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Do you have anxiety problems with one kidney?

starman
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2009

I had my right kidney removed in September 2009 and since then I have had some major anxiety problems. When I'm in a public place or sometimes at work I get very nauseous, lightheaded and nervous, bordering on a panic attack. My doctor gave me Xanax and that helps, but I hope I won't be dependent on this drug forever. I had no anxiety troubles before my surgery.

I was wondering if dealing with stress has become different for others who have had kidney cancer and if so how did you deal with it. Could this be physically connected to the loss of one kindey? I read that magnesium helps regulate stress and kidneys help regulate that mineral so I wonder if having one kidney has caused this trouble.

(By the way, I'v talked to my doctor about this and they can't explain what's happening. Like many doctors I thing they're unwilling to commit to a diagnosis. It's safer to be vague. That's why I'm posting here... just to see if others have experineced the same thing and to see what your doctor told you.)

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1654
Joined: Jan 2010

It has been 7 and 1/2 years since I had 2 kidneys and before than one was not working that well anyway. I have come across people who have gone longer with one kidney and they are doing fine. There are certain parts of your blood that test a little differently and GP's look at one kidney as being related to kidney disease which I do not think it is. I once fell on my left side and went to the emergency room and the doctor said that because I did not have a kidney there he did not have as much concern about internal bleeding. So far I have never been told that anyone requires two kidneys.

Bob O
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2009

Hi there, last May I had my right kidney removed. I contained a small but potentially deadly cancer. Five years previous to that I had a 90% heart blockage in my main heart artery. During that earlier experience I read that slightly over 90% of persons who had heart attacks, cancer, or strokes suffered from significant anxiety and or depression. Having the cancerous kidney removed was easier because i have come to much better terms with my mortality.

I deal with the stress using "meds" in moderation, exercise, and "mindfulness meditation" techniques pioneered by Jon Kabot Zinn (see amazon). Having a good sense of spirituality helps a lot. Having a loving partner to be with and talk with as well as a professional counselor are also helpful.

In a month, I will be having my 1 year major set of test, to check and see if I am cancer free. Until I see the results I try to practice what I have suggested to you. Yes, you bet I am scared , but that is just an acknowledgment that I am human.

My mother in law has lived 89 years with just 1 functioning kidney.

We have all been there, I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, Bob O

Bob O
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2009

that is " slightly over 50% (not 90%) of persons....."

Cris1
Posts: 1
Joined: May 2010

I had a right kidney removed at age 5 due to Wilms tumor in 1973. I am now 41 years of age. Ever since childhood, I could remember being sad most of the time. It really started at age 12. Jr high was not a piece of cake for me. After intense chemo and radiation for about a year my body was not the same. I walked differently and had a difficult time running but it never stopped me. My anxiety and stress really begun when the kids would make fun of me and I have to tell you it has never gone away. I never really had a difficult time finding boyfriends but found myself lying as to why i had this horrendous scar on my belly and why one side of my body was not right. I found as time went on the depression increased. It was not until I was pregnant with my son that it was like a punch to the stomach. I was not a cute pregnant woman, I was the woman who's belly was only big on one side, hence prganancy issues following where i landed in the hospital for 2 1/2 months, struggling for my life and the life of my beautiful son. I never had the opportunity to take my son home like most new mothers and connect as I had severe intestinal probalems and a bowel obstruction which I almost died. I thank god everyday that I am here but I cannot help but wonder if I will live into my elder years after reading many of these posts. My anxiety has icreased since the birth of my son now leaving me with a daily cocktail of LEXAPRO, TRADZADONE and Cymbalta. It has made me much more calmer but like everything, not a complete fix. I was diagnosed with PTSD as well as my hospital stay during preganacy and a combination of fear as to dying unfolded. I wish there was someone out there over the age of 80 who had Wilms tumor would respond with some positive insight. It is nice to know that your Mother in law is still going strong. I hope in time, meditaiton, yoga and physical therapy will help with my situation as i hope to not be on these meds much longer. Cris

zumomma
Posts: 6
Joined: Jul 2010

WOW-I had WT in 1973 at age 5, too! I so understand the feelings that you have written about. I have had some times of depression, struggled with poor self image due to what I consider a disfigured body(doesn't bother my husband or kids). I have found vit. D to be most helpful when I start feeling the blues. I have buried to micro preemies-and although I have never "gotten over" their deaths, I am at a place of contentment again. But the grief was real and that took some time to work through. I know I'm not over 80, but I worry about getting there sometimes! But, there are so many things that could get in the way, that I try not to think about the one kidney. I do tend to "stress' over what ifs... I do think that is a trend with many who have had cancer/long term illnesses. It is a reality that we have to face, but in truth it is not much different than the "other" people out there. Sometimes, it just seems hard to remember that. I'm hoping you are doing better now and have found the positive insight that you are looking for. I have found these survivor sights to be helpful, if for no other reason than to know that I am alone in all that I feel.
Zuma

