They are not something you think about most of the time – your heart, lungs and liver, your brain even your bladder and especially your stomach take a more prominent role in your mind if your anything like me.
Kidneys are import though, and as important as all those more famous organs.
They are filters which clean your blood extract the toxins which then pass into the urine whilst most of the water and good salts are recycled back into the body.
Most of you have two kidneys, one on each side of your body and located near the back of your torso in what are called the right and left upper quadrants.
One thing I have discovered in all of the Myeloma crisis, is that
- I only have one kidney
- I have never had two
- It is larger than your average kidney and does the job of both,
- It’s more common than you think – my wife also has one working kidney and a tiny residual that does nothing – we discovered that during a routine ultrasound when pregnant with my son – so it’s obviously a hidden attractant too 😏
The kidney has tiny little tubes threaded throughout (over a million of them) called nephrons these tubes regulate the salts in the body absorbing and releasing them into the blood or urine as needed.
One of the many problems associated with Myeloma is that the Paraprotein produced collects in the nephron, blocking it and reducing its function – so that salts aren’t filtered properly and the special cells which line the nephron die or are shocked into dormancy. Either way they take time to recover and depending on the severity of the attack they might never fully recover.
The chemotherapy will help here but it will also be slow – lots of fluid needed to flush the kidneys and prevent the build up of chemicals like creatinine which can be dangerous in larger quantities.
For me the major problem seems to be in the build up of Potassium salts which are too high and run a risk of heart attack – this will need to be controlled before I can leave hospital and it’s being rather problematic at the moment.
More about the kidney here
I don’t mind admitting here I’m a bit of a Doctor Who fan – the newest incarnation played by Peter Capaldi was introduced to the world with his take on kidneys