As you may recall, last week, I have a laparoscopic biopsy. The doctors made three small cuts in my side and inserted a camera and some remote instruments. The goal was to dig through my abdomen towards my kidney near the bottom of my right side rib cage. Once they got to the kidney, the doctors patiently cut a small slice off of it and extracted it for the pathologists to play with.
Actually, I was asleep the whole time, so I'm only guessing that this is what happened. I do know that the pathologists practically drooled over the wonderful sample of my kidney. They froze it, preserved and cooked it. Today, I got the results.
Basically, my Nephrologist told me that my kidney is failing because its on a downward spiral. Healthy kidneys filter out urea and other poisons in the blood. These items are put in the urine. Proteins in the blood, make this process a bit harder and should normally be left alone. In my case, I have only one kidney from birth. The other kidney has needed to work a bit harder than normal to compensate. Furthermore, the good kidney had a few bad cell in it that allowed a small amount of protein to get into the urine.
Now protein in the urine is a bad thing. It slowly poisons the kidney, destroying the nephrons and their glomerulus that are the biochemical filters in the kidney. So for some time now (at least twenty years), my kidneys have been passing protein into the urine. The process excellerates when there is high blood pressure or excess protein in your diet.
So, the good news is that its not an auto-immune disease or anything else that is attacking my kidney. The bad news is that I'm on that downward spiral, and the best that we can do is to slow the progress. My doctor suggested that I had many more years before the problem became severe enough to warrant dialysis or a transplant. That's good news.
Next step is to see my regular nephrologist and plan a course of action. Probably some medications to further lower my blood pressure and perhaps a diet to reduce the protein in my system.
I don't recommend a laparoscopic biopsy. Its uncomfortable and its real surgery. On the other hand, having a good biopsy is the gold standard for understand what's really going on. And for that, I'm thankful.
Speaking of which, it is very good news for my son Asaf. He is in the process of arranging a kidney transplant to replace both his failed kidneys. My diagnosis suggests that he had the same problem and that's very good news. The new kidney will not suffer from any abnormalities and should have no problem handling the additional load!
Thank you for all your prayers and healing thoughts. It looks like I'm going to be dealing with this issue for a long time, so its not something that I am going to get worked up about.
Happy Chanuka and a Shabbat Shalom,
Elliot (who has long term kidney disease)