Maddysnana
Posts: 1
Joined: Jul 2010

I have suffered from major depression for a long time and used many different meds. Some helped for a little while and others caused me a lot of problems. I see that
Trazadone is one of the meds you are taking please be careful I used this for a long time and it was not good. I lost grip on what was going on from day to day. I was like a zombie at times. Please beware of this. Also one of the worse drugs I had prescribed for me was Serquel I was totally our of touch with life. Would not remember eating things. driving places and important events in life. Marriages, deaths etc. I stopped using it 14 months ago and I am so happpy I did. Now at least I am aware of what day of the week and everything else happening in the world. I also lost 30 pounds as I was able to stay awake and be more active. I did not go on a diet or start exercising as physical medical problems prevent me for doing much. I just want you to be aware of these 2 drugs. I have spoke to others that have used these and they just like me slowly lost touch with a life. I was able to carry on conversations but as I stated before my memory was terrible they just made me somewhat numb not caring about what day it was what season or really anything. Good luck I still suffer greatly with my depression but at least now I now what day it is and what is going on with my life.

lbinmsp's picture
lbinmsp
Posts: 266
Joined: Jun 2006

I think it's scary knowing that you only have one kidney. I mean - there's no backup any longer. We all know people live long productive lives with one kidney but I think those of us who have had one removed due to cancer know that there are just no guarantees. I think periods of anxiety could be normal and using some good meds could help. Take care of yourself!

starman
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2009

Thank you for the comments everyone. I am trying to figure out if there is any physical reason for my anxiety that could be caused by having one kidney. I don't feel like it could be a psychological issue since I really don't have any major stress in my life. And I don't find myself dwelling on having one kidney... as has been said many times, lots of people live long with one kidney so that's not a big concern of mine. I'm just wondering if something is chemically "off" in my body. I took a B12 pill yesterday and that made me feel nice. I'm also trying some herbal teas. Would like to hear from others with one kidney who have had anxiety issues.

KCFighter's picture
KCFighter
Posts: 50
Joined: Jan 2006

My only anxiety is related to worry of recurrence. But ever since my right kidney was removed in 2006, I get flushed extremely easy. If I feel emberassed in the slightest and I look like a christmas light. When I excercise too. This is a BIG change from how I was before the kidney was removed.

I cannot find anything that links a physical cause & effect between removing a kidney & anxiety. But, everyone's bodys react differently and your body goes through changes when an organ is removed. You could ask your doctor to run a FULL hormone panel. Do a little research to see which hormones might link with anxiety to see if something changed chemically that is effecting you and make sure it's included in the tests he/she orders for you. Good luck.

Fran Chandler's picture
Fran Chandler
Posts: 29
Joined: Feb 2010

Anyone who has had cancer will have times of anziety. I had my right kidney,tube,cusp of the bladder and lymph nodes taken out Feb 10,2010 they also had to do a bowel resection at the same time. As the saying goes the Doctor felt he got it all. I had my June check-up with a ct scan and cysto and they found bladder cancer. It was not there when I had the surgery. Now I am going thru six bladder chemo treatments.Life is uncertain and only God knows how long a person has on this earth. It is up to us to get up each morning and do what you want to do and enjoy your family and friends. Take care and enjoy your life.Fran

opito bay
Posts: 8
Joined: Mar 2010

I certainly suffer from anxiety since the Kidney removal. Actually was about 3 weeks after the operation and I was feeling okay about everything, even a little lucky. Then I had my first anxiety attack or panic attack while in bed one night. I didn't know what was happening, thought I was having a heart attack although there was no pain involved. Had very bad night then off to the Doctor in the morning. He knew exactly what was happening and explained that while I was reasonably okay with having the operation, sub consciously I was not handling as well as I thought. I now believe that is the case and the main reason I was feeling okay is because I wouldn't let myself think about it. I am now on a medication that helps somewhat. Drinking Herbal teas and Vege juices help me as well. My symptoms are a very tight felling over my body, like being turned inside out. Try the herbal teas etc, they definitely help.
Mike

starman
Posts: 15
Joined: Sep 2009

Mike, your situation is somewhat similar to mine. Can you tell me what medications and herbal teas you use?

Digger95
Posts: 59
Joined: Jun 2010

For those of us who've had radical nephrectomy, remember that we not only lost a kidney in the process but the associated adrenal gland as well, which is responsible for producing the stress-related hormones. So while living with one kidney may not physically cause the symptoms described, perhaps living with one adrenal gland does? I've given this some thought as I've experienced similar issues, and wonder if maybe it takes some time for one adrenal gland to adjust to doing the job of two, gets overworked occasionally, or perhaps stress hormone management just gets out of whack entirely. Might it be a good idea to have our doctors check hormone status (cortisol, epinephrine, etc) periodically to evaluate the remaining adrenal gland?

