Thursday, November 15, 2012

More kidney issues in my near future?

I had an appointment with my new general physician Tuesday afternoon.  I made this appointment for a few reasons, the main one being that my right ankle and foot have been swollen for a little over a month.  I have also put on 19 lbs. in the last two months or so, most of which seems to be from retaining liquid, and I have been extremely concerned about this.  This doctor, Dr. Castro, had me go to the hospital for a Doppler ultrasound of my right leg immediately following my appointment, in case I had a blood clot, but luckily, no clot was found.  I need to go to the lab for a fasting blood draw as he is concerned I may have some kidney damage.  I honestly had not even thought of this possibility and am getting very upset that this may happen to me as I am focused on Emmi Sue and do not have the time, nor the patience, to be worried over myself.
It has been mostly "easy" to get Emmi Sue to eat the foods she needs to be eating, take her medications and put her on the road to recovery as in many things, she has no choice but to do what I say.  I wish life were that simple for me, but it seems I need to make some drastic changes in my life, whether or not I'm also diagnosed with kidney disease.  I do not take care of myself as I should, and really never have.  What is wrong with me?!!!  If not for myself, I need to be somewhat healthy for my three girls as they will get older and need more care as time rolls on.  They age so much quicker and need me to be strong, but the way I have been treating myself, I'm surprised I'm well enough to do as much as I have for my precious babies.  This needs to stop!  I know what I should be eating and even though I have been mostly purchasing much healthier snacks for the last few months, many more changes must be made if I plan on surviving this very possible kidney disease diagnosis.  FUCK!  I can't believe I may have this damn sickness, too.
The "funny" thing is that of my three girls, Emmi Sue is the one who is most like me in personality so it would seem almost logical for both of us to suffer from the same conditions.  She has trouble with blood sugar issues, as do I.  She's a moody little girl and well, me, too!  She's overly clingy, moody, jealous, extremely loving and the sweetest girl anyone could ever meet.  I'm not sure I'm as sweet as Emmi Sue, but we are definitely a LOT alike.  Just as my mom and I tend to suffer from many of the same illnesses, it seems my daughter and I will go through many of the same things, too.  At least neither my mom nor Emmi Sue have anything as terrible as MS, and of this I am eternally thankful.

Even though I don't wish to jump to any conclusions, I feel it's important to know the signs of Kidney Disease, being that it is far more prevalent than I had ever imagined.

10 Symptoms of Kidney Disease
Many people who have chronic kidney disease don't know it, because the early signs can be very subtle. It can take many years to go from chronic kidney disease (CKD) to kidney failure. Some people with CKD live out their lives without ever reaching kidney failure.

However, for people at any stage of kidney disease, knowledge is power. Knowing the symptoms of kidney disease can help you get the treatment you need to feel your best. If you or someone you know has one or more of the following symptoms of kidney disease, or you are worried about kidney problems, see a doctor for blood and urine tests. Remember, many of the symptoms can be due to reasons other than kidney disease. The only way to know the cause of your symptoms is to see your doctor.

Symptom 1: Changes in Urination
 Kidneys make urine, so when the kidneys are failing, the urine may change. How?

    * You may have to get up at night to urinate.
    * Urine may be foamy or bubbly. You may urinate more often, or in greater amounts than usual, with pale urine.
    * You may urinate less often, or in smaller amounts than usual with dark colored urine.
    * Your urine may contain blood.
    * You may feel pressure or have difficulty urinating.

Symptom 2: Swelling
 Failing kidneys don't remove extra fluid, which builds up in your body causing swelling in the legs, ankles, feet, face, and/or hands.

Symptom 3: Fatigue
 Healthy kidneys make a hormone called erythropoietin (a-rith'-ro-po'-uh-tin) that tells your body to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. As the kidneys fail, they make less erythropoietin. With fewer red blood cells to carry oxygen, your muscles and brain become tired very quickly. This condition is called anemia, and it can be treated.

Symptom 4: Skin Rash/Itching
 Kidneys remove wastes from the bloodstream. When the kidneys fail, the buildup of wastes in your blood can cause severe itching.

Symptom 5: Metallic Taste in Mouth/Ammonia Breath
 A buildup of wastes in the blood (called uremia) can make food taste different and cause bad breath. You may also notice that you stop liking to eat meat, or that you are losing weight because you just don't feel like eating.

Symptom 6: Nausea and Vomiting 
A severe buildup of wastes in the blood (uremia) can also cause nausea and vomiting. Loss of appetite can lead to weight loss.

Symptom 7: Shortness of Breath
 Trouble catching your breath can be related to the kidneys in two ways. First, extra fluid in the body can build up in the lungs. And second, anemia (a shortage of oxygen-carrying red blood cells) can leave your body oxygen-starved and short of breath.

Symptom 8: Feeling Cold
Anemia can make you feel cold all the time, even in a warm room.

Symptom 9: Dizziness and Trouble Concentrating
Anemia related to kidney failure means that your brain is not getting enough oxygen. This can lead to memory problems, trouble with concentration, and dizziness.

Symptom 10: Leg/Flank Pain
 Some people with kidney problems may have pain in the back or side related to the affected kidney. Polycystic kidney disease, which causes large, fluid-filled cysts on the kidneys and sometimes the liver, can cause pain.

Of course, almost every single one of these symptoms is masked by my MS, making it impossible to differentiate between what I have become accustomed to and possible kidney problems.  So to this I say STUPID, FUCKING MS!!!!!

Take, for example, fatigue.  Hmm, people who have MS usually feel quite fatigued.  Then there's the "skin itching" symptom.  I've had this symptom with my MS for many years, so there is no way I could have associated it to kidney problems.  Food tasting different, well yes, I've noticed this but I also started a few new medications this year and I assumed this was why my taste buds were slightly out of whack.  I like the "dizziness and trouble concentrating" one most of all.  Hello, I have MS!  These things are a way of life for me!  Thank goodness for Meclizine, or I would be flat on my face because of my severe chronic vertigo. As for trouble concentrating, all I can say is DUH!  It goes hand-in-hand with having MS.
Alright, I won't jump to any conclusions just yet, but I feel I may be headed towards more severe health problems if I don't get my butt into gear.  I plan on going to the lab tomorrow to have my fasting blood draw so I can get these tests under way.  I won't even attempt to hide that I am concerned that kidney problems may be in my own personal future, but I guess if I have to learn to handle this, I will.