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Saturday, 18 August 2012

IgA Nephropathy and me.

It all started about thirty years years ago when I was working very hectic hours away from home for a few years at a Ford plant in Southampton. I caught a really horrible chest infection and then noticed that I was peeing blood. This wasn’t just a dark brown colour. No. It looked as if I was peeing from an artery. My back hurt like hell and it took a few days to feel well enough to drive, in a fair bit of pain, back home and go and see the doctor. It all settled down and there seemed to be no ill effects and within a few months I had forgotten all about it.

A couple of years later I went for a pretty standard insurance medical as I was increasing my life cover significantly. The results came as a bit of a surprise; They wanted to load my premiums quite heavily.

I went to see my GP who decided to send me for all sorts of tests, one of which was a renal biopsy. I went into hospital as a fit and healthy chap who was running an average of 60 miles a week at just over 6 minute miles and came out of there the next day barely able to walk. Lord knows what they did wrong, but it was a very unpleasant experience.

This was followed up with a visit to the consultant. He told me I had dangerously high blood pressure and that the results of the biopsy had shown that I had Berger’s Disease, also known as IgA Nephropathy. The prognosis was not great, to be honest, but by careful monitoring and the right medication my kidney problem has been managed pretty well in their slow glide-path of decay.

I was put on ACE inhibitors, which reduced my blood pressure to normal levels and things settled down. It was explained that it was a chronic condition; it was going to get worse every year. With check ups every six months or so and then yearly, my kidney function deteriorated quite slowly. But it looked like they were going to see me through my three score years and ten, so I wasn’t too perturbed.

Fast forward now to a year or so ago. Just before setting off for the TGO Challenge in 2011, things started to change quite rapidly. The standard yearly check up had picked up that my potassium levels had shot up to 6.4 This, apparently, is really not very good. They changed my BP medication and advised me to go on a low potassium diet. Brilliant, Shadwell… No chocolate, nuts, bananas, not much fruit… and no Marmite!

Potassium levels can affect heart rhythms and they were worried that if I were to scoff my usual diet I would drop dead somewhere in the Scottish Hills whilst eating handfuls of trail-mix.

The change of blood pressure medication produced startling effects: Ankles like an elephant. A doctor friend on the Challenge noticed this and told me to get the prescription changed to some other wonder drug and soon, via this change and then reverting back to my original ACE inhibitor and a reduced potassium diet, things settled down again.

However in that year my kidney function took a dramatic turn for the worse, halving their efficiency from something like 30% to 15%. In the midst of all this, I moved from Cambridgeshire to Berkshire.

The last few months have been busy.There was another renal biopsy to find out just how bad things are. I am now seeing a whole new team, based around the Royal Berks Hospital. I have a new consultant who found I have a very low blood count (Haemoglobin) of 8.7 – A normal chap my age should have a blood count of around 15. This explains a lot. It explains why I have been feeling totally knackered and why the TGO Challenge was such a monumental struggle this year, as the red blood cells carry the oxygen around the body and I had about half the normal level. Looking at my records, he says I have had a very low blood count for quite some time, which again explains why I have struggled getting up the hills over the last few years.

Completely out of the blue and unasked, my family came forward and my two brothers and a sister have offered me one of their own kidneys as Live Donors. This is incredibly brave of them as it involves a major operation, performed using keyhole surgery and under a general anaesthetic.

I have been to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford to see the Transplant Surgeon and have come away with all sorts of booklets and DVDs to peruse and pass on to my brothers and sister. I really should get them sent off ASAP. As this is a pretty major undertaking, at every step in the process they can opt out if they change their minds.

I have been to see the renal nurses at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, who pumped me full of intravenous iron earlier this week. Hopefully, over the next few weeks, this will increase the blood count to a more normal level. There is also the option of EPO injections, which will surely mean that Bradley Wiggins should watch himself as I’ll be coming right past him.

The target is to get all this sorted with me back to full health for the TGO Challenge next year. The Transplant Surgeon thinks this is possible. However, because transplanted kidneys have a bit of a limited shelf-life when installed, the renal nurses are recommending caution, saying I should hang on to the old kidneys for as long as possible. However, a new kidney has the best chance of a long and happy life if it is transferred to me before dialysis is needed, so this means that it’s best to do the transplant sooner rather than later. So it’s a bit of a balancing act as to when to do the operation..

There’s another visit to the consultant next week, so I shall find out more then. We live in interesting times…

There are zillions of “Clair de Lune”s on You Tube, but this one is my favourite. He certainly plays it better than I can.