Fran Chandler's picture
Fran Chandler
Posts: 29
Joined: Feb 2010

I had my right kidney,tube,cusp of bladder and lymphnodes removed on Feb 2010 but not the adrenal gland and believe me I have stress attacks too. They also found bladder cancer in June instead of a clean bill of health. They say it was not there in Feb. So a Cancer journey can really give you ups and downs. I just finished my 6 bladder treatments and will get the results Sept.9th. Maybe the ride will slow down a little. You just have to take each day at a time and be thankful for it. Take care and enjoy your life.
Fran

eweber
Posts: 5
Joined: Jul 2010

i had my kidney removed about 4 months ago... i understand the anxiety.... not knowing.. i feel it at times... and i feel for you... it's tough

Try to keep your mind of it and stay active.. that is what i do.. and i'm just starting all the follow ups.. and observations to make sure all stays good...

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1654
Joined: Jan 2010

I am 1 week short of 8 years being on 1 kidney. What good is it going to do if I worry and/or I am anxious about it? A lot of us are alive today with a lot more than not having a backup kidney to worry about. If having had Kidney Cancer, having the surgery and being short 1 kidney is the worst thing that happens to us considering what we went through then we have led and continue to lead a good and fruitful life. Lets worry about something more importante like who Ali picks on the Bachlorette. OK I went a little overboard, but lets not worry about something we can not control and that probably will not negatively impact our life.

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1654
Joined: Jan 2010

In reading some of the other comments I feel I may be taken as to glib with my why worry attitude. What I mean is that one kidney is something that I have lived with for 8 years as of today (my surgery was on August 1, 2002). From my experience the fact that I continue to live with one kidney does not cause anxiety. From reading some of the other posts there is a natural anxiety of having had kidney cancer that recurrances and the possibility of other cancers does in fact cause anxiety. I as well as each of you share those concerns and anxieties about our health. However I believe that this anxiety is not from the fact that all of us or nearly all of us only have one kidney left. Maybe this is a distinction without a difference, but this is my reason I am not being anxious as a result of only having one kidney.

Von55's picture
Von55
Posts: 57
Joined: Aug 2010

Hi Starman- not sure if you're still on this discussion! Wherever you are, I hope you're doing well & that your anxiety attacks have eased.
I am due to have my left kidney removed in less than a fortnight, and I too am concerned more about the physical effects of the removal of a major organ. I've been on meds for depression/anxiety for a couple of years, and I'm anticipating that there'll be additional psychological stress to deal with after the Op- that doesn't worry me much, as I've been lucky enough to develop patterns of meditation, guided imagery, and a vegetarian wholefoods lifestyle which help me manage my emotional state. I think it's a bit inaccurate to discount the effect that your organs have on your body as a bio-system,eg all the counselling in the world won't help a diabetic's bodily function if they abuse sugar- they will have a stress reaction. There are two kidneys for a reason, and although we can function well with just one, they are not like a appendix that has become more or less biologically redundant! I would like to know more about the biochemical, metaphysical & physical aspects of life with one kidney- though I suspect I'll have to journey further afield to find answers.
All the best to you!!!!

seena1802
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2010

Hi everyone, I am 52yr female, i had my right kidney removed on 10 May 2010, had an 8cm malignant tumor. Dr said was completely encapsulated and was totally removed. I felt fantastic for about 3 months, better than with 2 kidneys, then suddenly I started to worry about it turning up somewhere else, i feel lightheaded, nauseas, pretty sure i am having panic attacks. My last blood test showed a slight increase in creatnine, my GP said not to worry but i am worried. Does anyone know how long it takes for your remaining kidney function to stabalise? When I saw the surgeon 6 weeks post op he told me my kidney was functioning as if i still had two, does anyone know about the creatnine levels? Thanx in advance.

mroyal60
Posts: 12
Joined: Jun 2011

I lost right kidney at age 6 months 50 and 1/2 years ago.

I like to be the passenger in a car instead of the driver so my right kidney already gone would receive the blow better than the left one which is the left one too (pun)Of course
this only happens about 50% of the time as I have to drive many places.

I have had anxiety as a child because my Mom wanted to tell everyone she met my story. In Doc offices some people would pick up their kids and move to the other side of the room. It made me feel I could make people sick.

In Gym I was told to sit it out on some things. It resulted in major teasing and feeling different.

Here's a little rant and good to vent. I feel understood thanks to these message boards
and real people not text book

Many people give away kidneys but they don't deal with the feelings that we do.

