She had called to say that she had seen the note from the people who did my CT Scan last week. I was to consult with her about resuming Metformin, my diabetes medication. When I told her I had already resumed the meds, she was fine with it, but told me to stop using it until after I had had a specific blood test.
The blood test will show whether there's increased creatinine in my bloodstream, and whether the kidneys are at risk. All because of the dye I consumed during the CT scan.
According to Medicine.Net, "Creatinine is a chemical waste molecule that is generated from muscle metabolism. Creatinine is produced from creatine, a molecule of major importance for energy production in muscles. Approximately 2% of the body's creatine is converted to creatinine every day. Creatinine is transported through the bloodstream to the kidneys. The kidneys filter out most of the creatinine and dispose of it in the urine."
So, what's the problem with a CT scan as it relates to kidneys? According to the University of Michigan Health System (www.med.umich.edu), "serious kidney damage... can be caused by the iodine-containing 'dyes' that doctors use to enhance the quality of such (CT) scans."
"People whose kidneys are already vulnerable, including many older people and those with diabetes or heart failure, are the most at risk from contrast agents..." The University of Michigan concluded from their study in 2008 that, "Mild to moderate kidney damage occurs in one in four high-risk people who have CT scans, and in as many as one in ten people with normal kidney function. In some cases, it causes acute kidney failure."
Dr. Miller looked at my last blood tests, and concluded that I have normally-working kidneys at this point, the point before the CT scan, that is. I swung by Lifelong this morning, picked up the lab paperwork she had prepared for me, and got to LabCorp by 9am. At midnight last night, as I was falling asleep, I remembered that I could make a LabCorp appointment, and so I did. The whole world shows up in that tiny little waiting room between 8am and 10am, because they're all fasting.
The photo shown is a CT scan of normal kidneys, top-down view.
So, the blood test is done. I am to resume Metformin this afternoon. Dr. Miller will call me if the lab results show there's a problem (probably in a couple of days). I tell you, if the cancer doesn't kill you, the tests will. Amazing.