Sunday, 13 May 2012

Progress Update

Blood test results show that over the last 4 weeks my kidney function has remained constant at 17% which is brilliant.

When I saw my consultant on Thursday I expected him to be quite happy with me - but he was concerned about other results.

Kidney function is estimated by measuring creatinine a waste product that is removed by the kidneys.
Whilst my creatinine stayed constant other measurements did change, for instance my potassium levels increased, calcium fell, phosphates fell and iron fell. So kidney % is not the only thing that matters I need all these measures to be on target too.

In response to these result my consultant has taken me off one of my blood pressure tablets. This will increase the flow of blood through my kidneys and force them to work harder. This should improve levels of the various chemicals being measured. The downside to this is it will cause more damage to my kidneys and result in them deteriorating more quickly. But given they are working so poorly now and we are planning a transplant my consultant wanted to move out of 'protect my kidneys' to 'get the best performance possible' mode.
The other downside is that I might see a rise in blood pressure. In the clinic it was measured at 137/87 and I need to measure it regularly at home and ask for some different blood pressure tablets it it rises above 130/80 which it already was in the clinic!

I discussed the fact my kidneys were so big and that I couldn't eat very much. My consultant doesn't think they will remove one of my failing kidneys until 3 months after the transplant operation. He said my polycystic kidneys would continue to grow cysts and get bigger - but the new kidney wont grow cysts. So small meals for a while to come and possibly a second operation. My biggest concern is about cysts rupturing as people who have large polycystic kidneys often get this happen and end up in hospital on morphine for several weeks.

On Wednesday I visited the transplant coordinators in Bristol with my brother Pete who is being tested to see if he can donate. The surgeon is happy to use Pete's kidney - so now it's down to whether Pete's health and kidney function are good enough to allow him to donate to me.
They explained to me that because I wasn't the same blood type as Pete I would need to undergo desensitisation treatment for 1 month prior to the transplant. This involves having a line put into my neck and blood taken out washed of antibodies and then put back into me - a process that takes around 4 hours each time it's done. By the time it's been done three times a week for a month they hope my antibody level will be so low that my body won't recognise Pete's kidney is not a blood type match.
This process does have a downside - my platelets will be very low after desensitisation and so my blood clotting function will decrease - this does add some complications for the operation and will affect how quickly my body heals. Amazing what they can do in medicine these days. A few years ago taking a kidney from a non blood matching donor wasn't possible.

Bristol are still quoting 4-6 months until transplant. I'm hoping it will be sooner. I wanted to be off work during the Olympics!!!

Next appointment is a kidney transplant recipients information day in Bristol next Tuesday 6-9pm. I usually go to bed by 7pm most nights so it gonna be a late night for me next Tuesday!

Thanks to everyone for your ongoing support.

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