Scared: In a few short weeks I will have... - Early CKD Support

Early CKD Support

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In a few short weeks I will have to have one of kidneys removed, it's operating at less than 9% and is causing other issues. I know that we can live on one kidney but that one is at 90%. I'm scared of not only the surgery but what the future holds. I also don't know what to expect on recovery time, etc.

8 Replies

Hello suzell

I can do understand your nervousness about having your one kidney removed but I hope my experience may help to reassure you.

I had my right kidney removed more than 60 years ago and I never looked back after a childhood of illness due to the impaired kidney. In those days it was seen as very major surgery with a long incision from front to back whereas nowadays it is done routinely and often by keyhole surgery.

In recent years, I have met several people who have had more up-to-date keyhole surgery, two of them in their 70’s, and all have done/are doing extremely well, with problem-free recovery time.

Your remaining kidney function at 90% sounds extra reassuring, and should easily take over the work of two, perhaps even getting stronger without being held back by an inferior one in your body.

I do hope that helps to allay your fears, albeit a natural reaction to anyone facing surgery of whatever kind. Lots of best wishes for the future.

Hi suzell56 I too had to have one kidney my left removed, to me it was a massive relief after being misdiagnosed for over 40 years+, and being in pain all that time ( Too long a story to bother you with now), I was only in hospital for 4 days when it was finally removed, yes the wound was sore for a while as any wound is but it was bearable., and once everything healed I felt so much better. I had to take it very easy , no lifting or stretching for a while , but you must keep gently moving around. My scars have almost gone now, I had keyhole surgery and it was just a couple of very small wounds. Stay brave you will get through this, it is not as scary as we think it will be, and you will feel so much better afterwards , Good luck

suzell56 in reply to jillab

TYSM for this information, that's what I needed!

Hello. I had my left kidney removed (what is sometimes called keyhole surgery, with small incisions on front of abdomen). It was in 2017 at which time I was 69.5 years old. It was removed due to a cancer tumor. Even with the tumor my egfr was in the "normal" range. I was unaware, as you state, that it is possible to determine kidney function for each individual kidney. But somehow you were tested, pre surgery, and it was somehow determined your remaining kidney is at 90%. That is EXCELLENT. I mean I doubt we can expect that any organ in our body, as we age, is at 100%.The morning after my surgery it was determined my remaining kidney was producing a egfr of 35%. BUT BUT BUT, was this my true kidney function?? NO! egfr is simply put a formula that takes Creatinine levels, age, sex, etc., and see's how well that kidney is removing the creatinine from our body. Can we expect that an "elderly" person like myself will have one kidney doing the work of two and removing the same amount of creatinine as 2 used to? But yet every other aspect of my tests (urine, blood, ultrasound, CT) was well within NORMAL.

Well in the months (almost 4 years) my kidney has remained in the upper 30's to low 40's. I lead a completely NORMAL life style. I make sure I don't eat too much protein and drink normal amounts of water. But my energy level, lifestyle, joy of life, has not changed one bit. I do not even think that I have just one kidney. It doesn't enter my mind.

Of course you are nervous. This is NOT a minor operation. The first moments upon waking in the hospital room post surgery were painful, but I was connected to a "morphine machine" which I could push a button and it would administer morphine to reduce the pain. Now the pain was NOT NOT NOT severe. It was much more abdominal pain that related to the area of the kidney. That first day I spent in bed. the next morning they had me up and walking, independently up and down the hallways. No morphine. I was slow but it was not terrible at all. The worst was the inability to bend over to tie my shoes or put on socks. Or to get in an out of the car. But here too it was not too painful at all. Third day I was sent home. I live alone. I cared for myself. Shower, cooking, etc. My movements remained slow but to simply sit in a chair, or go to bed, there was no need for any opioids, etc. After a week or 2 it was like it never happened.

Now, the cancer from the original tumor had spread to my pelvis and spine. It ate 2 vertebrae almost completely away. I needed emergency spinal surgery after the kidney removal. It was also in my hip. One month after spinal fusion surgery I had hip replacement.

These were major surgeries. But here too, today's medical procedures are simply amazing. I was home after each surgery in just 3 days. Of all the surgeries the hip was the worst and longest to recover from. AGAIN, the kidney removal was the "easiest" of all. Do not get me wrong, it is not great, but you are going to be amazed how much "easier" this surgery and recovery are compared to what you aniticpate. I'd be my life savings you will be fine almost immediately, and long term with your other kidney at 90% there is NOTHING to be concerned about.

suzell56 in reply to RickHow

TYSM and you will be in my prayers.

Just to add to the other reassuring posts - I am 77 and had my left kidney removed when I was 17 - 60 years ago and I can honestly say that until recently I never had any problems whatsoever. In those days 1961, it was a major operation and I had a brilliant surgeon and the advice he gave after the op was : use salt sparingly, don't eat anything with a lot of pips and do not take asprin. 50 years on I had some tests done and my GFR was 85 ! I believe my present CKD may have been caused by High blood pressure..... so keep an eye on yours and I'm sure you'll be fine . Good luck

hi my right kidney was removed nearly 30 years ago which was major surgery is only in recent years my kidney function as declined but it is due to hereditary factors and it is stable at present at 3b stage.

Me too! 30 years ago when i was 17, i had a full right nephrectomy to remove a non functioning kidney full of infection. It was 9 inches of hell back then, and it took 10 years for the nerves to grow back for sensation on my skin. But laparoscopic surgery will be so much better!

One kidney. It will actually grow a bit to compensate for the removed kidney. You will be considered to have CKD (at least in the US) and get yearly function tests, but it should just be routine. Don’t overdo nitrates and nitrites, don’t take any NSAIDS, drink water to stay hydrated, not tooooo much protein, and watch seeds which can be hard to breakdown.

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