Sunday, June 30, 2013

It's always something . . .

Mom seemed to be doing fine after her surgery on Tuesday, June 11. At dialysis on Friday she saw the nephrologist, Dr. N, and informed him about the Saturday emergency room visit and the surgery on Tuesday. She said her blood pressure was still reading high, so he prescribed her a blood pressure medication (hydralazine) to take only when it got above 180.

This situation with the elevated blood pressure since June 3 has been confusing, partly because they never seem to be too concerned about it at dialysis. It also seemed to always be lower at the doctor's office, which makes you wonder how accurate your home machine is. Mom has two machines and their readings were within a few points of each other, so we weren't too worried about their accuracy. But Mom wanted to get a blood pressure monitor that you wear on your wrist so she could take it on an upcoming trip, so she purchased one locally. It turns out that it was reading about 20 points lower than her other two machines. So maybe things were not quite as bad last week as her blood pressure readings at home indicated. But her blood pressure was definitely higher than normal, which I assume was at least partly due to the infection in her abdominal wall muscle.

On Wednesday, June 19, Mom had a follow-up appointment with Dr. K regarding the surgery he had done on June 11. He said everything looks fine. She still does not have full use of her abdominal wall muscles, so she has to use her leg muscles more to get up and down, which makes her legs very tired.

What else can go wrong?

Mom noticed a little bump that appeared on her right leg in May, and she showed it to her internist at an appointment a few weeks ago. Mom thought it was just a wart, but her internist suggested she see a dermatologist about it. So Mom had a dermatologist appointment on June 20. The dermatologist looked at it and said it might be one of two types of skin cancer, so he took a biopsy. Mom won't get the biopsy results for a week or two, but at least it is easily treatable if it is cancerous. The dermatologist described the technique known as mohs surgery, where they remove some tissue, examine it, then remove some more based on what the examination showed in terms of the location of cancerous cells. So in addition to being on dialysis and recently having surgery for an abdominal wall infection, now she gets to worry about possibly having skin cancer.

Mystery Solved

If you are somewhat familiar with Mom's history, you may recall that after her diagnosis of fibrinogen amyloidosis we wondered whether she inherited it from her mother or from her father. There were no clear indications of kidney issues on either side, so we were left to wonder which side it came from until someone tested positive for the mutation on one side or the other. Well, it happened. Now we know. I am still gathering details, so the rest of this story will have to wait for the next post.

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