91 comments:

  1. Blimey, Alan, that's quite a tale. I wish you all the best in getting back to full fitness in time for the TGO. A tad disappointed you couldn't find an angle to blame it all on wind farms, though ;-)

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    1. Indeed, Paul! Its all Tim Yeo's fault. What a complete bastard!

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  2. Alan - really appreciate you sharing this with us all. You are a brave lad and a lucky one to have such fine family by your side. I am scrounging up a wonderful rare american cheese to share with you at your annual party next year on the Challenge. They say that you will live a long and happy life if you can still cut the cheese.

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    1. They're not bad, eh?
      I had to look up "you can still cut the cheese" - I sounds like a lovely expression! LINK

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  3. "We live in interesting times..."

    When you're young you have great expectations of life but things happen you've never imagined....and you never expected to happen. Life can be a bumpy ride and they call it experience. I prefer to grow old in a very inexperienced way.
    I wish you good health and quick recovery after surgery.

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    1. Thank you Theo. It's just another pothole in the road to progress, eh? :-)

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  4. Best wishes to you, old boy. Just try to avoid the TGOC doping monitors :). I hope you don't end up looking like the disqualified Belarus shot putter.

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    1. I wouldn't mind a moustache like her's though - or her thighs...
      The intravenous iron, EPO and FifeArmsMuscleRelaxant will all be essential supplements. I shall be careful at the border crossing point when entering independent Scotland to avoid the rozzers!

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  5. I'll see you in the Fife then Alan! Be thinking of you all x

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    1. Ah yes. The Fife. That well known centre of Challenge doping. We could buy each other a pint of pain relief, or two!

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  6. Alan old boy, that's a heartbreaking story. But it's also wonderful that your siblings are stepping in so magnificently. That must mean an awful lot to you right now. Here's to your getting back on your feet very soon indeed!

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    1. I'll drink to that, Andy! (Mind you, I'd drink to most things, it has to be said...)

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  7. No wonder you looked knackered in Montrose! Sue and I wish you all the best over the coming months, and we really do hope that all goes well with the op and the recuperation.

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    1. Hi Martin
      I was indeed absolutely f*cked. Early on in the walk, at the end of each day's walk I would get the tent up and have half an hour lie down to recover a bit. By the end of the walk I needed a good hour just to stop feeling ill.
      The worst if it all was having no "engine" any more. There used to be a lithe old V8 that used to fling me up the hills but this year it felt like it had been swapped with a 50cc single. I noticed this dramatic drop-off in performance first of all in the Pyrenees in 2010. I just put it down to a bug at the time. Going up hill had never been a problem; Indeed I preferred 'uphills' to down, as the body felt more alive pushing against the resistance of the hill. Well, hopefully, a new kidney will get me back to V6 to get someway back to normal. :-)

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  8. Can only say good luck and I hope it all goes well and we see you on the Challenge next year zooming past us all.

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    1. I'm not the first Challenger with screwed kidneys and I'm sure I won't be the last. The great news is that these days kidney transplants are hugely more successful and less intrusive than in the past, with the use of laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery and better anti-rejection drugs.
      As to zooming past CT - that made me giggle!
      :-)
      Cheers, Chris.

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  9. That's a bit of a bugger, Al. Still, getting across Scotland on half a kidney is more than most of us could manage :o) I'd be grabbing that free kidney with both (gloved) hands btw. All the best for a healthy and indeed speedy recovery *slurps tea*

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    1. Thanks Kev.
      :-)
      Here's an interesting fact: There are quite a few people wandering about who have been born with only one kidney. One of the tests for donors is to ensure they have two...
      The things you learn, eh?

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  10. Wow, Alan, you are going thru the mill!

    The TGO training is bad enough without swapping bits, so I hope you are able to get over all the medical steps and onto the hills ASAP.

    Good luck and here's to a quick recovery.

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    1. Russ Mannion managed the Challenge just a few weeks after having hip replacements. There are stories out there about Challengers that make your toes curl! Some of them are incredible! This will give me my life back - and a bit of zip too!
      :-)

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  11. Hi Alan
    A bit of a sod, but a least you now have a positive plan going forward. You will have to do the challenge next year to share Norma's Champagne for her 10th - delayed from this year. You'll both be able to compare operation notes!
    Good luck.

