Life, Training

Kidney Biopsy Reading

February 17, 2017 • By

I had my biopsy results this past Friday and got as good as news as any.  My nephrologist said the pathologist found ischemic acute tubular necrosis … this sounds bad, but is the most common cause of renal failure and is reversible!

What the biopsy was like: I probably should have put this in the previous post on this but figured I’d do it here because I have been questioned about it. I had a percutaneous biopsy done. During those, the kidney is found using a sonogram, x-ray images, or both. Once they found the biopsy site, the nurse marked my skin and cleaned where the biopsy needle was to be inserted. I received a local anesthetic to numb the area where the biopsy needle entered and was told I would be kept “very comfortable.” I passed out, haha (not from being scared but from being drugged – I was very comfortable). So anything that happened after that point is from what the nurse told me afterwards. Apparently they pusheed the needle through my skin to my left kidney (I have no idea how I held my breath for 45 seconds). They took two needle passes to get enough of a kidney sample for diagnosis. After which, they removed the needle and placed a bandage over the needle entry site. It all took about 45 minutes. I had to remain in the hospital for 2 hours to check if my kidney was a bleeding risk. After that, I was good to go home and rest for 24 hours.


Diagnosis: ATN occurs when there is death of the renal tubular cells, which may happen when the cells do not get enough oxygen and blood flow. The doctor didn’t seem too concerned and said it was best possible outcome outside of finding nothing. It is creatinephosphokinase related but my levels were not high enough to be rhabdomyolysis. There are several causes (more than these but those of which may be why it’s happening to me) could be: dehydration, low blood pressure or excessive exercise. Oh and my anemia is back (anemia and kidney failure are often concomitant). So he wants me to exercise a little less, hydrate a little more, and take my iron religiously and redo lab work and other tests in 3 months. I can’t tell you how happy I am and thankful for all of your thoughts and prayers. Oh and guess what? I can have a drink!!! 41 days without alcohol was major willpower for me, and I don’t excessively drink!

Symptoms of kidney failure: people have been asking me this and honestly I had no idea. I was fatigued, my runs weren’t fabulous, and I was starting to get the aches and pains associated with increasing my mileage but that’s normal for me. I wasn’t feeling awful or anything. I had remarked to Dustin a few times about how I was peeing like a pregnant woman, and in my opinion it didn’t smell very good, and I wasn’t outputting alot of urine (TMI, I know). My best suggestion to see if you are healthy is just to explain to your doctor that you want a workup. The ideal way to check for kidney disease is to get your bloodwork done shortly after a hard run/race to see if your creatinine phosphokinase levels are elevated. And not just slightly. Like, warning bell high. And then have them checked again within a few days (CPK readings should drop). The comparison can show doctors if something is indeed going on and they’ll be looking at your glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) and BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen). If all of this seems like gibberish and you aren’t worried in the slightest, then disregard. But I just thought I’d share in case you were.

So now the plan is to keep doing what I love, just training SMARTER, not harder. I also have to consider the fact that my health will always take precedence over “winning” or “PRing” because I want to keep this up well into my 80s! So although I love goal setting and working hard, I need to be kind to my body and take care of it (like I preach to you all). We shall see what lies ahead. I hope you’ll follow along!


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