Jan 242012
 

Dan found this dog literally starving to death in the middle of a street in our neighborhood and couldn’t leave her there. She’s been at the vet since January 18th but will probably come home to our house this week sometime. She had most of her tail amputated today – (it was cut off, infected, and a bone was sticking out). She was full of parasites and has some kidney issues as a result.

We named her Juna and hopefully her last years will be spent in comfort.

Nov 142011
 
Eating Broth

Having broth a few hours after the surgery

Last Thursday, November 10th, 2011, Danny & I arrived at the surgery waiting room at about 4:45 a.m. We couldn’t get in there yet because it wasn’t open, but at 5:00 a.m. the doors opened and we sat down. I signed in, gave the waiting room lady my surgery pass and waited. After awhile I was called into a private little room and was told to take off the clothes and put on the gown. The first gown they gave me had no ties, so I had to ask for another one. I was pretty scared, so being scared with a malfunctioning gown wasn’t going to make me feel any better. So after putting on a new gown and the cute little non-skid socks they gave me, a bunch of people came in to perform different tasks. Blood was taken, blood pressure as well, an IV was inserted at my wrist and I peed in a cup… again. After that there was a parade of other people who all told me what to expect – the anesthesia nurse, anesthesia student, and the doctor himself. He said the operation would take about 2.5 hours and that they’d come for me soon.

Well, they didn’t come for me until about 8:00 a.m. I had already been there over 3 and a half hours and really, I was ready to get this thing over with. They put some drug into the IV and ::poof!:: I remember being wheeled out the door… and that’s it. The next thing I remember I was in the recovery room. It seems like the operation took a bit over 3 hours. I looked at my abdomen to see what sort of damage I had; five little holes and one slice on my lower abdomen, just like I expected. I was full of wires and tubes and pretty much tethered to the bed. I had oxygen hooked up, heart monitors, IVs, some inflatable things on my legs and (oh lovely) a catheter. I had a pump with a narcotic that I could administer myself for pain. I didn’t really do that much – the pain was really very minimal. My family was there and I felt pretty good. Mostly I was just relieved the operation was over.

Long story short here, I started bargaining immediately for all the tubes to be removed. At the end of Thursday night, I had successfully gotten the oxygen removed. Later in the evening, I decided to stand up and see if I could walk – which I totally could. My muscles felt really sore, but not really painful. I pretty much stayed up all night on Thursday as people come in and poke at you every hour in the hospital. I moved my legs around, got up every few hours and drank a lot of water.

The next morning, my doctor said that all the rest of the tubes and wires could be removed – including the catheter. What a lovely day it is when you can pee on your own… just sayin’. He also said that I could finally try some real food. It had been 2 days since I’d had anything other than liquids, so I was pretty excited about this. After lunch, the doctor came in again and checked me out, told me that all my tests were good and that I could go home… today. I couldn’t believe it! They had told me that I would be in the hospital from 2 – 5 days. I’d never even hoped to have the surgery and come home the next day! Hallelujahs!

So anyways, I’m at home, I’m walking around, taking her easy, but not helpless. I get better every day and I’m healing super fast. I finally got some great sleep (there’s no place like you’re own bed!) and feel totally rested.

I have to admit that the prospect of having Krueger out was the scariest thing I’d ever had to deal with. I thought maybe I’d handle it better, but I was way scared of the surgery, notsomuch the recouperation, but the surgery itself. I don’t know why, but I just had an overwhelming feeling of doom. As it turns out, I needn’t have worried. With the help of talented doctors and a super supportive family, having a nephrectomy was a piece of cake.

 

Nov 072011
 

So, the day that Steve Jobs died I found out that I’d be probably having my right kidney removed. The funny thing was, I never even thought I had any kidney issues. Turns out I have a congenital thing called an UPJ obstruction:

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage in the area that connects the renal pelvis (part of the kidney) to one of the tubes (ureters) that move urine to the bladder.

UPJ obstruction generally occurs when a baby is still growing in the womb. This is called a congenital condition (present from birth). Most of the time, the blockage is caused when the connection between the ureter and the renal pelvis narrows. This causes urine to build up, damaging the kidney.

So my right kidney (nicknamed Krueger) has been underperforming for years because of this and now can only do 26% of the work. Left kidney (still unnamed) has grown larger and has been working very hard for a very long time.

So how did I find this out? Well, I was sort of feeling beat and run down and had just been diagnosed with high blood pressure. My doctor wasn’t sure what was going on, so ordered a CAT scan. Here’s part of the scan:

CAT Scan

On the scan, my doctor saw that my right kidney looked smaller and my left one looked bigger. She decided to send the scans to a urologist. The urologist figured out what was going on pretty quickly and sent me to have a nuclear medicine test. In this test, they shoot nuclear poison stuff into your vein and you can watch how fast your body moves it through your system. Krueger (right kidney) didn’t do so well. In the renogram below, you can see that the poison is filling up really fast at the right kidney (on the left side as the camera was taken from under my body)  and that left kidney finally just takes most of it eventually.

Nuclear medicine

laparoscopic nephrectomyFascinating stuff right? So the deal is, because Krueger isn’t doing enough work, there’s not a good reason to try to save him. Years of this UPJ issue has caused him some big damage so dude needs to be removed.

This Thursday (November 10, 2011)  I’m going to have something called a laparoscopic nephrectomy to remove the kidney. So instead of a big slash across my side, I’ll most likely just have 4 poke holes and a slit where they slide out the kidney. Here’s a diagram where they’re taking out the left kidney. It should take about four hours for the doctors to do this.

So, the weird thing is that I don’t feel any pain or discomfort from Krueger, so it sort of seems strange to go through a major operation when I don’t feel horrible to begin with. That aside, I might be able to maintain a normal blood pressure again, which would be a good thing.