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    1. How is Norma's back? I hope everything has settled down there. After all, she carries most of your gear, doesn't she?
      :-)
      There's nothing like an incentive! Sharing Norma's champagne sounds just the ticket. I think there might be a few bottles opened on the beach next year!
      :-)

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    2. Her back is now starting to show signs of real improvement. Last Sunday was her first venture onto the hills- an excursion up Holme Fell in Tilberthwaite a regular evening stroll for us normally. So all being well I should get her up to carrying 50lbs plus by next May!
      Will you be keeping the same threesome for next year or will Lord Elpus be joining the troupe?



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    3. Good for Norma :-) She'll soon be back, carrying those life-saving beers for you. She must remember to bring a glass along too. Beer tastes so much better from a proper beer glass.
      There's so much up in the air with the kidney thing that I haven't given next year's walk too much thought. I believe Phil will be back next year. It will be his tenth too.
      I suppose it all depends on if I've had the op or not and how the recovery has been. I might need to do a wussy route if I'm only just off the table or not yet had it. I've been told the Iron & EPO should make me feel a whole lot better.
      I will apply though.
      :-)

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  12. Lynne and I wish you all the best for your op and for a speedy recovery Alan. What a wonderful family you have.

    "Across Scotland on an 8.7 blood count". A book title perhaps?!

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    1. The new renal consultant was surprised but then followed it up saying that over the years I had got used to the low blood count and had adapted. However, should a chap walk in off the street with a count that low he would whip him straight into hospital.
      It's amazing how the body copes, really. An incredible machine.
      :-)

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  13. challenges come in many shapes and forms

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    1. Quite, dear thing!
      Just another hurdle... I seem be knocking them over rather than clearing them gracefully.
      :-)

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  14. Alan, best of luck, firstly with the difficult decision and then of course with whatever follows. My guess, for what it's worth, is that a newer, sleeker, higher performance hill-goer will emerge from all of this. Alan Sloman - Renaissance man; how does that sound?

    Seriously - good luck and good health.

    Oss (formerly Byeways)

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    1. Thank you, Sir!
      Sleeker indeed. I had managed to lose quite a bit of flab prior to the TGO Challenge and this time I have succeeded in keeping it off, remaining a very sleek 11 stone 5lbs. I don't want their cutting machines to have to slice though pounds of flab!
      :-)

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  15. I did think you looked quite tired at the end of this year's Challenge, Alan, but I just assumed that spending two weeks with Andrew had worn you out! Good luck with the op (and good luck to the donating family member too) and I hope to see you fighting fit in May.

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    1. Naughty, naughty Judith!
      Mad'n'Bad Andy was actually pretty marvellous this year - a great bloke to walk with. He never once offered to carry my rucksack though. Minus points for that.
      But! He did produce life enhancing beers and sloe gin in the middle of nowhere, to lift the spirits. His rucksack is like a TARDIS. How he fits in all the booze as well as his camping kit is a mystery.
      My brothers & sister have quite a few tests to go through before they can be allowed to donate a kidney, so whoever ends up being the donor should be the best match and the most healthy of the bunch too! It is an amazing thing they are doing. I am incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful bunch!
      I hope to see you in May too, dear thing!
      :-)

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    2. I couldn't manage 2, I was struggling with a rucksack full of Sloe Gin and secret beer cans.
      And there was me thinking you were just getting old. Of course instead of kidneys you just need someone 100 yards ahead to overtake :-).
      Anyway, looking forward to your return with new parts.
      Are you allowed out in the hills at the moment.

      Keep me posted boss.
      :-)

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    3. I ended up carrying Mick Coady's pack from Invermark Castle to Tarfside when he broke his ankle. It wasn't that bad, actually as you are quite well balanced. It's just a bit hard on the legs.
      Yes - having a hare as a target does speed things along.
      I'm not sure about being out & about quite yet - I am going to see how it goes this week to see if the iron has made any difference to my "engine!" Up until now I have been a bit b*ll*xed.
      I quite fancy a walk somewhere not too hilly - maybe the Chilterns when it's cooler? Sweltering down here today!
      I'll keep in touch. I need to get in touch with Phil too - he's left a message on my machine.

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    4. As soon as you are feeling ready, give us a shout :-)

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  16. Nobody wants any condition ending with "pathy". That'll teach you to upset The Merseyside Ramblers Occult Assistant Chairman and Chief Wizard. Come to think of it, I may have an issue there too....

    Stay off the bananas and marmite. See you in Montrose (If we get a place....)

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    1. I've just been watching James Cordon in a fine romp "Lesbian Vampire Killers"
      I just need a mighty big sword with a handle shaped like a willy. That'll sort out the Merseyside Massif.

