Good News on the Health Front

As I posted last month, the function of my transplanted kidney took a serious turn for the worse this summer. The diagnosis of a dangerous infection (FSGS) and the underlying long-term erosion of function of my only working kidney was based on two things: first, a sustained worsening of my creatinine levels, a blood test that measures kidney function, and, second, the results of a biopsy last month. A couple of subsequent hospital stays have been needed to clean up some additional health problems, so that we could start a scary-intense steroid treatment meant to try to reverse the kidney damage from the infection.

That steroid treatment was supposed to start today. Except that I did another round of blood tests yesterday to establish a baseline for the steroid treatment. And, in the lovely words of my doctor: “Um…I don’t know how to tell you this, Geov, but you appear to have cured yourself.”

That’s something of an exaggeration, but for sure it’s good news. My creatinine has been hovering between 3.5 and 4.0 this summer (higher is worse; before June it had been around 2.0-2.5, and a normal person’s is under 1.0). Two weeks ago I was at 3.95. Yesterday? 2.4. In other words, back where I was before the last few months. Some other issues (e.g., blood acidity) seem to have resolved as well. So, at least until we know what’s going on and why, and whether this is a long-term trend, no steroid treatment after all.

I’m still not out of the woods by any means. The biopsy did still show significant permanent loss of kidney function (about 1/3 of the kidney’s capacity is irreversibly lost), and that’s likely going to continue to get worse. But the nasty, organ-threatening infection? Hard to say. It may just be taking a break, or it wasn’t the right diagnosis to begin with, or it simply got bored and went away.

Regardless, it’s a huge relief. Longer term, there’s still a lot to worry about and plan for, as well as navigating the ongoing chronic issues I deal with, but I seem to have bought myself a little time. A huge thank you to all of you (especially Revel Smith and the members of Gear Ritual) who’ve been so supportive and helpful through this. Onward!

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