This is it. Today is my last doctor’s appointment in Japan. I will have one more full annual physical through my town next Monday, but this will be the last with the kidney specialist and I’m a little nervous.
Back in May, as part of my ongoing treatment, I had my tonsils removed. In my understanding, the tonsils are one of the main producers of the IgA particle, which my body isn’t disposing of properly. In my case the IgA is getting deposited in my kidneys, which is making them not function properly. It’s something that my body has always done, so there is a bit of a build-up. Oddly fortunate for me, Japan is very familiar with my form of kidney disease (IgA Nephropathy or IgAN). Unlike the U.S they test everyone for various kidney diseases once a year in their annual physicals from the time they are small children. So they seem to catch more of them in their earlier stages. One of the treatments for IgAN patients is to have their tonsils removed. There is some debate as to its effectiveness, and it’s not always done in other countries. But since I can live without my tonsils I went ahead and had them removed.
Oddly enough to my surprise they did not feed me ice cream, jello, or soft foods after my surgery. Every day they presented me with normal foods and wondered why I wasn’t trying to eat them. One day I was even presented with steak and salad. Yeah, that’s just what I want to eat when I can barely swallow. Eventually they started giving me okayu (rice porridge) with my meals so I could start eating something. I also ran down to the hospital convenience store and bought loads of ice cream.
I don’t know if it’s working or not yet. My doctor says the treatment here usually takes a couple of years and I’m moving right in the middle of it. Thankfully I am moving to a country with pretty good medicine.
Today’s plan is to once again check my protein levels. I’m happy to report they have been going down since I started my treatment. When I began they were a little over 1000 but at my last check in they were down to about 200 (0 is the best). After that my doctor will be giving me my medical records so I can bring them to the doctors in the states and then he’s planning on prescribing me many months (hopefully at least a year’s worth) of my medications. We don’t know when we will get insurance in the states or what that will look like and that there is a giant stress in my family’s life right now. I’m thankful that the health care reform in the US was deemed constitutional! At least we know by 2014 (as long as nothing crazy happens) no insurance company will be able to turn me down because of my kidney disease.
Hopefully my disease will be in remission by then.