      Montrose it is, then.
      :-)

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  17. Alan sorry to read about your health problems. Through your writings I can see you are a fighter so I am sure you will come back fighting fit. Good luck and all the very best.
    Mark

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  18. Hey Slomo, FCH ain't forgotten you,dude. Two members of Fight Club Hikers are skilled and experienced renal nurses (Titaniumdude and Buzzingirly). Your ideal partners. Ukmase, Pieman, Wibble, Jayne and me are fucking useless but will always shout encouragement in between farting contests.

    Seriously though, Pat and Gill are boss nurses. Hope it goes well for you.

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    1. It's a small but pretty marvellous world, Peter!
      Thank you
      :-)

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  19. Best wishes from a fellow frustrated backpacker recovering from a replacement knee op on 4th May - at least I didn't need a volunteer to donate the replacement part!

    I really do wish you well - at times one despairs of human nature, but when people like your siblings come forward like this, there is once again cause for optimism and positive thoughts, the latter of which you obviously have. It is great to have a target to aim for, and what could be better than next year's TGO?

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    1. I have just been having a canter through your blog - I recall having visited ages ago but somehow you have slipped through the net and didn't get included in my blog roll - which I have now fixed by adding you in so I won't miss any more of your adventures.

      Many thanks for your good wishes and good luck with your knee; It sounds like it is going to be fine!

      By the way - publish as many maps as you like on your blog. I had a huge run-in with O.S. many years ago and so they are well aware of this blog and since I published all MY (I paid for them and so they are mine!) maps I have not heard a peep out of them.

      All those threats and then ... nothing! :-)

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  20. Hi Alan,
    Just a comment of some good news. My neighbour had same as you in 1 kidney. His consultant rang him up and said he had a slot where he could remove the kidney. I took him to the hospital at 1.00pm friday afternoon. I saw a relative of his on sunday evening and i asked him if he had been to the hospital He replied “Why”. I said to visit your relative. There’s no need he said, he came home yesterday.
    Now i know your problem is worse than this chaps but it goes to show how quickly recovery can be when using key hole.
    This neighbour of mine was fine within the week.
    All the best to you and the family.

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    1. That sounds like a wonderful recovery rate. I shall try to emulate it! :-)
      Many thanks for you your best wishes, Alan. Are you back in the pink, these days?

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    2. More or less on the health front but as for fitness, never been better. now down to 73.3kl from 88.7kl in February.

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    3. Wowza! that's the weight of a hefty rucksack, that is! You'll be bounding up those hills!
      Well done Sir!

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    4. I did 9k running with Sheila yesterday in what for me is an amazing time of 46 minutes. I never thought i would achieve this.

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    5. Impressive Sir. For chaps of our age, very impressive!
      :-)
      (And Sheila too, of course!)

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  21. Well I type a long comment and it disappears into the ether so here I go again, from memory, and at the risk of the original turning back up and boring readers twice over.

    As with all the other comments, Alan, I want to wish you all the best and hope that the treatment goes well and sorts you out. Apart from your fortitude and the generosity of your siblings, the other thing that struck me was all that you have achieved over the last couple of years despite your illness. Your completion of the TGO Challenge last year is an inspiration to at least one other middle aged bloke (ie me) who is contemplating entering but worrying that he might not be up to it!

    Great stuff and do keep blogging - love your posts.

    David (@FellBound)

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    1. Hi David
      I always say to aspiring TGO Challengers that if I can do it, then surely anyone can do it?

      You only need a modicum of fitness to start with, as you will get fitter on the walk. (Though it does help to be pretty fit to begin with, of course!)

      The biggest hurdle is mental strength: If it's been peeing down with rain for the first two days and you wake up in your tent on the morning of Day 3 with wind and rain still thrashing the tent, it's very hard not to feel a bit down and think "Christ! Another twelve more days of this!" That's when "stickability" kicks in. And sure enough, the sun comes out and you wonder how on earth you could have got so low!

      The entry form will be out in a month's time, David. Of course you are up to it! Whoever wouldn't want to walk across some of the world's most beautiful wild landscapes, bumping into like-minded souls for two weeks?

      Many thanks for your good wishes - and fill in that entry form! You know you want to!

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  22. Sorry to read about this Alan but at least the prognosis is good. Your positive attitude and outlook will help too I reckon.

    I'm now imagining you racing across Scotland next year like some sort of Steve Austin ;-)

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    1. Steve Austin only had $6m spent on him. I reckon I'll be way past that by the time they've finished with me!
      :-)
      #GoodOldNHS!

