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Latest Labs and Other Stuff

August 30, 2008 Leave a comment

I had a visit with the Bariatric doctor (Monday), as well as my bi-weekly labs on Wednesday.

My visit on Monday went well. Of course, I’ve gained weight since last summer. Prior to starting dialysis last August, my weight was 185 lbs; I wasn’t looking so good (my baseline weight after gastric bypass surgery in January 2002 was 240-250 lbs). After a few months of dialysis, I was up to about 205 lbs (my “dry weight” was 93.5 kg). Now, almost 4 months after my transplant surgery, I’m 223 lbs, and seem to have leveled off there. The doctor said that they don’t like to see weight gain like this after gastric bypass, but that mine was acceptable, as long as I didn’t keep gaining. There really wasn’t much else, other than she wanted to check my Vitamin B-12 level, since I get it monthly, and also because the B vitamins are excreted by the kidneys. She also checked my Zinc level (not sure why; probably because of the expected malabsorption after gastric bypass), and my Vitamin D level, since my PTH (parathyroid hormone) was elevated the last time (106). My Vitamin B-12 was 549 (norm 243-894), my Zinc was 66 (norm 60-130), and the Vitamin D is not back yet.

My other labs are still very good. Creatinine is stable at 1.2, my Hemoglobin still climbing with the Procrit (that’s good), and my Prograf level is 8.6 (lower than last time, but still within expected range). I get labs done again in 2 weeks, and I expect that my last dose of Procrit is not far off.

I haven’t done any walking this week, as the area of skin breakdown is just healing. I haven’t worn my AFO’s in a week, but have an appointment on September 8 to get them adjusted. For the meantime, my walking is very tentative, as it wouldn’t take much for one of my feet to drop, causing me to fall flat on my face. With the likelihood of weakened bones from the kidney disease, I don’t need a broken hip or extremity. I’m anxious to get back to walking. For now, I’ve been keeping active by getting the shed in our back yard ready to paint (scraping caulk; what fun!).

Jackie started her new job this week and loves it! Actually, she started it the week before, but that week was orientation, and this week, she actually started in the classroom.  She also contacted a local university, and is planning on taking courses for Special Ed. certification (she has an undergrad in Psychology, and a Master’s in Elementary Ed). It will only be 6 courses, and a 100 hour internship. We’re hoping that at least part of her internship can be done as part of her job, but if it can’t, 100 hours is only about 17 school days (for those of us who have to work 8 hour days, that of course would be 12.5 work days).

I usually don’t discuss politics much, but it’s been an interesting year. I wasn’t thrilled with either presidential candidate, but am still interested in the process and the strategies. Despite the media hoopla (I think I read that he was featured on Time Magazine’s cover 10 times this year, vs 3 for McCain), Obama isn’t that far ahead of McCain. Prior to his speech Thursday evening, the thought amongst some was that he wouldn’t get that much of a bounce out of the convention. Then, his speech was hailed as phenomenol, and I was thinking he might get a decent bounce out of the polls (a speech is nothing more than reading words on a teleprompter; it’s how WELL you do it that sets you apart from others, and he read it well). And then came the news of Sarah Palin being McCain’s running mate. It seems to have energized the Republicans, and worried the mainstream media. We’re in for an interesting ride over the next 2 months…

Medical Article Scan June 2008

July 7, 2008 3 comments

Stowers Institute discovers possible cause of polycystic kidney disease – I’ve heard several theories about the cause of PKD, which is currently known as a hereditary disease. One such theory is that it is caused by an infectious disease. Now, a researcher postulates that a gene mutation occurs from being disrupted by Tumor Necrosis Factor, and that Enbrel may be a treatment.

Low Vitamin D, Anemia Linked – more interesting research on Vitamin D. The study compared those with impaired renal function to those with normal renal function, and found that those with impaired renal function and low Vitamin D levels were at a much higher risk for anemia. “Data show that supplementation with 25 (OH) D is associated with reductions in pro-inflammatory cytokines”  It’s also interesting to note that a study of over 16,000 participants (not necessarily renal patients) showed that Vitamin D deficiency was significantly associated with increasing prevalence of CVD (cardio vascular disease) in the entire study population.

10 Surprising Places Where Germs Lurk – I found this article personally interesting, since I am currently immunosupressed.   Of course, some of the places are well known, such as grocery cart handles, gym equipment, and the shower curtain. But did you ever consider your vacuum, the lemon wedge in your drink, or the menu in a restuarant?  (hat tip to WhiteCoat Rants) 

Weight Gain Increases Risks To Kidneys – gaining weight while remaining within normal range increases risk of chronic kidney disease.

Bariatric Surgery May Help Prevent Infections – interesting study. Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass may not only help prevent infections, but also prevent cancer.