Sunday, October 6, 2013

Calcium buttons

This post will have an update on Mom, followed by the always exciting monthly blog statistics at the end. (Two more email subscribers now. Cool.)

In the last update on Mom (Musical Chairs on September 12) there were two main issues. One issue was the difficulty in getting the same tech at the dialysis clinic to finish doing the buttonhole technique on Mom to the point where both access points were complete. I am happy to report that Mom's buttonholes appear to be fully formed now, such that the techs can use the blunt needles and she does not need the Lidocaine to minimize the pain.

The other main issue was Mom's high calcium. At the last update we knew her high calcium was not due to a parathyroid condition, which is the cause in over 95% of the cases. Since then her nephrologist has talked to her internist about it, and the internist had Mom come in for some blood work and a 24-hour urine collection. All of that testing did not turn up anything, so the next step was for Mom to have a bone scan. A bone scan (bone scintigraphy) is where a radioactive material is injected into the patient, and a few hours later a camera that is sensitive to that radiation takes pictures of the patient. The radioactive material is taken up in the bones, and areas of high bone turnover will take up more of the radioactive material. One of the possible causes of high calcium is when a previous cancer has spread (metastasized) to the bone, and Mom does have a history of breast cancer so that would be a possibility.

Mom had the bone scan on Tuesday, October 1. Her nephrologist went over the results with her that Friday and said there does not appear to be any bone cancer. That is definitely good news, but it also means Mom's high calcium is still a mystery. The next thing the nephrologist is going to order is chest, abdominal, and upper leg X-rays (shoulders to knees, basically). I think he may be looking for signs of sarcoidosis, another rare cause of high calcium. If the X-rays do not provide any answers, he said he may order a bone marrow biopsy since multiple myeloma can be a cause of high calcium. Since multiple myeloma is related in many ways to primary (AL) amyloidosis, it would be really bizarre if that turned out to be the cause of her high calcium.

So once again Mom is showing how special she is while her doctors try to determine what is going on.

=====Monthly Blog Status Update=====

Total posts: 101 (5 in September)

Total pageviews: 7500 (~1200 in September)

Email subscribers: 6

Total number of countries that have viewed the blog: 74

2 new countries viewed the blog in September:
Czech Republic


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