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  23. Bugger, I'm an only child! No doubt your first aid kit will be the heaviest part of your kit now.

    Wishing you all the best, but please no pictures of operations on your blog.

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    1. I'm one of six!
      :-)
      My first aid kit has always been weighty - it came in at 540 grams for this year's TGO. Lord knows how heavy with a whole load of new meds after the operation!
      There will definitely be no pictures! I shall be fast asleep when they rummage about with the offal.

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  24. Interesting times right enough, Alan. It's an uplifting story as well though. All the best anyway.

    (It's good to see that you're retaining your sense of humour too. And remember, if you ever get any problems with your liver, don't hesitate to give me a shout. As Homer Simpson points out, I can get by with one.)

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    1. Indeed! I had to look that up. Genius! (I found it on the "Histology World" website)
      :-)

      "All right, let's not panic. I'll make the money by selling one of my livers. I can get by on one."
      -- Homer Simpson

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  25. I just wanted to add my best wishes to the chorus above. All the best for the coming weeks and months.

    And if you do decide to head out to the Chilterns sometime and fancy a bit of company, drop me a line and we'll see if we can coincide!

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    1. I most certainly will!
      Cheers Jules, and thank you.
      :-)

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  26. When I had my knee op I had a local anaesthetic, but they gave me some loony juice as well, so I couldn't have cared less. As I was wheeled in I saw this guy with a leg up over his shoulder, and logic told me it must be mine, but I had no concept whatsoever of that. There was a screen between me and what was going on lower down, but I do recall the sounds of a hammer and chisel, and also a saw!

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  27. Hello there Alan

    I too would like to add my crossed fingers to the collective. Hopefully things will go to plan and I may see you out on the hills next May. Why they can't grow kidneys on mice instead of ears has always troubled me...

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    1. Why stop there? Muscular chests and big willies would be an pretty handy too.
      :-)
      Thinking of the Challenge again, then?

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  28. Well the very best of luck Alan whatever you decide.

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    1. Cheers, Alistair
      :-)
      Had another visit to a consultant today (a different one) who, it transpired after two minutes of conversation, had obviously not read any of my notes.

      After straightening him up he was slightly better but not really up to speed. The effectiveness of the NHS all depends upon who you see.

      It was as well that last week's renal nurse was also there. There seems to be no joined up thinking between the renal consultant in my home town, the doctors at the Royal Berks and the Surgeons at Oxford. No co-ordination at all.
      They really need a damn good shaking or a decent project manager.
      But we'll get there as I'll do the shaking and the project management!

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  29. That's a real bugger Alan, I hope everything goes ok.

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    1. Cheers Geoff.
      :-)
      Given a bit of shoving and organising, I'm sure the NHS will come up trumps.

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  30. Hi Alan,

    I'll keep my fingers crossed for you. Keep in mind though the hills will never walk out on you.

    Rolf

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    1. :-) Cheers, Rolf. That made me smile.

      One of the moments I cherish most was from my 2011 TGO Challenge in the Monadhliath, hunkered down in a shallow grough near the top of the ridge before the Findhorn, in the sunshine with a freezing cold wind whistling overhead chomping on chocolate and all sorts of food "that would kill me" (as my consultant had said!) deliriously happy with my current lot.

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  31. It sounds like you have a great deal of uncertainty to deal with Alan.
    I think finishing (an evidently pretty hilly) TGO with a fbc of 8.7 is nothing short of heroic. Probably ought to be some sort of medal in it, frankly. Perhaps you could share a podium with your brave and generous siblings. When I was anaemic I struggled to walk up even the slightest incline and would regularly fall asleep during meetings. (I still do that, mind, but now have to dream up another excuse!)
    All the best for your decision making, and the subsequent treatment.

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    1. Heroic. That's a laugh! At the time I was feeling pretty rough, very weak and amazingly tired, but I put it down to the kidneys not filtering stuff properly - not having a clue about the blood count thing.
      I've been told they also regulate temperature, which is why I've been found in fleeces and jackets when everyone else is stripping off.
      I *do* agree with you though about my brothers and sister.

