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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Personal Update

(For politics, please scroll down)

Note: I foresee that I will be a while before I get back to blogging full steam ahead. This post explains why. My dear friend Warren will be taking up my slack as he finds time to do so:

Yesterday, I saw my kidney surgeon for a follow-up visit to my November 21 surgery to address hydronephrosis of the left kidney — that diagnosis determined in early June (although I'd been having off-and-on nebulous symptoms since at least March). The doctor has now increased the dosages of my various medications so that I can get better rest and walk more comfortably. I'm also allowed, at long last, to apply heat to my abdomen to bring some relief to the cramps caused by the ureteral stent, required after last week's surgery. What a relief applying heat is!

Tell you what: kidney disease, the resulting pain, and the surgery to correct the problem drastically interfere with life! All this makes you wish that your mother had never met your father!  Both politics and blogging take a back seat.
According to my surgeon, these off-the-scale, post-op pain levels, about which I have been a bit concerned the past few days, are normal after this kind of abdominal surgery, which involves the insertion of trocars, medical instruments used in both abdominal surgery and embalming. Yes, embalming!

On the plus side, the pathology report for the 0.7 cm excised portion of the ureter was negative for malignancy or any other anomaly.

Soon, I'll be having a nephrogram. If all is well, the neph tube, placed on August 12, will be removed. No more hole in my back!


  1. "Both politics and blogging take a back seat."

    As they should! I will pray for your continued recovery. Despite the horrible pain, it sounds like the surgery was successful and the prognosis for a full recovery is good. Rest up and get well!

    1. SF,
      One of the most difficult aspects of this recovery: getting my appetite back. I've been "off my feed" since March. Such a loss of appetite is typical of kidney disease.

  2. I echo SF as well. I can't imagine..... Best wishes.

    1. Bunkerville,
      It's a struggle. I felt good this afternoon and did too much. Feeling it now! I must learn how to pace myself.

  3. Hopefully, as time passes, all of this will just be a memory and you will repose stronger for it!

    1. Jon,
      I hope so!

      Ironically, people are telling me how well I look. Perhaps that's a relative statement meaning that I look better now that the problem has been addressed as opposed to several months ago when I was trying on my own to power through what was ailing me. Back then, I was shrugging off how I felt and attributing how I felt to normal aging. I think that I started looking better once the urologist tapped the kidney (via either a ureteral stent or a neph tube).

      I still feel pretty lousy and lethargic even now, but not 24/7 the way that I did in the early part of the year.

  4. Needless to say I am very sorry for all the suffering you've had to endure, AOW, and hope your long period of travail may soon draw to a close. Disease of any kind disrupts and darkens the life not only of the afflicted, but of all who share the same household and all close friends and relatives as well.

    We are all praying for your recovery and return to normal.

    Here's wishing you a Christmas with greatly reduced pain, a better appetite, and New Year which sees you fully recovered.

    1. FT,
      We're planning a scaled down Christmas.

      I'm scheduled again for the operating room on December 21 -- to remove the ureteral stent.

  5. Replies
    1. Ed,
      People are telling me that I look wonderful. See my above response to Jon Berg. I've got a long way to go, but I'm starting to have intervals of more energy.

      And I'm beginning to have more interest in some of my favorite activities. I haven't felt that way in months upon months!

      Thank God for TMW being here so that I can crash and rest when I need to do so!

  6. All the best to you on the road to a full recovery, AOW.

    Sounds like a living hell resolving this issue.

    1. Waylon,
      It's a battle! Anything to do with kidney ailments is a battle -- or so I've always heard. I've now found out firsthand.

  7. AOW, And still many have it much worse (any comfort in that?). Regardless, I keep you in my thoughts and wish you comfort and a return to normalcy ASAP !

    If they have 'fixed' you, that is a good thing. A very good thing.

    1. Kid,
      Not much comfort, really. I understand intellectually, but it's something else entirely to empathize at this point.

  8. I'm glad the doc says all is normal...once i hear that, I'm always feeling better.
    Good luck, AOW! xxx

  9. Jill Stein Requests funds for the Recount process in WI MI & PA.

    Go here to donate (candidate requesting the recount must pay for the recount).

  10. As of a few minutes ago, the neph tube is out. I hope that this step takes away the kidney pain.

  11. Pain has an element of blank;
    It cannot recollect
    When it began, or if there were
    A day when it was not.

    It has no future but itself,
    Its infinite realms contain
    Its past, enlightened to perceive
    New periods of pain.

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

    We should all that God that medicine has advanced a great deal since Emily's time. We still get ill, and still suffer pain, but today there are means of relief and cure not available to anyone rich or poor when she was alive.

    I know from having read most of her letters –– and virtually all of her poetry –– that Miss Emily suffered a great deal both mentally and physically in her fifty-six years, yet she fund time to look deeply into the life around her and spent much time probing the depths of her own soul.

    What she left us happens to be extraordinary, but I'm sure that most people far less gifted than Miss Dickinson suffered the pangs of endless uncertainty, illness, poverty, grief and the specter of imminent death without her remarkable coping skills.

    When you stop to think about it, ALL of us who survive to maturity should be regarded as heroic. No one. whether rich, poor, beautiful, plain, intelligent, dull, strong, weak, ordinary or possessed of special talents lives with suffering "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" sooner or later.

    I suspect this is what the idea that ALL of us are created EQUAL really means.

    1. FT,
      I know the start date of this deep organ pain. But this deep organ pain does have an infinite quality to it.

      Modern medicine certainly addresses pain, but the side effects of some of these meds bring certain miseries of their own.

      My surgeon HOPES that the removal of the ureteral stent on December 21 will be the solution to ending the pain. I have to tough it out till then in order to save this kidney.

      If and when this pain eases will be a gradual process. Christmas Day?

  12. I hope you can save the kidney. My brother's kidneys have shut down after years of struggling. He is too ill for a transplant and must rely on dialysis which is an imperfect solution.

    1. Mike,
      I'm doing everything in my power to save this kidney. At least twice, the urologist stated that we could end my kidney's misery by yanking it. He did not, however, recommend doing so.

      The other kidney isn't ailing, but has a time bomb of an anomaly which could put me in the same position as your brother.

      This entire thing is an ordeal and involves some trials. For example, now that the neph tube hole in my back has healed, today I was able to take a shower. With the help of former blogger The Merry Widow, a CNA who came here for an extended time, I got to take a real shower! My first real bathing since August 12, when the neph tube was inserted.


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