A Fairly Scary Health Update

I’m not famous, but my jobs past and present have given the opportunity to have a large number of online friends who genuinely care about my wellbeing. I pour my heart into the things I do (which sounds odd for someone in a technical field), and countless people support me, defend me, and protect me from the big bad wolves of the Internet.

So when something significant happens in my life, people often want to know. It’s not a creepy invasion of privacy, or a juicy tidbit for gossip around the watercooler, but rather real people genuinely concerned about my wellbeing. That’s incredibly humbling, just so you all know. And so I want to give an update, because I think it’s better than leaving people wondering. Plus, I truly appreciate the wellwishes, prayers, and encouragement. ANYWAY:

This week I went to the doctor because I have a pain in my abdomen in about the spot my gallbladder lives. I’m about the right age, the right (over)weight, and the right skin-tone to be a likely candidate for a faulty gallbladder. So I had a blood test, a urine test, and an ultrasound. When the tests came back, my gallbladder looks OK. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t appear to be full of stones or anything.

My liver and kidneys, on the other hand, appear to have issues. That’s fairly shocking, as I haven’t had any symptoms related to kidney or liver, but the tests came back with issues. My liver is fatty, and is stressed, but is still functioning well. So for that, I need to lose weight, and things should improve. My kidneys, however, appear to be in really bad shape. I don’t have the specific numbers, but the numbers that are supposed to be low are very high, and the number that is supposed to be high is very low. In fact, the test were so unsettling, that the doctor referral slip had “Acute Renal Failure” written on it. I didn’t realize the severity of things until I saw that. Scary sounding, no?

So far I’ve consulted with 3 doctors, and the next step is to get an ultrasound of my kidneys to check blood flow. Then I need to hydrate REALLY well for a few days, and get my blood/urine retested. My close friends have been urging me to go immediately to a specialist, and I understand that mentality — but this short-term plan makes sense to me. The initial tests may have been skewed, partially because:

  • I have no symptoms of renal failure.
  • I have been hitting the Couch-2-5K program HARD, doing a new run every day, instead of 3/week.
  • It’s possible I was dehydrated and didn’t realize it.
  • Only my blood test showed issues, my urine test (on the next day) was fine.

 

One of the doctors consulted specializes in sports medicine, and he’s seen an intense workout regimen combined with insufficient hydration cause test results similar to mine. (so, a false positive) If my next tests still show problems with kidney function, I will do what it takes to get the best treatment I can. I know kidneys are nothing to mess with, and I’m not ignoring the issue. I promise. :)

I’ll update everyone as I learn more.

9 Comments

  1. xmundt says:

    best of luck with that. It is very easy to get dehydrated when performing serious physical activity like that, and, it WILL screw up the functions of the organs. Drink More Water!

  2. mattw says:

    Good luck!

  3. Nick Danger says:

    “My liver is fatty, and is stressed, but is still functioning well.” So’s your linux server! ;-) Hope its nothing and everything is normal quickly. I had my GB out in emergency surgery, I do not miss it.

  4. Anne C. says:

    Yeep, Shawn! I hope you are a-okay and that it is a “false positive.”

  5. Adam C. says:

    Hey Shawn,

    That’s not good! Are you taking any vitamins or multivitamins? You may want to cut back or cut them in half and do half in the morning and half in the afternoon. IF you are working out that hard and ALSO hitting vitamins that will double whammy your body’s natural filters (kidneys).

    Best of luck to you I hope everything is good and I’m wishing you the best through this.

  6. furicle says:

    Dude – tripling up on an exercise plan is sorta like taking a triple dose of prescription meds…. more isn’t better, and might be worse than none. Do it like it was designed.

  7. Nathan says:

    Take good care of yourself.

  8. David Lane says:

    Yo, dude. As a kidney stone sufferer, I will give you my urologist advice – drink more water!!!!! And you are not overweight.

  9. Vince says:

    Praying for and thinking of you.

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