Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life Insurance Premium Increased

I have often wondered what was going to happen the next time I applied for health or life insurance, and I just found out. I had a life insurance policy with a fixed monthly rate in place guaranteed for 10 years before I agreed to the genetic testing that came back positive for PKD. The policy was just up for renewal this year and I was required to release my medical records in addition to participating in a medical exam.

Even though the exam showed that my kidneys were functioning well within normal my insurance premium was still increased by 400% above the rate I was originally quoted based on my age, nonsmoker, etc. Yes, that 400%

The insurance broker even went on to say that “I would be surprised” at what they can pull up on a national database that shows my medical history for things discussed or tested even if they came back negative. While this information is supposed to be protected as confidential between a doctor and patient, you are required to sign a medical release when applying for a premium. It is bad enough that they increase your risk factor for things that “could” be a problem even though they are not at the moment, but I was very disturbed that I was also being “dinged” for asking about things that came back negative.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Annual Check Up 2010

I finally took care of the lab work and ultrasounds that I had been carrying around since June 2009, and then met with my nephrologist, Dr. Helms, in January 2010. (Ok, 6 months is not great, but at least I finally got it all done.)

My blood work was ok for the kidney function, but still high on my blood sugar. My blood sugar has not been consistent so my doctor is now asking for a regular monthly lab work for one year to ensure that everything is ok. She explained that sudden spikes in sugar can be dangerous as well and wants to be sure that it remains stable. I used to wonder when someone would arrive at the lab and the receptionist would refer to a “standing order.” I always associated that with the elderly subset or someone “really” sick, so I am not sure how I feel about having my own “standing order” now. I am also wondering how I will manage to get to a lab once a month when it took me 6 months to get there the first time, but I am optimistic that I will make this a priority.

My ultrasound was another story. When I arrived, they made me wait another 20 minutes past my appointment time. Now that might not sound like a very long time, but when your bladder is near bursting when you arrive, 20 extra minutes is just torture. When they finally started the ultrasound, I thought it was odd that two technicians were present, but hey, I was just glad they were finally starting and did not think to ask any questions that might delay the process that would allow me to finally void my bladder. A few minutes into the ultrasound, the main Tech began discussing what she was doing with the 2nd tech, which of course took longer. I was a little confused over what was happening, but was just glad when she said I could finally void my bladder before they finished the rest of the ultrasound. When I returned, the main tech left, and the 2nd tech took over. Long story short, the 2nd tech was in training. The second tech took forever and forgot to tell me when it was ok to breath in between images. He then reviewed each of the images with the first tech before they told me it was ok to go. Normally, I would not mind allowing an intern to help with a procedure, but I would appreciate if they had notified me in the beginning. I also did not feel confident with the whole process in the end. When the written report arrived, there were some comments listed that referred to changes in the cysts, but that these could be the result of a “tech error”. I think that was their way of saying that the tech in training really did not know what he was doing without assuming any direct fault. Dr. Helms is now asking that I go to a different medical imaging facility and repeat the ultrasound to ensure that she is getting accurate information. Ugh, another painful bladder episode to come.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not Such a Little Girl Anymore

I realized while viewing my blog recently that Amanda is not so much a little girl anymore. She has grown a lot since I posted the original pictures.

When this journey into the discovery of PKD first began, Amanda was still in middle school...she is now a Senior in High School.

In light of the fact that the doctors were originally seeking cancer when they discovered that she actually had PKD and Cutis Verticus Gyrata, I am VERY thankful to see her grow and mature into a young women.

While various symtoms of her health issues plague her on occasion, she is doing extremely well in school and now coaches competitive gymastics in the afternoons.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Keeping Up with your Health

Am I the only one out there that seems to have trouble keeping up with the important things in life?

I seem to make time to keep up with everything except my health....the most important thing of all. Without good health, everything else would slide.

I received blood test orders and paperwork for my anual ultrasound and mamogram back in June and I still have not even made an appointment.

I will make a point to get these scheduled.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Annual Checkup with Nephrologist

I am in the process of my annual checkup with the Nephrologist.

Kidney function was good, but my blood sugar is getting higher with each blood test. Most recently, it was 118, which is well into the pre-diabetic range. I guess it’s time for a low glycemic diet.

I still need to schedule my annual renal ultrasound…hopefully nothing has changed or increased in size. Trying to fit all of these medical tests into a fulltime work schedule is getting tricky

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What I am Thankful For - Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving!

With the Turkey in the oven and a few quiet moments in my house before the family rush, I actually had a moment to update my blog. I decided to start out with what I am thankful for this since it is "Thanksgiving."

I am thankful that my recent follow-up with the Nephrologist only revealed low sodium and potassium in the lab work. I don't recall if she explained the low potassium other than to say she was mailing me a potassium diet. She did say that the low sodium is caused by the PKD though. For some people with a Kidney Diseases, the kidney sends out mixed signals to the brain that limit your absorption of salt. Since I don't absorb salt properly, my blood was pretty low in sodium and she prescribed sodium bicarb pills to take daily. We will be redoing my lab work in February to see if that is working so while most people are to avoid salt, I am actually taking a sodium pill. Other than that, the kidney function was doing pretty well.

I am thankful that Amanda is doing well right now. She just had her annual ultrasound and lab work done on Tuesday, 11/24. Rather than just the annual renal ultrasound, they ordered a full abdominal ultrasound. I hope to get the results of that on Monday, but the tech did tell her that the cysts had not grown that much since last year, so that is good news. She will be meeting with her Nephrologist on December 2, so I will post a follow-up on how that goes after the appointment.

I am thankful that my son Michael has fully recovered from his skull fracture without surgery. He did wear a neck brace for a while, but that has now been removed. He is now showing me protective head gear to wear while playing soccer and begging to return as soon as possible...ah youth! I told him that while he was physically healed, I was not emotionally healed and to give me a little more time.

I am thankful that not only did I find a new job this year in an economy that is laying off rather than hiring, my new employer was also very understanding, amazing, and supportive while Michael was in the hospital. Not only did they pay me for part of time I was off even though I was still within my first 90 days and not eligible, staff members that barely new me came to visit us and sent care packages of food while he was still in ICU.

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Sacramento PKD Walk and a Family Emergency

Well, where to start......

My family had planned to attend the Sacramento PKD Walk and did raise funds for research. However, we never did make it to the Walk.

My son Michael plays Goalie for his Soccer Team. During Saturday’s game, he dove for the ball at the same time several other members were running for it. Not completely sure whether he was kicked in the process or as the team members collided and fell if someone didn't land on him, but the end result was a skull fracture.

We had a very scary weekend. Immediately following the injury, he went into a Grand mal seizure, experienced a loss of consciousness, and then a loss of vision. An ambulance strapped him to a board and transported him to a local trauma center. After an initial CT Scan of his brain revealed the skull fracture and possible bleeding on the brain, he was transported to Children's Hospital in Oakland Ca where a pediatric neurosurgeon was called and waiting for his arrival. They did another CT Scan and decided the bleeding appeared to have stopped and surgery may not be necessary. He was placed in ICU for observation for 48 hours. We thought he would be released on Monday avoiding surgery only to have the neurosurgeon discover some possible damage to his neck. A MRI and a 3rd CT Scan was reviewed by a special team that decided surgery may be avoidable so long as he wears a special neck brace. They finally released him to go home tonight (Tuesday, September 23) with a series of medical appointments for follow-up

Obviously we missed the Walk....maybe next year???