Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Cancer Struggle Begins: December 30, 2007

December 29, 2007 Some of you may know that Sabine (Mom) has ran into some kidney problems just before Christmas. It all began with an intense headache caused by an extremely high spike in her blood pressure on 12/17 causing nausea and vomiting. We ended up in the UW Hospital Emergency Room for most of the day. They got her stabilized and released that evening. Upon her release the doc in the ER noticed a high creatinine level (around 2) indicating kidney malfunction. She was also released with some blood pressure medicine and a diuretic. We followed up in two days with Sabine's primary care doc after monitoring her blood pressure at home. We then found during our clinic visit that the creatinine levels in her blood work were even higher than before (around 4) and that Sabine was now experiencing extreme lethargy, some head aching and light-headedness. Just after Christmas she had a near-fainting episode while sitting down at the movie theater. This caused her primary doc to change her blood pressure medicine to diltiazem. This relieved the light-headedness and still controlled her high BP. After more tests later that week finding a creatinine level at 6+ we ended up in the ER again last night to try and stabilize her symptoms and decide how we are going to negotiate this rising creatinine level between now and next Thursday when she meets with a nephrologist (kidney specialist). So last night we were able to meet and consult with the on-call nephrologist at the UW hospital ER, take do more tests and then we decided that she can come home with close monitoring (seeing there is most likely little that can be done in the hospital between now and next Thursday). However, if she were to experience any head aching, nausea, more fatigue, trouble breathing, or swelling, she should return to the ER. The specialist believes the "best-guess" now is pointing to ibuprofen. There is much in the literature showing that ibuprofen can cause acute renal (kidney) failure. And the best recovery is to stop taking ibuprofen (which she has now for over 4 weeks [she was taking about 800 mg/day to control a painful bronchitis-like cough -- this was checked out at the clinic at the time, lungs x-rayed, and sent home to mend]) and to let the kidneys recover (which they usually do). If the creatinine levels get up to 10 then dialysis (a machine to filter the body's blood in lieu of malfunctioning kidneys) would be in order. Even after dialysis, the kidneys can still recover and not go into chronic (long-term) kidney failure. So, that is where we are at. But other more sophisticated tests are being run even though ibuprofen is being highly suspected at this time. However, Sabine must be quiet and REST at home and let God's work be healed. We ask your prayers in the meantime and know that you are concerned and love and care for her as I do. I will keep you all posted. We got home last night around midnight and just tumbled into bed...

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