Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

The New Piece of the Pie

I’ve kind of been going back and forth as to whether or not I should share my latest news, or not, but I guess here goes. I am 12w3d pregnant, and so far so good. Outside of some severe morning sickness (which has now gone on its merry way) I’ve been okay!

For those that don’t know (most do), my pregnancy is high risk. I have type 1 diabetes (for 17 years), gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying, problems with my vagus nerve in my stomach), hypoglycemic unawareness (I don’t feel my low blood sugars), degenerative disc disease, and spondylosis (arthritis in my spinal canal and subsequent narrowing).

I have two children, ages 8 and 5. I am also newly married, on July 2 of this year. I am 30 years old.

Bob and I decided to try and have children right away, immediately after we got married. He doesn’t have any biological children, although he calls my two his own. Our reasoning to try right away is because I am 30 and have had diabetes for 17 years. It is known (and I was cautioned) by my doctors that if I started to have kidney problems or eye problems, those conditions typically accelerate during pregnancy which would mean that my personal health risk (and the baby’s risk) would be much higher if I had those diabetes complications. I consulted with all my doctors, had my meds changed around, worked on my blood sugars, and got the okay to be pregnant. I had my kidneys and eyes checked and both were great. Since I have been diabetic for so long, I felt like it was only a matter of time before I had kidney or eye complications so I figured the sooner I have this child, the better.

So my husband and I got pregnant, IMMEDIATELY (like the very first week we tried!)

I have bi-weekly appointments with my endocrinologist and at my most recent appointment with my endocrinologist she told me that although before the pregnancy I did not have noticeable issues with my kidneys she now believes I have stage 2 diabetic nephropathy (There are 5 stages, the final being End Stage Renal Disease). As stated before, this condition typically accelerates during pregnancy, so I can expect my kidney situation to worsen throughout the pregnancy. However, after I give birth, my kidneys should return to the health they are at currently, which is easily treatable with medication that cannot be taken during pregnancy because it causes birth defects.

Almost all women with nephropathy develop pre-eclampsia and 90% deliver before 34 weeks gestation. 70% or more of women with diabetic nephropathy deliver via c-section.

I am sad, sad, sad. I just feel like we did all we could to ensure this pregnancy was as healthy as possible. We changed my meds around. I see the doctor constantly. I’m under constant stress health-wise, and although I knew this would be hard, it felt like I could do it. This throws an entire new wrench into the whole pregnancy. Not to mention aside from that I am dealing with the diagnosis of a new life-long eventually life threatening condition. (I know, over-dramatization! My mom has taken meds for her kidneys for over 10 years with no progression, but still!)

The day after I received my diagnosis I went and bought diamond earrings. True to form, I’ve been wearing my diamond earrings and a beautiful diamond heart necklace my mother in law gave me because it just seems the jewels lift my heart and mind. It sounds silly, but the sadness I feel is intense. I am 30. I feel young, not kidney disease material! That may not be rational, but I don’t feel very rational. I feel cheated of health.

I know my chances of returning to almost normal kidney function after I deliver is very high, and I am thankful that as of right now my blood pressure is normal. Knowing these things, however, does not stop up my sadness. I can’t turn back now. However cliché this is, I feel as though I am on a train that has no stops, a direct shot straight to wherever I am going, and wherever that takes me (us) I sincerely hope that the end result is a baby with health enough to survive.