Thursday, March 20, 2008
I got a shock at my Doctor's office on Tuesday. Out of the blue, I'm told I have Stage 3, Moderate Kidney FAILURE! I'm sorry, but failure to me does not equal = moderate anything! I'm also informed that this is not a new condition; it's been going on for a looooooooooooong time! Huh? I drove home bewildered and stunned. I know a little bit about renal failure because I'm a retired RN. What I remember isn't pleasant, but to be fair, treatments and prognoses have improved.
Once I got to my computer and started googling, I found out something so mind boggling and infuriating, I simply have to share it with you, so maybe you can PREVENT the same outcome.
The test which appeared (for the first time) on my lab work was called GFR. GFR=glomerular filtration rate. My GFR, at 46, is what puts me in the moderate failure group. Here's the thing. The GFR is not a separate blood test. It is an equation taken from very boring, readily available information:
1. Your age
2. Your gender
3. Your race
4. Your creatinine ( a test that is done every single time your doctor orders routine blood work, literally! ALSO, mine is now and always has been "within normal limits". )
Once you plug in those 4 factors, your GFR pops up. You can do it yourself on any one of multiple websites... which is why I am so angry. I'm diabetic. I'm hypertensive. I have high cholesterol. I take medications for all 3 and I get lab work done.. frequently! Why why why why why why didn't my GFR get done 2 years ago.. or 4.. or 7??? Why didn't I know when I had MILD kidney failure? I certainly would have made some changes then!
Here is a link to one of the many websites which will calculate your GFR for you. Call your doctor. Find out what your latest creatinine level is! And then, find out what your GFR is.
My life COMPLETELY changed on Tuesday. I am grateful that I can take steps now and, hopefully, prevent further kidney damage. I would be far, far more grateful if I had been given the chance to start before it got this far.