Friday, February 8, 2008


So I am home from the hospital after undergoing a kidney biopsy (my left kidney incidentally). I was very freaked out by this procedure before going into the hospital. I don't know, something about a very long needle being shoved into a major organ repeatedly didn't really appeal to my sense of excitement. BUT, I'm here to say that it wasn't really that bad. AND that you don't get any fun pain medications, only Tylenol.

Not to say that the actual shoving in of the needle wasn't painful because it was, but then it's over. They numb most of the area around your kidney, including muscle, tissue, etc. and then they do the biopsy. The numbing process was way more painful than the actual needle biopsy. In my case, they took four tissue samples so hopefully I will not have to do it again. I would say the most annoying part about the whole thing was having to lie pretty much straight on my back for 10 hours following the procedure. And having to spend the night in the hospital. I really hate being woken up to someone sticking a needle in my arm.

Anyway, I'm home now and I feel so optimistic for the future. I feel like I had this whole biopsy thing built up in my head and it really just wasn't that bad. I don't know. I feel good now and I want to stay that way. There are many things I need to change in my life to accomodate this new kidney involvement issue, but I feel really ready for the challenge. Life is too short to spend worrying about what may be down the road - and I don't mean that in a hedonistic way. I just mean that I'm really excited to be on the journey that I am on in life. In my last post I talked about a new path and I had all of these negative associations with it. But I think really, like many people, I'm just not a huge fan of change. I resist it. But in the act of resisting the inevitable, I create all of this tension.

I don't know, basically I'm saying that I'm trying to go with the flow and enjoy each moment. Also, that I'm embracing this new opportunity to learn about myself and care for myself in the best way possible. Does anyone have any suggestions about diet with kidney disease? I know low salt, but what else? I've begun eliminating wheat, dairy, caffeine, sugar, alcohol but am open to other suggestions.

That's it for now. Just kinda hanging out and recupperating. I'm looking forward to being able to excercise and get outside.


always sleepy said...

It's good to accept your path, but you don't have to own the bad outcomes. For me, learning to accept that I have lupus and that I will always have to deal with actually helped me to be healthier.

I was initially diagnosed in September 1997, during my orientation for my freshman year at college. My R.A. actually had to take me to the emergency room after discovering me vomiting in the bathroom, red and swollen, aching all over with a 103 degree temperature. I had high proteinuria from the beginnning and I was pretty sick, but I was determined to stay in school. We started a pretty aggressive treatment, and I went about the business of being a college freshman. In my mind I thought the only way to beat this thing was to pretend I didn't have it.

Fast-forward to December 1998. I've had lupus for about 15 months. I'm taking 6 classes, participating in several clubs, going out with my friends on the weekends, drinking a lot. Being "normal." My body gives out in the middle of exams. I'm trying to take an art history exam, but instead I find myself vomiting in the test and then passing out. When I go to the rheumatologist, she says my protein is off the charts. I can tell she's really worried, because she tells me that either I start taking care of myself or she would recommend that I take a leave of absence from school. During that spring of 1999, I had a kidney biopsy, which indicated that I had class II and V membranous nephritis. I started treatment (not chemo, just pills). But I also started seeing a psychiatrist.

The weekly sessions I spent with my psychiatrist from late winter 1999 into the summer were the best thing that I ever did. I would never have gone on my own, but my parents and my rheumatologist really pushed me to go. For a type-A, high achieving person like me, slowing down seemed like failure. But learning to accept my illness has allowed me to continue pursuing my ambitions.

I should say here that I know I'm blessed. By the fall of 2001, my kidney disease had decreased substantially. Whereas I had high proteinuria from 1997 when I was initially diagnosed, sometimes when I go to the doctor now, my urine tests are normal. I haven't had to do a 24-hour urine test in five years. My rheumatologists have all been fantastic over the years, but I really credit God and my psychiatrist for the improvements in my health.

My lupus is still "active" as my rheumatologist informed me yesterday and I still take 10 pills every day, but I am living much closer to the life that I wanted than when I was in college fighting the lupus every step of the way.

I often hesitate to talk about my illness, because I know there are so many people who are more sick than me, and I sometimes feel like I don't have a right to participate. But, I think it's important for you to know that this might be the beginning of a new, harder path. But it might also be your body teaching you a lesson. And it might be that it will be hard for some years and then it will get better. We can't ever know.

I wish you the best of luck.

butterfly girl said...

Always sleepy,

Wow, your story sounds so similar to my own. I've definitely gone through periods of denial and acceptance. Much as I hate to admit it, I too am a type-A overachiever in temperament and acknowledging that I sometimes have to slow down and do what my body needs always initially feels like failure. I am learning that lesson all over again and it really helps to hear your story and perspective. I've been thinking that therapy might be helpful right now. I'll keep you posted on that front.

LFA said...

Butterfly Girl ... so glad to hear you're home and recuperating.

Wishing you a relaxing and restful and healthy weekend.

Wick, LFA

Miz Flow said...

What? When I had my kidney biopsy (or shall I say biopsies as I've had like 3) they first put numbing cream on my back (emla cream) for about an hour, THEN they injected me with more numbing stuff which didn't hurt because of the numbing cream. The actual biopsy just felt like someone was using the heel of their hand to push on my back. Not painful..just pressure.

If they make you do it again, demand emla/numbing cream. If not, if you're willing to invest, but some over the counter at the drug store! :)