It’s been awhile since I’ve posted because Kali’s been doing so amazingly, but seeing as how Thanksgiving is upon us, I thought I should take this opportunity to give the latest update, and express just how grateful we all are for her, her doctors, and our fortune.
Kali had a full check up at ASEC last week, and the results were amazing. I didn’t expect them to be bad, since Kali’s clinical symptoms are non-existent at the moment, and have been for awhile, but still–it was so great to have it confirmed.
They did ECGs and a full kidney panel (called an ISTAT). They opted not to do x-rays because of her current lack of symptoms. For that type of check up, I have to leave her there for a couple of hours while they do their work on her, and then come back so I can have a chat about the findings with the doctors.
So I came back to get her, and once I paid and everything, they ushered me into a room to wait for Dr. Saelinger. She came bearing Llama and a huge smile.
“Well, I’m very pleased today. I don’t want to say her heart is shrinking, but it’s pretty much static from where it was last time. And her kidney levels are much-improved. They are barely elevated–they are on the high end of NORMAL.”
She beamed. I beamed–guardedly, of course.
She said, “I know it was so hard a few months ago. I know you were questioning quality of life, and all that, but you stuck it out. It was hard, but you did it, and it worked. I was telling my interns about this and showing them Kali’s charts as proof that sometimes, a Lasix vacation can really work.”
She was right. It had been terrifying. Remember, how we felt like Kali was surely dying? Remember how I tried to negotiate her meds because I was afraid to start them up again?
Well, it turns out Saelinger and crew were right. And for that, I’m so very happy and grateful. Here’s rundown of where we are now and where we were:
Mitral Valve Disease
11/20/13: STATIC, MODERATE
6/5/13: Moderate to advanced
3/4/13: Progressive, moderate
4/30/12: Mild, well-compensated
11/20/13: BUN 30, creatinine 1.4
08/21/13: BUN 56, creatinine 1.8
08/08/13: BUN 108, creatinine 2.1
08/07/13: BUN >140, creatinine 3.3
08/06/13: BUN 145, creatinine 3.0
07/29/13: BUN: 53, creatinine 2.0
07/19/13: BUN 58, creatinine 2.6
Looking back, I sort of wish we had gotten an explicit warning–something like, “now, it’s common with heart medications that we see kidney distress, so if you see these signs, they are very serious, but we can address them and fix it if you get her in right away.” They always give us sort of generic guidelines in our paperwork at the end of our appointments that include symptoms to watch out for, but I think if I had heard somebody say those things to me ahead of time, I wouldn’t have gotten so panicky. For a layperson, having that (and maybe what kidney failure looks like and that it can be treated/addressed) spelled out could really help–so I’m saying it now to you all:
If your pet is being treated for heart failure, it is NOT unlikely that it could send them into kidney failure. If they DO go into kidney failure, it’s serious, but treatable if caught in time. You might remember that kidney failure looks like this:
- Total loss of appetite, possible stopping of drinking
- Not going to the bathroom much or at all
- Severe weakness/lethargy
- Overall malaise
So…when you start your regimen, be on the lookout for this and prepare for quick response. And know that it might feel terrifying and like it’s the end, but that it is possible for your pet to bounce back–even though it seems IMPOSSIBLE at the time.
Since the last update, Kali’s enjoyed jazz at the park, a boat trip, running around like a crazy person at Rosie’s Dog Beach, and lots more. The only thing I’ve noticed is that the weather here in L.A. has finally turned, and she’s been shivering. She’s usually the hot one, so it’s unusual to see. That’s okay, though–Beth and Leslie lent us some great sweaters that she loves to put on and wear to fight the chill.
She’s looking forward to hosting our annual Thanksgiving dinner here at the house, where she’ll no doubt schmooze and score many tasty morsels. There was a time we didn’t even think she’d be alive on this day, let alone be in shape enough to enjoy it.
Kali has made an incredible comeback. Dr. Edstrom, Dr. Saelinger, and all of their support staff is to thank. Kim and I give a tremendous amount of thanks for their hard work, their dedication, and their knowledge. We also give a heaping bowl of thanks to you all for the well-wishes, prayers, thoughts, and support. We know you want Kali to succeed as much as we do.
We know not what is up ahead, but we know what is right in front of us–a healthy, happy Kali who wolfs down her food, prances through the neighborhood, and zooms around at the beach. We know not how much longer we have, but we have gotten so much more than we thought we would. Thank you.