Just call me “The One Kidney Wonder…”

There is nothing quite like seeing your guts on a computer monitor. Scrolling through the images in sequence it almost looks as if the various organs are dancing to music, and then come to a sudden stop when the doctor spots the yellow arrow he’s been looking for. The impromptu dance party is over, and I have to silence the music playing in my head.

I never really took my health for granted; over the past couple of years, seemingly small things would pop up here and there but nothing major. I always tried to be the best steward of my body that I could. Over the summer and into the fall, I started to sense something was a bit off. Physically I felt fine, and there was no outward signs of sickness, but I could feel it.

In an ordinary doctor’s appointment on an ordinary November day, I summoned the courage to say “so I understand that I am overweight, but I have been for years, and the high blood pressure that I was diagnosed with in 2015 seemingly came out of no where. Can we discuss that? I had really low blood pressure until then.” My doctor sat down with me, and we went through my medical history, and sure enough, my blood pressure had been stupid low until 2014, when it started to rise, and it hit a high point the summer of 2015. She ordered blood work that came back inconclusive, but pointed to a rise in blood proteins, called creatinine.  She had told me of an elevation in 2015, but had thought I was dehydrated, but it had a nearly double increase from 2015 to 2016.

Long story short, we followed the yellow brick road and arrived at an issue with my kidneys. I have a blockage in the left tube leading from the left kidney, and essentially, the left kidney is dead. Its not really producing anything because its been restricted since (we believe) 2014. I had two surgeries in 2014 for cysts on my left ovary, and on the surface it stands to reason that they are related. We will know more after a minor procedure in March for a biopsy, but that really won’t change the result of what we know now. What we do hope to figure out is if this caused my high blood pressure or if its all just random and not related.

So, what are the action items for this?

  1. Absolutely, positively, I was correct to follow my instincts and I am happy that I did. This proves to myself that I have to be assertive in my health. I didn’t have any reason to seek out medical care other than that something I felt. This is why medical care in this country is so freaking important. I can only imagine how sick I could have become if I just would have continued to pop blood pressure pills without asking the ‘why’ because we couldn’t afford for me to see a doctor. If you don’t feel quite right, I urge you, see a medical professional and don’t stop until you have an ‘all clear’ or a solid answer you are comfortable with. I don’t care if you are morbidly obese, have mental health issues, or have self-inflicted health issues, everyone deserves the time and attention from a medical professional that can help.
  2. Its serious diet time. The best way to keep the right kidney in good shape, isn’t a special diet or restriction, but to maintain a healthy weight. Most of us tend to have weight loss goals at the beginning of the New Year, but this time, I actually have to follow through with it. I’m down a kidney here, folks. I will, for the rest of my life, be the one kidney wonder! Soon, I hope to be the ‘incredibly fit one kidney wonder’. As of this writing, I am just shy of 10 pounds lost, and according to where I think I want to be, 65 more pounds to go! My plan is to do it slow so it stays off, and I would love to be at goal weight at 12/31/2017.
  3. I usually put myself dead last on my priority list. I tend to over commit my time, watch TV shows I dislike because its the hot show on TV, and generally maintain a level of “Megan-ness” that I think people require of me. THAT’S SO FREAKING STUPID. Life is too short. Really, really short. So I am reading more, turning off the TV, and scheduling time to be at home (my favorite place in the whole world) to just ‘be’. Not that I haven’t been myself, but the real Megan likes to read and go for walks and spend time in the kitchen trying to come up with recipes that might be gross and complicated, and trying to make them be not gross and simple. I’m doing more of that. Making the time to do the things I really want to do vs what I feel like I have to do.

I challenge you to do the same; what would you start doing or stop doing if faced with one kidney? Or MS? Or cancer? Think about what is really important in that moment. Get healthy? Take the trip of your dreams? Tell someone that you love them? If you have your health, there isn’t much stopping you from living your best life. What is your excuse?

One important question remains- how will this affect the blog and delicious recipes? I’m thinking not much. I am eating healthier these days, but I still love the same food. Outside of a few of the heavier entrees, my food really isn’t terrible for your waistline, but its not bad to revisit favorites and see where adjustments can be made. I also plan on writing more personal thoughts on the blog. This is going to be the journey of my life, and FOR my life; there is bound to be some good tips, successes, failures, and humor along the way.