Saturday, January 10, 2015

Life's Little Surprises

Last July, I started to just not feel well. Low energy, tired, out of sorts. In Aug. I went to AADE and got persuaded to give a presentation, because the woman who was supposed to give it had a misunderstanding with her boss, and although she sent her slides, she herself was unable to come. The presentation was on diabetes education for people with disabilities, and her presentation was on the deaf and hearing impaired. Well, it just happens that my master's degree is in that field, and education is education, so I gave the presentation, and it was well received. Then I participated in the Strategic Planning Meeting -- our fearless leader Manny was supposed to attend, but he was ill and couldn't make it.

Well, the second day, I was exhausted, running a fever, and my legs were swollen up like sausages. So I didn't attend much. I did staff the booth for a bit, and it was lovely to get to meet Desiree in person -- she's a perky, charming young woman. I also met Kelly Kunik, who was scouting the floor quite a bit -- that's the great part of these conferences.

After the conference, I spent a day with my long-time friend Ann Williams, who is a member of the board, and very passionate about meeting the educational needs of all people with diabetes. We enjoyed each other's company, and then it was homeward.

By the time I got home, my legs were really bothering me, and I was short of breath, and had a headache that wouldn't stop, so I went to my PCP, and she immediately sent me for a renal panel and a chest X-ray. I guess, because the first thing they think of when they see edema is heart and kidneys.

Well, the chest x-ray yielded a surprise -- my lungs are covered with minuscule spots, and she didn't know what they were, so she referred me to a pulmonologist. Then turns out that he isn't much worried about them, but will watch them to see if they change. I'm not worried either, because cancer doesn't present like that, and if they DO change or grow in the next 6 months, then we will look into it.

My cardio did an echo, and the result was that he said my heart is a little stiff, but not creating any problems at the moment, and he'll just keep a watch on it. He also gave me Lasix for the edema, but it's not particularly working. When I told the pulmonologist about that, he said that when the body doesn't get enough oxygen, it does tend to retain fluids, and diuretics don't work well. So he has scheduled me for a sleep study. Since I don't have a bed partner, I wouldn't know if I stop breathing or snort during sleep. The good part of the sleep study is that he's also giving me something for my restless legs, which is working well, for the first time in my life -- 66 years of untreated restless legs is a bit much to endure!

OK, now for the bad part. The renal panel came out showing stage 3 (out of 5) kidney failure. Not severe enough to need dialysis, and at this point, I don't even need to follow a kidney diet, but this makes it possible that those will become a reality in the future. That shakes me up, because I have enough problems with food because of a combination of being a picky eater, having an eating disorder, having diabetes, and now contemplating the possibility of having to limit my diet because of kidney disease. 

I had been very proud of surviving 23 years of diabetes with NO complications, and here I am, smacked in the face. It's not a good feeling. So I'm hoping some of you will read this, and my wonderful, supportive friends here will once again do their magic.


  1. Hi Natalie, I'm sorry you're having yet-another challenge to deal with. But I know you can succeed. I'll keep you in my thoughts and send kidney-healing rays in your direction.

  2. I'm only 9 years into my T1 journey. I follow a low carb diet and my last A1C was 5.9. Endo is happy, I'm happy, all is great. And then the kidney numbers come in. Whaaaaa? The kidney doc reminds me that kidney disease isn't limited to diabetics, and that some people just have their number come up in the lottery. I'm not at all sure that's comforting, but at least I can't pull the 'if only I'd...' game with myself.

  3. Oh my dear friend. Be proud of surviving 23 years with diabetes and continuing to move forward regardless of complications because you have the support and love of a community that is here to carry you. You are not alone, Natalie. ((( hugs )))

  4. Hi... I just saw this. I'm sorry you have to deal with this. As someone who's lived with diabetes for 23 years (I'm almost at 24), I hope you remember how great you've done to make it this far. I hope this all gets steadily better from this point forward.

    By the way, love your blog.