      Now then - shape up man, sit up straight and take deep lung-fulls of fresh air. Open the window and sing. Never fails.
      :-)

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  32. Best of luck Alan. Keep taking the medicine and you can stop reading the Telegraph for a while if only to help with the blood pressure! Be routing for you, keep us posted

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    1. Thank you Sir!
      But if I am forced to just read the Grauniad I'll bust a blood vessel!
      Maybe I'll settle in to "Smooth FM" or Radio 2. No. Second thoughts - Radio 2 has blasted Jeremy Vine!
      I'll read a book.
      :-)

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  33. I'm sure you will come good and you will be running up those hills in no time at all. Best of luck and keep us posted we are all sending our best wishes :)

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    1. Thank you Kelly.
      Though, it has to be said, I don't think I have ever enjoyed running up the hills! Down them, maybe!
      :-)

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  34. Do the wise thing, of course, but we vote for the early surgery so that you will be up to doing the Challenge. We think we have another walk left in us, and there has to be Sloman there to greet us at Queen St. ! We wish you back to good health.
    Lou and Phyllis

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    1. A warm "Hurrah" to you both.
      As you know, Lou was a bit of an inspiration to me doing the Challenge for the first time, after reading of his Glen Gaur Challenge of 1994 with David.
      :-)
      It will be wonderful to share Queen Street with you both next year. Montrose as well, with another successful Challenge under our belts!
      Love to you both
      Alan
      xx

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    2. Listen to them.
      They are wise :-)

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    3. Lou & Phyllis are not only wise, but pretty damn wonderful.
      :-)

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  35. Hi Alan

    Take care, must try to meet up soon.

    Bob

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  36. Hi, Alan. I had caught wind on the Challenge this year that you were having some significant renal issues. Of course I didn't know any of the details, but, I must say that in retrospect from what I observed and am now hearing, you were doing incredibly well for having a hemoglobin (the American spelling) of 8.7. Regarding oxygen-carrying capacity, it probably made some of those hills feel more like Mount Everest!

    I think that the iron and the EPO, if you do that, should help significantly, at least in the short run. I know exactly what you mean regarding the balancing act about when to have a transplant. I trust that you and your medical team will make the best decisions that you can regarding those aspects of care, and that if you have the surgery in the near future (or any time) your recovery and return to the hills and other activities will be quite speedy! I wish you the very best with all of this, and hopefully I will see you on next year's Challenge (assuming that I, too, make the draw).

    Rob

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    1. Hi Rob
      It's lovely to hear from you.
      :-) Yes, those hills did seem to be twice their normal height this year!

      The kidneys' eGFR seems to have stabilised at 15 for the last four months, so I am left hanging about a bit, waiting for the haemoglobin to improve and/or the transplant team to list me.
      However, I will be applying for the Challenge for 2013, hoping that the blood level improvement will be enough to boost me or the transplant will have happened by then.
      It would be great to bump into you next year. I'm keeping my fingers and toes crossed that we all make it through the draw.

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  37. Blimey, good luck olde chap. If you do the challenge next year you could always get that Andy chap to carry your kit.

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    1. Cheers James
      I'm applying with Lord Elpus and Mad'n'Bad Andy next year.
      Either doped up to the eyeballs with intravenous iron & EPO or with a new (to me) kidney.
      One way or another, I'll get there!
      :-)

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    2. Tis true, but I do wonder about the wisdom of isolating myself in the wilderness with a chap with a penchant for harvesting other peoples' vital organs. I haven't got many left!

      Lord E.

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    3. It would be pretty pointless nicking your liver, old fruit. That's well and truly shagged. I shall have to concentrate my energies on Young Andy. You hold him down and I'll do the incision with the Opinel.
      Then it will be just a good rummage to see if there any organs that look okay. We can put him back together with Gaffer Tape. I seem to recall his nether regions are already held together with sheets of kevlar. We can shunt that around a bit.
      Simples!

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  38. With a name like that I was very concerned so looked it up. I found it described as ideopathic something or other. I remarked that was an unfair comment on your mental capacity, never could spell, for which I got a clip round the ear and it was pointed out that means of no known origin. Just proves that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing! All the best Alan and wishes for a speedy recovery.

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    Replies
    1. You're a sweetie John
      I hope the ear cools down soon.
      :-)
      I'm at the Churchill Hosptital in Oxford tomorrow with my siblings to look for the best match. All good fun!

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  39. UPDATE:

    A blood test a month after the intravenous iron has shown that the blood count (Hb) is still only 9.1 (from a low of 8.7 A healthy number is about 15) so it appears that the intravenous iron hasn't done much to improve matters.

    So I am being sent Erythropoetin (EPO), by refrigerated courier, to boost the blood count. I hate needles, but I might just persevere with them this time if it helps reduce my general knackered-ness.
    :-)

    ReplyDelete

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