This week I was faced with a moral dilemma. One I thought I would not have to face for a few months…informing one of my many doctors of the new treatment plan I had created for myself, and how I had stopped taking all my medications and steroids altogether.
My next appointment was with my Nephrologist (my kidney doctor) in November. I was hoping by that time I would feel a lot healthier and fully adjusted to the natural medicine; where I could be sharing only all the positive changes that have come about from my natural approach. Unfortunately I received a call from her earlier this week informing me that my latest lab test results showed a large amount of protein in my urine. To give you a bit of background information, my lupus affects the lining of my kidneys-this is called nephritis. In a normal functioning kidney it filters out strictly waste like urea and ammonia. Unfortunately in my case with nephritis, the walls of my kidneys become inflamed where they begin to excrete needed protein from the body into the urine. Loss of necessary protein due to nephritis can result in several life-threatening symptoms. Since discovering my nephritis I have been on medication to help build the lining of the kidney,and reduce the amount of protein being excreted. So when I received this call from my Nephrologist telling me my protein levels were high again, I was deeply saddened. I had stopped my medications for only two months and my body was already telling me I needed them to function properly. My doctor asked me if everything was alright and if I felt well. I was completely caught off guard by her phone call-I was not mentally prepared to tell her about all the changes I had made, and how I had stopped taking my kidney medication. I was scared to find out how she might react; whether she thought I was absolutely crazy for doing this, or just irresponsible and stupid for stopping my medications.
I didn’t say a thing.
She wanted me to repeat the lab work again, and if the results were the same she was going to change my kidney medication. I left the phone conversation feeling scared, disappointed, disheartened, and clueless as to what I should do. Do I tell her about the new treatment plan? And if I do, what if she tells me my nephritis is getting worse and that I need to take my medication? I was not prepared to give up on my natural medicine just yet. I felt terrible for lying and not being honest right then and there, but I was not prepared to tell her my secret.
I gave myself a few days to recoup and think about how I was going to deliver this information to her. I wanted to be prepared to explain, educate, and prove to her why this natural approach was the right thing for me to do. When I finally had the conversation with my doctor, I have to say I was completely thrown off by how supportive she was. She explained to me that it wasn’t uncommon for Lupus patients in my age range to be looking at alternative medicine knowing that they would be on medications for the rest of their lives. She thanked me for being honest with her and having the courage to tell her. She supported my decision and wanted to follow me more closely in the next few months. She said that currently she isn’t too concerned about me getting off my kidney medication, if I really wanted to. She is more worried about my future, and what no kidney medication could manifest to five-ten years down the road. She is concerned that if damage is done to my kidneys because of the absence of medication, it may not be reversible. She also mentioned how my state of health five-ten years from now will dictate if I am able to conceive and healthy enough to carry a baby. Her last point really resonated with me.
It has always been a dream of mine to be a mother. I knew at a very young age that I wanted to have babies and lots of them! If I were to find out in the future I was not healthy enough to carry a baby-I don’t know what I would do. I would be beyond devastated that the great gift of life that women could give, I could not. There is no way I can imagine my life and future without kids. A lot has been on my mind this week, whether or not to continue my journey knowing what my Neprologist said. I will be seeing her in two weeks to discuss what the effects of abstaining from my kidney medication might look like, and a new treatment plan that I will morally feel good implementing.