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March Madness - The Struggle is Real!

OK, a bit of unvarnished honesty.  The two weeks since I last wrote have largely sucked, but I’m still standing (or at least trying to sit comfortably).


First, March Madness.  It’s well underway and my beloved Kentucky Wildcats – once again – have managed to exit both the SEC and NCAA tournaments in embarrassing fashion – losing in the first round of both tournaments.  My bracket is now more busted than my back feels.  There are no local teams left, but there are still a few “Cinderellas” at the dance to root for (go North Carolina State!).

Meanwhile, the only way I could have spent more time running back and forth to the hospital in the last two weeks is if I worked there.  When I last wrote, I made mention of seeing the early signs of kidney disease.  My spinal MRI had revealed something called “hydronephrosis” on my right side.  Hydronephrosis is when something prevents urine (I hate talking about this stuff) from flowing properly between the kidneys and the bladder, from where it exits the body.


The suspicion was that a kidney stone was the culprit, especially since small kidney stones have shown up for several years on my scans.  I wasn’t having pain though and as people that have had kidney stones before (me included) will attest, there is usually some level of associated pain.  Because of what we saw on my scan, and what was suspected, I was referred for bloodwork, which showed a higher-than-normal creatinine level and a lower-than-normal eGFR (the eGFR is typically a reliable indicator of kidney function).  Despite 10+ years of fighting cancer, this had never happened before.

I made an appointment with a urologist, who almost immediately ruled out kidney stone as a cause.  He was notably concerned and scheduled a renal scan for two weeks out to try to “get under the hood” and figure out what was going on.  In the meantime, he referred me for additional bloodwork, which revealed a further, rapid, and precipitous decline in my kidney function.  My eGFR had dropped to 28 and at the rate my kidneys were failing, there was legitimate concern about having to go on kidney dialysis in short order.  The renal scan was cancelled, and emergency surgery to install two renal stents was scheduled.

Now… if you have no idea what any of this means… and if you have never heard of the term “ureter” or “stent” and don’t know what ureters do – good for you, please keep it that way!  As it turns out, the blockages in my ureters were caused by scar tissue that was the result of past radiation to my pelvis and abdomen over these past 10 years.  At the time, it was necessary to keep the cancer at bay, so what are you going to do?  With cancer, you fight the biggest fight in front of you and worry about the rest later.  But for the first time, it feels like cancer is winning.         


Until next time,


1 Comment

You can smack me and tell me to shut up but at least this wasn't cancer! I swear I'm trying to be the "let's find the positive side" Betty but I was so concerned that you were going to use the words "another cancer" or "another metastasis" in the next sentences! I'm sure a stent isn't any fun at all but it is something that can be handled and managed without more chemo! Continued prayers!

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