Thursday, April 28, 2011

Creatinin 1.7

At our 'six-month meeting with my surgeon/urologist he expressed concern over my high-ish creatinin levels ~1.7 ( normal range of 0.7 to 1.3). These have been high since my surgery in November but he hasn't been concerned because some elevation is 'normal' following this surgery. But after 5 months the doctors start using words like 'cronic' and my surgeon wanted to take a closer look at my kidney function. 

Kidney Function: 

The Creatinine test measures the level of the waste product creatinine in your blood and urine. This test tells how well your kidneys are working. The substance creatine is formed when food is changed into energy through a process called metabolism. Creatine is broken down into another substance called creatinine, which is taken out of your blood by the kidneys and then passed out of your body in urine. 
Creatinine is made at a steady rate and is not affected by diet or by normal physical activities. If your kidneys are damaged and cannot work normally, the amount of creatinine in your urine goes down while its level in your blood goes up. [Read more on Web MD]
Since my Creatinine levels have remained high since my surgery (and both x-rays and cat scans of my kidneys have indicated a swelling of the left kidney) I was scheduled for a "NM Renal Scan w/ Lasix" test where they injected a radioactive dye into my blood which would be filtered by the kidneys and moved to the bladder. They watched the progress of this dye, with some sort of scanner, for 60 minutes, and from this they could tell what percentage of the dye was processed by each kidney. [Read more about NM Renal Scans].  I was instructed to lay as still as possible during the scan and once the techician was satisfied that I was lined up properly and all systems were good, she turned the monitor so I could watch the progress (pass the time). I could tell right away that the left kidney was quite different than the right. One glowed much brighter than the other (I think it was the left). The Lasix is injected to stimulate the kidneys and since I had been instructed to drink up to 36 oz. of liquids prior to the scan I was a little concerned with holding it for an hour (with the neo bladder). I could see the bladder filling with the dye but I had no problem lasting the hour.

I will have to wait until my appointment with the surgeon (next week) to learn the official results. From what I saw, and from what little I know, I don't think the results will be good ...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Play Ball !!

First Baseball Game After Recovery (It's so great to be back).
Shortly after I learned that I had cancer I went back to umpiring Little League baseball. At my first game back (behind the plate), I realized that doing this was one of the things that made me happy and it had become an important part of my life. So I decided not to worry so much about the cancer or about the future. I was happy doing this and whether I was allowed just a few more games, or if I get many years of games to come, I will enjoy each and every one and be thankful for the health and strength to continue.

 New Season:

Last fall, as soon as I received the treatment and recovery details from my doctors,  I began signing umpire contracts for the spring highschool baseball/softball season. Now that season has begun and last night I worked my first game; freshman boys baseball at Sun Prairie, Wisconsin (vs. DeForest). I've worked with these coaches before and some players I recognized (from Jr. leagues perhaps) so it was a friendly atmosphere and everyone was excited about the new season and as happy as I was to be there. I quickly settled in behind the plate and even thought it was a bit chilly, I felt very comfortable and happy to be back.

The game went very well. There was good pitching on both sides and we easily got the game in before dark (my strike zone may have encouraged hitters to swing the bat but that's common this early in the season).

New concerns:

Willy Makit (remember that joke? - Betty Wont)

It's a matter of time. I have to be at the ball park at least 1/2 hour before the game starts (some require a whole hour). Many schools I work for are around 1/2 hour from my house. A typical 7-inning baseball game lasts around 2 hours - but can run longer. Three hours between trips to the bathroom pushes my limits at this point in my recovery. My new bladder isn't nearly as large as the old (and much harder to hold when it suddenly gets full). So I was a little nervous about this game. It was my first test to see how long I could go under a game situation (all those ups and downs behind the plate or running around the infield).

The first thing I noticed upon my arrival at the ball park was that the porta-potty (usual for this this field since it's some distance from the school) was nowhere in sight. So I drove up to the school and talked a janitor into letting me in so I could go before suiting up for the game. This gave me another 1/2 hour. All went well through the game and about half way through the 6th inning I began getting the signals that my bladder was full.  I really had no problem holding till the game was over. Squatting behind the plate didn't help and probably made these signals come before they normally would because once the game was over I had no problem getting back home with no more signals at all. This game lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. So with time before and the ride home I was easily able to make over 3 1/2 hours.

I feel good about this and expect it will improve with time and conditioning. Bring on the double headers.....