Thursday, January 29, 2009

LIFE IS GOOD (kind of, sort of)

I think it's possible that I may have talked to the most annoying person ever a few a days ago. I got a bill in the mail for $1,765.00. It was from Intermountain Laboratories and my insurance had denied it because they are not a preferred provider with Altius. Apparently the bill was for some very extensive lab work. So after talking to several incompetent people who could not even explain what the bill was for I was given a number for a supervisor. So I thought I was going to actually get somewhere at this point. No it just got worse. Supervisor Karen was able to explain that the bill was for pathology services that I had done at an Intermountain facility. I explained I had Altius insurance and didn't ever go to Intermountain facilities. She said "Did you have a biopsy on November 18th?" I said that I did at Salt Lake Regional Medical Center. Supervisor Karen proceeded to tell me that was not possible. She said I must be mistaken about where the procedure was performed. I was getting nowhere with this lady and arguing with her just made her more and more positive that she was right. Finally I said "I had a kidney biopsy and I chose to do it without sedation. I was wide awake when they stuck that big needle in my back over and over again. I also know exactly what hospital I was at." Supervisor Karen said she would have to check into it (with total irritation in her voice) and call me back. So when she called me back this morning she said "It turns out you did have that biopsy done at Salt Lake Regional" and then she did a courtesy laugh. I wanted to say something mean but I didn't. Supervisor Karen explained that Intermountain Lab is the only Lab capable of diagnosing the kidney biopsy samples I needed and the insurance will pay after it is billed again.

And I'm sure you have all been anxiously awaiting the results of my latest blood work (wait.....maybe that was just me). But I'll tell you anyway. My GFR is up to an amazing 15. Yep it's up one whole point. To put this in perspective the normal GFR of someone my age should be 99. So I'm off a little (story of my life). The exciting thing about this is that it takes me out of stage 5 kidney disease, which is called end stage or failure and puts me in stage 4 kidney disease which is called severe. Considering the fact that the previous three GFR's were 13, 11 and 14 this is good news. It also puts off dialysis for a while. Unfortunately I still feel extremely tired and just generally sick but I am trying to stay hopeful. I guess I sounded a little too excited about my one point jump and my doctor said "You know this is still very serious and you aren't out of the woods yet." Reality, obviously, is not my favorite place to be.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


It's official. I'm tired of having dumb kidneys. Really isn't 3 years and 8 months of crazy infections enough? Now on top of that I have uncooperative, failing kidneys. Sometimes it just makes me so mad, frustrated, irritated, angry and sad. And mostly TIRED. It's a tiredness that is so bad I can't even describe it with words. Part of my frustration comes from not having any control over this situation. I am doing everything my doctor tells me to do. I am taking every medicine I am supposed to be taking. I don't even drink caffeine or take Ibuprofen anymore because they can hurt the kidneys. If anyone understands kidney numbers my GFR is at 14 (stage 5 kidney disease/failure). Definitely not good. My doctor is still hopeful the numbers will improve a little at least for awhile. The results of my kidney biopsy have shown I will definitely need dialysis or a transplant but it wasn't supposed to happen this fast. I have had some friends tell me that there must be something I still need to learn from this. I'm not buying that. I have learned patience. I have learned to be more compassionate. I have learned to truly appreciate things I never used to. I have learned that doctors know more than me (well sometimes). I have learned that I can't do everything by myself. I have learned to ask for help (okay that may be a lie). But the point is I have learned a lot. If this is sounding like I'm complaining it's because I am. I just want to feel good and that is not happening. I don't like having limitations on what I am able to do. So I have come to the conclusion that there are some things that we can't change no matter how hard we try and no matter how much we want the outcome to be different. And there are things that we just aren't able to understand in this life.

So as frustrating as my failing kidneys are I am, at the same time, amazed at the generosity and unselfish offers I have received. My kids, my siblings, some relatives and my good friends are all more than willing to give me a kidney. It has touched my heart. They have not even hesitated for a second. My sister is so in tune with what's going on with me that it is unreal at times. She wants to be tested now to make sure we are a match. Thanks Lisa. I love you. My friend Annette tells me all the time she wants me to have one of her kidneys. My kids are just really so awesome and would give me anything I need without question.

So yes I have dumb kidneys but I have the best family and friends. Thanks.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I may have swallowed cat fur!

So I was sitting on my couch today when Megan threw something at me. It was a cute little Relief Society handout I had left in Tanner's diaper bag: Yummy cinnamon hearts. Since I am a cinnamon lover I decided to eat one. I took it out, put it up to mouth and just then Suri (cutest cat in the world) jumped in my lap and her tail touched the cinnamon heart. I thought to myself "That sucks, now I can't eat it" and I took another one out of the bag to eat and put the tail touched one back in the bag. I was on the phone with Kristin at the time and so I posed this question to her, "If you were just getting ready to put a cinnamon candy in your mouth and a cat's tail touched it would you eat it?" Kristin said "What part of the tail touched it?" I didn't see why that mattered but I said "It was the tip of her tail". Kristin said, "Well I'd probably eat it then. But if it was further up on the tail then I wouldn't". Interesting! Later I asked Ericka the same question and her response was different. She asked, "Was the candy wet or dry? Because if it was dry I would probably eat it but if it was wet I wouldn't". My daily life is fascinating as you can clearly see and I think about some really important stuff through out the course of a day. Later I completely forgot about the incident and ate another cinnamon heart. All of the sudden I remembered the "tail touching" but it was too late. I had already chewed it up and down it went. I was sure I tasted fur. I guess the good things about this situation are the following: 1) Suri is a very clean cat . 2) Suri is an indoor cat. 3) It was just the tip of her tail that touched the cinnamon candy. 4) The candy was not wet. Bad things are: 1) This might be a punishment for my mind wandering so much during the Relief Society lesson. 2) I MAY HAVE SWALLOWED CAT FUR.

Thursday, January 8, 2009


I absolutely love sunshine! I can't get enough of it. Everything seems better when the sun is out. I drove to Salt Lake today for a doctor's appointment on the 215. The mountains looked beautiful. I had a strawberry slushee (from Sonic mmmmmmm so good), I was listening to James Taylor and the sun was shining. Really I could not have asked for any more (okay that's a total lie. I could ask for plenty more but I'm trying to be grateful for what I have) And then when I got to the wound clinic something great happened. My doctor took the bandage off my foot and my newest wound from the infection on my right foot that started in November (not to be confused my my latest infection without a wound that started in December) is totally healed up. Since my last open wound took almost 3 years to close and oh so much work (and then I lost the toe anyway) this was really exciting news for me. Not to mention the $45.00 copays are killing me every time I go to the wound clinic. So one less thing to worry about! My blood work comes back tomorrow and I will know what is going on with my newest infection. Also I should know what my kidneys are doing, although if it's worse than last time I'm not sure I want to know. Okay I really want to know because knowledge is POWER! Hey that sounds good but it's not entirely true. Sometimes knowledge is just scary.