox screens, STD screens, AIDS, Hepatitis and exposure to diseases in the past like chicken pox and mono and much, much more.
The cardiology appointment was by far the most interesting.  I had to have a stress test.  It was nuclear, meaning it was done with medication instead of walking on a treadmill.  I was not allowed to have any caffeine before the test as it would skew the results.  The first thing they did was start an IV.  Now I'm no stranger to IV's, but since I had to fast for the labwork, I got a little light headed after the third attempt at starting the IV.  Ouch.  Once it was in, my nurses got me onto a gurney and gave me gummy bears to raise my blood sugar a little.  That worked and before you know it I was feeling well again.  Next I was put in a seat with a big machine lowered over my chest that took pictures of my heart.  Then the nurse called me into a curtained off room for the stress test.  My blood pressure was taken and I was asked to lay on a bed.  The nurse injected some medication into my IV line, my blood vessels began to dilate wide open and within seconds it felt like I was having a heart attack.  Shortness of breath, racing heart, an elephant sitting on my chest, tingling arms and fatigued leg muscles.  Not fun.  Thank goodness they tell you beforehand what to expect, and that it only lasts about 3 minutes.  As the medicine begins to wear off the antidote to help it wear off faster is a nice hot cup of coffee.  Caffeine!  You guessed it, caffeine is used to dilate the blood vessels back to normal and that makes you feel better again.  After the stress test, I was put back in the seat with the big camera machine and had about a 4 minute set of photos taken of my heart.  I was so glad when all of that was over.  The best parts were the nurses senses of humor, the music and the gummy bears!

Donors.  On January 10th I will be going to education day at the hospital.  I will be meeting the transplant team and surgeons and learning all about living donors and the UNOS donor program. My transplant coordinator will help me reach out to those of you who have graciously offered to be tested as potential donor matches. As I find out more I will update my blog with more information.

Finally, I want to thank each and every one of you who write to me, check up on me and continue to pray for me!  I can feel the prayers and my heart is so full of praise for the One who created me and peace during this trial.

Until next time,

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I am not a medical professional. NO information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.


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