Monday, November 26, 2007

Seven Years Struggle

In 2000, during my annual physical examination, I noticed that my urinalysis results has blood occult and +++3 albumins . Though findings has no remarks, I consulted our company doctor and he refers me to a urologist. Urologist has no findings based on some additional laboratory test . I seek the services of a nephrologist and check me for all possible signs but to no avail. The nephrologists requested me to undego Renal Biopsy, a laboratory procedure to obtain a sample of kidney tissue. Wherein Ultrasound is used to mark the biopsy site. A biopsy needle will be inserted into the skin to get a sample for analysis. Results showed clinically, asymptomatic urine abnormality and glomerulonephritis (GN) a general term for kidney inflammation. My nephrologists explain that my case is different from others who have kidney disease but will try if medications can improved it. So I take the medications prescribed , but when I had my medications especially the immuno suppressant - steroid tablet ( which will decrease body immunity system), I was hospitalized (3 consecutive years) for having pneumonia.

In 2003, I seek another doctor to handle my kidney disease. Medicines were changed and I have better body condition, though my doctor emphasize that my medications is only to control the level of creatinine in my body. Creatinine is a chemical waste that is generated from muscle metabolism. It is carried by the blood to the kidneys, which filter it from the body. In 5 years I managed to continue my work without being hospitalized, can travel and do the usual things I do, though my creatine is increasing and some of the symptoms of kidney diseases were noted already like:

  • Abnormal blood results: low hemoglobin, high phosporous(P), high creatinine, high potassium (K) and low calcium (Ca)
  • High blood pressure
  • leg cramps
  • Easily get tired (Fatigue/Weakness)
  • Back Pain

In early 2006, doctor advice me to go on dialysis, but I refuse because I think and feel that i'ts not yet time. However, my creatinine is already 14 (normal range is 0.5 - 1.3) and my kidneys is nearing on end stage chronic GN, this a condition that exists when the kidney fail to stop or cease nomal funnction causing build up toxic substances within the body. Usually detected through blood test, serum creatinine. In physiology, it is described as decrease in the glomerular filtration rate to function adequately (GFR). The GFR is the differential contribution of left and right kidney. End 2006, I decided to have a fistula on my left arm in preparation for my dialysis. The surgeon created an access (Fistula) connecting one of my arteries directly to a vein. The arterial blood has higher blood pressure than veins and causes swelling of veins involved in the fistula so it can be used for repeated needle insertion. These takes several weeks to be ready for use.

In May 2007, I started my Dialysis; It is the process of removing waste toxins from the blood (filtering) either by passing it through a machine (hemodialysis) or a lining of the abdomen (peritoneal). In my case, I choose the hemodialysis. A machine called dialyzer will clean your blood of harmful waste and toxins (extra salt). This will helps control blood pressure and keep the balance of important chemicals in the body. The blood travels through tubes into dialyzer (first tube) which filters out waste and extra water. The newly cleansed blood then flows through another set of tubes (2nd tube) back into your body. This is done twice a week at four hours per session.

After my dialysis I still report for work to train one of our QA staff to handle my load in my absence. At that time we have decided (my family) to undergo Kidney Transplantation. It is the process of implantation of a kidney from physically healthy individual through surgical procedure from a comparable donor recipient. My brother (kidney donor) and me, had a series of laboratory workout and after completing the tests and securing clearances from different doctors, we were advised to wait for the schedule. Last September 4, we were admitted at National Kidney Institute and the operation was done the following day. This is how my kidney looks now, the old kidneys were not remove but the new one is that lower right.

My donor leave the hospital after 4 days, I went home September 15 and the following day is my birthday. Truly this is the greatest gift I ever had, a blessing for having a kind and loving brother and a supportive family. I thank god for making my brother an instrument to prolong my life and continously blessing our family. For making my faith stronger and giving me courage in facing this struggle. Being a post a kidney transplant takes a greater responsibilty, because the success to have a longer life depends on every transplant indvidual, a change of life style should be considered and need to be followed. After all, having a new kidney is a second life .... a new life....