12 May 2016

To Pee or Not to Pee

Remember back in March when I wrote about my feet swelling to the size of a loaf of banana bread? Yeh, well, about that. In the ensuing months, my feet swelled even more, then my ankles, then my calves, then the lower half of my thighs, then the upper half of my thighs.

In all, I accumulated 24 pounds of water weight before I decided to put a stop to it. I demanded a two-week break from chemo (my doctor said it was fine as my numbers were so good) and set about trying to stop the water weight (known in medical circles as edema).

We had already spent two months adjusting my chemo doses to no avail. We added a diuretic (to make me pee) and increased the dose with no success. So, during my break, I had a “come to Jesus” talk with my kidney doctor and he prescribed me a different diuretic. Guess what: the water weight started pouring off. In about two weeks, I’ve lost 14 pounds. I still have ten pounds to go (to get to my pre-chemo weight) but I’m confident that will happen.

Here’s my dilemma: I go back on chemo in a week or so. I assume the edema will return. Perhaps the water lost by the new diuretic will counter the water gained by the chemo. I know it will be a delicate balancing act, but it’s something that needs to be done. I refuse to gain weight ever again -- even if it’s only water weight. I struggled my whole life with my weight and only in the past decade or so got it down and under control. It’s still a constant battle.

Listen: edema is not to be taken lightly. All that extra weight is bad for my heart (remember my heart surgery in 2015?) and other organs. Not to mention whatever damage is being done to my legs. I understand edema is often a companion to chemo treatment; but really, it’s not acceptable.

So, fingers crossed that I can establish a kind of edema detente, to keep up with the chemo yet not incur additional problems from the water weight. Right now, I’m cautiously optimistic.

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