Okay, that’s a stretch. But, you get what you pay for, right?
So, first — sorry that I haven’t updated you on anything since we got home. There’s some stuff I should have said, but mostly it’s “things are getting back to normal (normal, plus meds and a lot of blood tests) and he’s doing fine!” Still, I should have. I will try to get better about that.
But here’s something else. That bruit that caused all the hassle just before we left is the subject of our focus right now (see this post and then this post about the term for reference). So after the doctors and surgeons at OHSU decide that it’s nothing to worry about (but we should get another ultrasound to verify that soon), we bring it up with our home-base nephrologist. She’s game to do the ultrasound, but isn’t sure she hears anything initially. A week later, she hears what all the fuss was about herself — apparently Machen’s bruit isn’t where she expected to find it, but once she did, she wasn’t just game for getting the ultrasound, she worked to get it done quickly.
That happened this past week, and there are two notable places where the blood velocity changes around the kidney — one in an artery, one in a vein. This is what the bruit was pointing us to. Stenosis. Which is to say, that the artery affected is narrowing before it reaches the kidney. Renal Artery Stenosis causes blood pressure to rise — not a good thing in anyone, a very bad thing for transplant recipients. Machen’s been dealing with high blood pressure since the transplant (not uncommon), and has even noticed this BP rising after increasing his medication for it. Long-term, this can lead to kidney failure.
As you can expect, those last two words kinda freak us out.
So, what are we going to do? Well first off — we’re not panicking. We’re not getting excited. We’re not afraid. We are very aware and are working on getting some answers.
Secondly, we’re waiting for the transplant surgeons at OHSU to weigh in on this. This is their bailiwick, it’s going to be them in the driver’s seat for treatment. Our nephrologist is consulting with the kidney specialists at OHSU, but says that this isn’t a medical treatment issue. No medication will help, it’ll be surgery. And since our local hospital doesn’t have transplant surgeons, we’ll be headed back to Portland for this. IF they decide that this is something that needs intervention.
Thirdly, and this is mostly what we’re doing — is trying to be patient. We got the word about this on Thursday (Dr. Bender got the results Wednesday and started the ball rolling). As of this writing, we haven’t heard anything yet. Patience is hard.
From all that we’ve read and heard, this isn’t an urgent situation. I want to stress that, because when people read this post or have a chat with us and we use terms like “surgery”, “kidney failure” and “back to Portland” they focus on those phrases and not on the rest of what we’re saying. So, this isn’t urgent. It may be serious, it may be really serious. But it’s not an emergency. By the same token, when/if it’s decided we’re going to address it, we’ll be doing it soon. As Dr. Bender said, “we’re not waiting until he’s off school for Christmas.”
Machen’s feeling fine — he’s in no pain because of it, doesn’t feel this at all. We only know about this because of stethoscopes and ultrasound tests with doppler readings. He’s feeling fine, is in good spirits and is eating like a 14 year-old boy (which is its own brand of trouble, don’t get me wrong, but parents of 14 year-olds all over know this trouble).
That’s all that I know right now. We’ll update the blog within hours of news — and maybe have a post or two about the good stuff going on, too.