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Los Angeles, California
I am 47 and thriving in Southern California. One day at a time.
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Thursday, December 23, 2010

so this is christmas...

well, it's official.

i knew we'd be at the point of no return when diet changes became mandatory.

[don't you love how i refer to myself as the royal we?]

latest results: creatinine: 3.7; BUN: 69 (i.e. shite results)

my phosphorous is high, as is my PTH (parathyroid hormone) and my CO2 level is low (14).

phosphorous is the body's most abundant mineral after calcium. this is what phosphorous does:

  • forms strong bones and teeth
  • maintains a normal pH balance
  • gets oxygen to the tissues
  • makes energy
  • changes protein, fats and carbohydrates into energy
  • develops connective tissues and organs
  • moves muscles
  • produces hormones
  • uses B vitamins
[so long story short, none of that is currently happening]

WARNING: the following paragraph contains dense medical jargon. reader discretion is advised.

healthy kidneys work to keep these two minerals in balance in the blood. too much phosphorous can cause calcification of the heart, lungs, arteries etc...and great pain. the kidneys also turn vitamin D into an active hormone (calcitriol), which helps increase calcium absorption from the intestines into the blood. when the calcium level in the blood is low, the parathyroid glands (four small glands in the neck) make more parathyroid hormone (PTH). this causes calcium to be pulled from the bone into the blood. too much parathyroid hormone can cause the bones to become weak and break more easily. this is called renal osteodystrophy. (bone mineral deficiency). 

which, as an interesting side note, is distinguished from the similar sounding osteopenia (low bone mineral density) which i have had since age 32.

[oh, dear. i've been watching too many "frasier" reruns]

so, there's that.

then, my co2 level is very low. 14. (normal is 40) it's a measure of acid in your blood. (bicarbonate production) reduced carbon dioxide levels result in reduced oxygen in the body tissues and vital organs, resulting in reduced energy.

[yes, i realize you'd probably rather be stuck in a 20 minute line-up at TJ MAXX right about now...] 

so, just in time for christmas, nuts, chocolate, ice cream and cheese are verboten.

ah, cheese. the quintessential danish food. it practically flows through my veins, being half viking. the stinkier the cheese you are able to consume, the larger your badge of honor. cheese whiz and cheese in a can (gasp!)? sacrilegious!

no cheese? NO CHEESE! now i know how it feels to be excommunicated.

the jist of these diet modifications is to put less strain on an already worn out, underperforming, wee slip of a kidney.

the professionals like to call it end stage renal failure (kidney function @ less than 10%).

i like to call it a big pain in my ass. literally.

i literally hurt all the time. someway, somehow, something's always off.

come. take my hand. let's spend a day together...

having always been night owls, lights are out around 2 am. so i rub my legs together for a while (restless leg syndrome), toss and turn (insomnia), read and finally pass out around 4 am. i wake around 7 am to pee (attempt at urination) and find i can't get back to sleep (anxiety). this is when i hit up facebook and suddenly i'm dead to the world. (turns out i don't care what you had for dinner). rise and shine after my requisite 10- 12 hours of sleep (fatigue) around 2 pm. thank god, for our teeny 1100 square foot house, as i barely negotiate the downing of 12 medications (nausea) from drawer to fridge. now, we make the most delicate of decisions. remain in pajama pants or slip on kevin's old clothes (edema)? i usually go for the former. forgoing coffee for herbal tea (hypertension), i volley between washing my hair or doing the dishes (general ill feeling). dare i try both? forget to eat (no appetite). the day passes into night. sometimes i sprawl lifeless in the passenger seat, as kevin quietly swoops in and magnificently shepherds our life. and sometimes i just lie in bed and play connect the dots (bruising). time for a bath and attempt at relaxation (headache). then it's a final game of "to ambien or not to ambien?" as i stomp out a charleyhorse (muscle cramping), tape up my fingers with band aids and antibiotics (changes in nails) and scratch my skin within an inch of its life (pruritus/itching).

symptoms like a bottomless stocking of stuffers some lame ass picked up walgreen's: generic, torturous and excruciatingly disappointing.

so, here we are. deep in the heart of christmas.

the other day, i watched a documentary on john lennon.

[i told you. i'm in bed a LOT.]

i forgot how much i loved "double fantasy". i was a little too young to appreciate the heartfelt hysteria over his shocking death, but i have always understood his music. and people's connection to it.

and in listening to "happy xmas (war is over)", i was struck hard by the last three words; appropriately parenthesized.

clearly, war is not "over" anywhere. but john and yoko erected a billboard in times square in 1969 (and several other cities) that boldly proclaimed "WAR IS OVER" and underneath, ("if you want it").

and yes, technically, to that dreamer, if we all chose the same...war could be over.

but we are all given greatly varied paths to meander, sprint, rest and journey upon. and it's not what we're given, it's how we deal with it.

- so, yeah. i may have to sit down while kevin finishes the shopping.
- yeah, i may be leaning on the kitchen counter while i do the dishes.
- sure. i spend a lot of time in bed.
- and i shouldn't drive anymore.

there's a war here. within myself. between the woman who is proud when she can independently wash her hair or fix a meal, and the woman hunched over the sink or standing in kevin's office, super pissed because she's focused on only one thought.

[i f-ing want to lie down...]

there's a war within. and i want it to be over...

[the wheels are in motion. waiting now for blue shield approval and then my kevin, my love, gets tested.]

"a very merry christmas, and a happy new year,
let's hope it's a good one, without any fears"-j. lennon



  1. Hen...

    I love you so!


  2. Thought of you today....yesterday....always. Praying everyday for you and the kidney you need to find. It's out there calling your name....we shall find it....you shall get. Thinking of you now :-)

  3. ARGHHHH! That's my scream at knowing only 1% of the feeling of having to give something up that you just plain old enjoy! My Christmas wish, that you find your match quickly!!!