Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Unfortunate News

Friday night, I had my (now) monthly check-up, but this time with the kidney doctor, Dr. Granera, whom I have not seen in probably 3 months. Since I have been feeling well recently, I was expecting more of the same as previous check-ups. “You’re young”, “there’s still hope”, “be patient” – these are the common phrases I hear from my doctors when referring to my kidney failure, which is the primary issue I am dealing with at this point. (My Lupus symptoms are controlled by medicines and don’t cause any pain or need for concern at this point.)

So I went in with high hopes, not at all expecting the news he had to deliver. I’ve been told from the beginning that it might take 3-6 months for my kidneys to recover, and I don’t think I ever considered the option that they might, in fact, not recover at all. When I left the hospital at the end of January, my creatinine count was around 5 (should be less than 1 and started at over 11). Since March, it has fluctuated back and forth between 2.8 and 4.1, but most recently was 3.4. In addition, I had another more extensive test that showed I currently only have 17% kidney function. Based on these tests and the amount of time it’s been without significant improvement, I am now considered to have chronic kidney failure; it is no longer acute.


What does this mean? Well, the medicines I am currently taking (11 different ones), I will be taking the rest of my life. This includes CellCept, the immunosuppressant, which, by itself, costs a significant amount of money monthly. In addition, it is not safe to get pregnant while taking this medicine, so in order to one day try to get pregnant, I will have to go off of it temporarily, which could cause further damage to my kidneys. And finally, if my kidneys do not regain function, dialysis and possibly a transplant will be in my future. Though I tried hard not to, I cried through the whole appointment. The only good thing he had to say was that we now have his permission to buy a cat, which, if you know how much Chase loves cats, you know this was his dream come true.

While Dr. Granera did say that not ALL hope is lost and that there is still a chance, though a much smaller one now, that my kidneys will recover, he did want to prepare me for what my future will look like – a life-long relationship with pills, pharmacies, blood tests, doctors, and medical procedures. While I am not thrilled about this news and it’s taken me several days to work through the initial shock, sadness, and disappointment, I have to choose to believe truth and be thankful.

At the end of the day, you can focus on what’s tearing you apart or what’s holding you together.

God is with me. He is not surprised by this news. He does still have a plan for my life. He still knows the number of hairs on my head (even though there are less each day, thanks to the steroids!) He is still Healer, whether he chooses to heal me or not. He is still Good, no matter what the prognosis is or what the future holds. And I choose to be thankful because without this crazy expensive medicine, I would most likely be spending my days in extreme pain, unable to do much of anything, constantly waiting and wondering what will be the next way Lupus will attack my body. I am thankful that I feel normal a lot of the time, so much so that sometimes I am able to completely forget that I have Lupus or kidney failure. And I am thankful that I’m not alone; I have friends and family who are here to walk beside me and a God who says “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

5 comments:

  1. Hey Julie, I'm so sorry to hear your news. Al and I will be praying for you guys. Hope that you are feeling God's presence and comfort during this hard time.

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  2. Argh. I'm sorry about the news. I will be praying for you guys as you walk this journey.

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  3. sweet julie, my heart sank when i read your news. and when i read your continued unwavering faith in spite of it, i was so encouraged and inspired. you have been such a testimony of God's strength and grace. i know this is not fun news, and i know that satan would want nothing more than to rob you of your joy and your steadfast faith. i am praying for you friend. praying for healing. praying for indescribable peace and enduring faith. praying for overflowing joy. praying for deeper intimacy with our Savior. praying for courage and strength. and i am praising Him for the encouragement you are to me and so many others. praising Him for His unchanging sovereignty. praising Him for the glory given to His name through your journey.

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  4. Julie, you are the most encouraging person I know. I have never detected a bit of bitterness towards God in your approach to this sickness, and even though I'm sure you have cried and questioned, you just trust, and I am just in awe of you and of our God in you. I am so thankful that through medications and even through the dread/hope of a transplant, and expectantly believing for healing, there are options and you are in good hands. I'm mourning the news regarding pregnancy particularly, just praying and begging God for a way out for you-a way you and Chase can have a baby without fear and wondering at what cost. I love you.
    Can't wait to see you.

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  5. Thanks guys! I really appreciate the encouragement and the prayers! Keep praying for healing and that I would hold on to truth and God's promises!

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