My name is Jan I began this blog because I think it’s important to share my story. I have had some request to share it as well as my recipes and how I do what I am doing. I decided the best way to do this is to have a blog; I will share as much as I can, because I think I may help someone and they won’t have to go through what I have gone through.
Having acute kidney failure was a surprise to me, I spent months thinking, something’s wrong with me, I don’t feel good. In the beginning I just started looking at myself without the help of my doctor, I realized I needed to see my doctor and get her opinion I was frustrated. I spent the next 6 months seeing my doctor on a regular basis, having test after test taken, to keep coming up empty handed. I was retaining water, but the why was not surfacing in all these tests. My doctor was convinced it was how I was eating, and by the looks of me you would probably agree. But what she didn’t know was I was barely eating, keeping food down was hard, and I felt full all the time. I argued with her, not only was I eating very little, one of my daily frustrations for most of my life was that I ate pretty healthy; I should have been losing weight. This was not a surprise as I have spent most of my life on diets, and never losing more than 30 pounds. I made the determination some years back, that I would always eat healthy, not call it a diet but a way of life and if I lost weight I would be thrilled and if I didn’t at least I knew I wasn’t adding junk to my system.
What does eating healthy mean … this is my version, you may agree or disagree but this is what I did. I work in a grocery store, and I am around this stuff everyday and I have plenty of time to know how the store is step up. I hear a lot about preservatives, organics, naturals, and processed foods. Most dry grocery is processed, what’s this mean, well read the ingredient label. See sodium counts (and all kinds of other stuff) and you will begin to see why life is difficult for some of us. 20 years ago or more, I read something along the lines of ~ if an item had more than 5 ingredients it was most likely not good for you, because beyond 5 is when all the ‘processed’ items go in to preserve the life of the item. Hence dry grocery, we can keep it longer because preservatives prolong the life. This is when I began realizing boxed or canned items at the grocery store are the worst things someone can eat. I have never been interested in GMO’s, are hearing talk about them, but today at least I can see its value.
I was never perfect with the 5 items or less but I was pretty good, which meant no canned veggies, except tomatoes, no frozen meals, no package or boxed items. I eat tons of fresh produce and fruit, lean red meats, chicken, pork and fish. Dairy has always been on my list, soda pop went out the door in my early 20’s. (I still crave and on rare occasion I will have one.) Junk food, chips somewhat, sweets ~ yes sweets, I carefully look at labels, but you can see why I am 80% there.
So, I am retaining water excessively and my doctor says it’s something I am eating, a metabolic doctor didn’t disagree, but he couldn’t determine what it was I was eating, (don’t discount this I only had one visit with him). He did give me some diet pills, I barely took them though and you will see why later. At this same time, my doctor and her team were getting frustrated, I would leave them crying because they weren’t able to find out what was wrong, through test after test. I was getting really bad, and 8 months into finding out what was wrong, 6 months with a doctor and 130 unanswered lbs. gained her team says, “I am a ‘text book of numbers'”. Well this text book was falling apart at the seams and very frightened. I wasn’t sure how much longer I could go on like I was, and I was looking into what my future looked like and it was very bleak. On Friday, 4 days after hearing I was a ‘text book of numbers’, I had acute kidney failure.
Hearing this was not totally surprising because 6 months prior to this, we began working on getting the water off of me through a diuretic. This was definitely scary for my husband and I; but without this I would never have found out what was wrong with me which basically is, I was drowning because of the water I was retaining, and until I recently I was staying ahead of it. The kidney doctor asked me two questions ~ how long have you had low blood pressure & how long have you had a low tolerance to salt? I looked at him, surprised he knew these two things that were not new to me. There were times doctors were unable to get a reading for my blood pressure, but they were all always happy at the 103 over 69 reading. Well this wasn’t a great text number for me, and how could he possibly know about the salt. Most of my life I just thought it was a preference. There were certain items like “ham” that I just could not eat, though I liked the taste; I just felt miserable after eating it. So here is the diagnosis, by heart and kidney’s miss fire, they are sending mixed signals. My low blood pressure is caused by my heart beating out strong, but not in strong, so fluids would not pump backup to my heart causing the fluid to be retained in my legs. Because of the water, eating salt would cause me to retain more water. The water retention was not getting better prior to my kidney’s failing though I was being treated for it, the treatment didn’t hasn’t changed as of today, so my doctor was on the right track, the water just was coming off not just very well. I would have drowned eventually, and this I found out through my aunts, because my grandmother and great grandmother had the same problem, my great grandmother passed away from drowning because of water retention. I still don’t understand why the water was not coming off prior to the failure; my food intake was very little therefore my sodium consumption was minimal. My kidney was brought back up and running fairly quick, I was barely able to stay “OUT” of the bathroom, but once the water started to come off it didn’t stop and the weight began to drop. And then weeks later, I was released from doctor’s care. I still retain water, and the low sodium diet is helping me manage it and this will be on ongoing battle all my life. I will begin 2016 much the same way I did in 2015 trying to figure out why, the difference is I have dropped the unanswered 130 lbs. of water weight and I pray and hope I will continue to lose weight going forward.
Writing this blog will help me to continue on a path of good health, and I hope in 2016 I will find out more of what causes the water retention. I am open to ideas and you don’t mind sharing I would love to hear them. In the meantime, I have had several people as me to share my recipes, so I will be doing this as well.