Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Chapter 3, in Which We Are Given a New Diagnosis and Again Told That There Is Nothing To Be Done About It

Some of you may have been following my saga of ultrasounds which seem to be turning up some indication that there might be something wrong with our little Statesman that we can't really do anything (morally legitimate) about.

Well, the third in the series came on Friday. In addition to the bilateral hydronephrosis (dilation of the renal pelvis), which is stable, it appears that some rather large cysts have developed above the right kidney. The cysts do not appear to be communicating with the renal pelvis, which leads the doctor to believe that the baby might have unilateral multicystic dysplastic kidney. Usually, with this condition, the kidney on the affected side functions minimally, if at all, and it may eventually lose function all together.

Unfortunately, it's looking like the baby will grow up with only one functional kidney. Fortunately, it's looking like the baby will grow up with a functional kidney!

Apparently, people with only one kidney have a normal life expectancy. In fact, a very few of you may be walking around with only one right now without even knowing it. My sister-in-law told me a story about a man that her mother worked with: He took his son's high school class on a field trip to the hospital to show them where he worked. When he demonstrated ultrasound to them, using his son as an example, he discovered, for the first time, that his son's one kidney was alone!

Other good news from the ultrasound is that the amniotic fluid level is good and growth is good, which means that at least one (if not both) kidney(s) is/are functioning well enough to keep him healthy. I'm still, of course, hoping that this extensive imaging will turn out to be smoke and mirrors, this problem will go away all together, and my Statesman will have a kidney that he can give away in the future, but I am very relieved to know that the worst case scenario is...well, definitely something we didn't really need to know about, possibly ever.

The maternal-fetal specialist also told me that she would not make any special treatment recommendations on the basis of the diagnosis, meaning that pregnancy and delivery will likely be unaffected. The baby will probably receive an ultrasound after birth, which I don't have a problem with. Some pediatric urologists recommend surgery to remove the affected organ, but others recommend not messing with it until some other symptom indicates a need to remove it (repeat UTIs, or malignancy most likely).

We'll meet with a pediatric urologist to discuss more about what this means for the Statesman's life in the long-term, but it sounds like it's more important to file it away in the memory banks and just bring up if there's a problem or need for treatment in the future.

We'll keep you posted on this increasingly unimportant development. :)

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