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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Our Kidney Answer

We went to see Dr. Zuniga, Madi and Ramya's urologist, today and got some answers about Madi's left kidney. 

(Just as a refresher, Madi was having an ultrasound done and the tech stopped about half way through, looked at me, and said, "so what's the story on her left kidney.".  Well, other than the fact that she has renal reflux and her left kidney is smaller than the right, I wasn't aware that there were any problems with her left kidney.  Our appointment with the urologist wasn't for a few weeks after the scan, so we waited to find out what was wrong)

Dr. Zuniga said that her left kidney hasn't grown at all this past year.  In fact, it may have gotten smaller.  Her scan from a year ago showed it was bigger than this years scan showed.  It could be due to an error in the scan that it is showing up smaller now, but either way, it still hasn't grown and that is an issue. 

Because Madi hasn't really had many UTIs, and hasn't had any that were symptomatic, he doesn't feel it is due to damage from that.  He thinks it's likely due to the fact that the renal reflux (she has grade 5) is keeping the blood from flowing correctly and her system from working correctly, and is basically keeping it from growing correctly.  We go in for another test tomorrow (urodynamics) and then will talk about surgery options to fix the reflux based on the outcome of the test, and possibly another test as well.  Dr. Zuniga said he may want to do a test where the inject radio-active material in through an IV (sigh) and then watch what happens when it gets to the kidneys.  This would tell us how her kidneys function, instead of just knowing the size of her kidneys.  There is always the chance that her little kidney functions really well, even though it's much smaller than it should be.  Or, it may be that her kidney hardly functions at all.  

As far as surgery goes, we have a few choices, but reflux surgery for a child with spina bifida is more complicated and there aren't any "easy" solutions.  The first option would be to go in and inject a bulking agent to try and bulk up the ureter and keep the urine from refluxing.  This is an out-patient, minimally invasive procedure, but it only has about a 40% chance of helping, at best.  It is, however, something worth trying.  The second option would be a vesicostomy.  This surgery would relieve the reflux and pressure to the bladder/kidneys, but is not a long-term solution.  Whenever it is closed up, there is a great chance the reflux will come back.  It's also not typically done with children Madi's age, due to the fact that it means the child will have to use a diaper, and they start moving towards "social continence" for children approaching school age.  For Madi, however, because she will be homeschooled, we don't have to worry as much about social continence and can focus more on doing whatever we need to get that kidney growing, so I do see this as an option for her.  The next option is one I don't love.  It would be the mitrofanoff surgery.  I am not against the surgery in general, and think it can be a great thing to bring freedom to kiddos and adults, however, it is a permanent surgery where many things are reconstructed.  If Madi were to have this surgery, it couldn't be undone.  That means if another, better, treatment option came available, she wouldn't be able to try it.  I would really prefer to wait to do this until she is older and could make that choice for herself.  With so much coming up on the horizon, in terms of medical advancements and new surgery options, I'd hate to make a permanent choice for her if it wasn't completely necessary.  If it was what had to be done to save her left kidney, though, then it is something I would obviously consider. 

Please be praying for David and I as we make some tough choices about how to help Madi.  It looks like she will have another surgery headed her way, and we are praying for clear direction on how to proceed and best help her.  We'll update everyone after our next set of testing and appointments.



Unknown said...

much love to madi and prayers for you and David as you make this important decision. I do think you're thinking is right to allow her the decision on a permanent medical issue like this - especially while you still have options.

mitimom said...

Praying for the Lord's direction for these important decisions. I know he will come through for you. Truly hoping you find that nothing additional is necessary.

Unknown said...

Hoping someday I will be able to keep up with your POSTS, can't imagine keeping pace with your life... thank you so much Jamie for sharing your journey, what an awesome way of helping others as you are led through these decisions.

Unknown said...

I hope to be able to keep up with your POSTS someday, can't imagine keeping pace with your LIFE ;-) Thank you Jamie for sharing the journey you are on, it is such encouragement and help to those who are faced with many similar concerns. We appreciate what you add to SBAAZ and your willingness to 'bloom where you are planted'