On one of the last episodes of Despite Lupus, I wrote about my recent trials with my kidneys and the fact that I showed three times the amount of protein than I should have in a 24-urinalysis test a few months back. I've been awaiting the results of my most recent test to see if the protein is still showing up - and good news is that the amount of protein is down. Still abnormal (about twice as much), but at least better. My doctor discussed the results at my last appointment, and we agreed to repeat the test in a couple of months. He said the current level of protein is definitely something to watch, but not as alarming as it was a few months back. Kidney function is normal and all other tests look good (and I feel great!), so we're not going to panic.
At least we're going to try not to panic.
After walking out of the doctor's office, I sat in my car and just contemplated the situation. Was I satisfied with the plan of action? Did I think we should be treating this a little more aggressively? Was a repeat test in a few months enough?
Truth was - the answer to all of those questions in my mind was no. I didn't like the fact that we knew my kidneys weren't working the way they should, but we weren't proactively doing anything about it. I didn't care for the idea of waiting another 2-3 months before retesting, and I really didn't like the fact that at the last appointment, my doctor had thrown out ideas like cellcept, cytoxin, and a kidney biopsy, and now we weren't even considering any of them. Was I making a big mistake by letting this slide by, while my kidneys were running amuck?
I decided to give it a couple days - I'd sleep on it, consult a few of my friends who've been down this road before, and if I still felt unsure about waiting until the next appointment, I'd call the doctor and discuss.
But he beat me to it. Within a few days, he called to say that on second thought, he'd like to take action. He suggested that I start a drug called Cozaar, a blood pressure medication often used with diabetic patients who have kidney damage. He's hopeful that it will reduce the protein in my urine, and, from what I've read online, it seems to be a pretty standard prescription to help with kidney issues.
Now - did the thought of adding a brand new medication to my regimen throw me for a temporary loop? Yup. But I'm so glad my doctor called. I'm relieved that we're not just going to sit back and wait - wait for real damage to happen, wait for my disease to flare, wait for my symptoms to be so bad that serious measures have to be taken. I learned the hard way that letting symptoms go unaddressed is not the way to handle lupus - ignoring symptoms because dealing with them would slow me down, or acting as though I'm invincible in the face of this disease. No - I've found the exact opposite to be true. The sooner you embrace the disease, and recognize the changes that need to be made to accommodate it - like getting necessary rest, taking meds, keeping your stress in check, listening to your body, and making good healthy choices, even when you don't want to - the sooner you can turn a corner with your chronic illness.
That said - in an upcoming post, I'll tell you the nitty gritty of what happened during that phone conversation with my doctor. Was I the confident, well-spoken lupus patient I encourage you all to be? Well...kind of! Stay tuned for more!