Hey anyone depressed or otherwise get your thyroid checked. Read that radiation could affect this even though it was lower body radiation. I worked at a mental health clinic for years. The psy told me no antidepressant would work if thyroid is low.

I also know this to be true as I have thyroid problems.

ejneary's picture
ejneary
Posts: 64
Joined: Mar 2010

Yes. I had my right kidney removed (without adrenal gland) in Feb 2010. I was deeply depressed afterward at times and couldn't figure out why. There were times when I needed to just go and cry somewhere. There were times when I would be driving home (or worse, TO work) and start balling like a baby. There is definitely a physiological connection of your body and brain as well as the psychological issues that come with cancer, changed diet, changed lifestyle, reduction of stress, and the fact that your mortality gets shoved right on up in your face when you go through this. Your body must function differently with the filtering power of a kidney gone and that has to have an affect on everything. This combined with the issues of knowing that your body has changed in a major way....

Of course, we all worry about recurrence and reading the statistics on this cancer is really depressing in itself. I tried to live in denial until the beast returned in April. Now I am dealing with a whole new ballgame of depression, anxiety, panic attacks... Talking about it helps and I am in a group session at a wonderful place called the Cancer Support Community here in California:

http://www.cancersupportcommunity.net/index.html

I invite you to look for a similar group in your area if it exists. This is a great place to talk with other cancer patients in various phases of the journey and get their insight. I also feel it is a great place to try and give back as well as to receive. Both of those acts help psychologically.

Of course, when you are alone, at night, or whenever, there are times when you might not be able to control the anxiety, depression or panic and that's where the oncologist can help out with medication. A good healthy combination of the right medication, taken mindfully and carefully and group or singular therapy helps dramatically. It is much more difficult to wade through this alone and coming here to this message board is a great first step. I find though that even when I post and receive feedback, it isn't quite the same as sitting down with others that are in this battle too.

As far as doctors go, I am sure that they see the same thing in many patients and there are a lot of patients like me that minimize the depression side of losing a kidney. If a combination of diet, counseling and activity is not helping, it is time to ask for help from your doctor. They do have things that can help and are usually willing to make suggestions. Your wellness goes beyond simple physical wellness and must include the feelings that you are dealing with. My oncologist understood all too well and was able to give me medication to help with the panic attacks. Make sure you talk about options with yours.

John

fancyslice
Posts: 1
Joined: Sep 2011

I had my right kidney removed on May 23, 2011. I was nervous before the surgery as I think anyone would be. But, I was not having panic attacks or insomnia or extreme fear. When I woke up from the surgery I felt very strange. I could not take much stimulation. I had to ask my friend and sister-in-law to leave the room because it was just too much. I felt very delusional and somewhat paranoid. I got no sleep for the 4 days I was in the hospital. When my husband got me home I could not sit down for more than a count of 20 and could maybe lay down for 30 minutes. Otherwise I was up pacing the house continously all through the day and night. My husband kept asking why I couldn't relax and I kept saying if I knew I would stop. I got no sleep for about a month or more. The doctors were no help. They told me it was all psychological. One did say that oh maybe once the anesthsia and meds wear off from the surgery maybe it will get better. Which did not happen. I have been on Remeron for about 2 months and that finally allowed me to sleep. But, I am still having huge amounts of anxiety. I sometimes have to take Valium as well. They did not remove my adrenal gland. I still have both. The anxiety seems to be so physical. My psychologist thinks that maybe the surgery put me into immediate perimenapause. Even with the medication I am on I find it difficult to sit still and relax. It is going on 4 months now and I feel desperate at times. I am just wondering if you ever got any answers about your anxiety or found any relief that helped?

shari_79
Posts: 1
Joined: Jan 2012

I may be ckicked off this group because I am not a cancer survivor. I was however born with one kidney and adrenal gland. I didn't find this out til I was 48 so I didn't worry too much since I'd made it that far so why freak about about it now? it is now 7 yrs later, and I have had a lot of problems with weakne3ss, depression, anxiety...it's been crazy being so chronically ill. I strongly suspect it is because I have one adrenal. But I can'f find any info in on the net about it it. the closes I came was your group. I see a new GP in a week and am going to insist I see an endocrinologist. I remember when I first got sick I went for 6 weeks w/o sleep except for a minute or 2 here or there. I have taken so many medications it's ridiculous. Anxiiety disorder they say. But when I read about what all the adrenal gland does...wow. I cna't seem to find out if having one kidney (I have the right one, born w/o the left one) leads to adrenal problems.Any ideas where to look so I might have a chance of getting this new dr. to make a decent referral? I am so over this no life and struggling to get through.
Blessings to all of you who have gone through cancer with it's fear, surgery, chemo, radiation ad naseum. I don't have cancer but it's rampant...I've held many a hand. Cheers to all of you!!!!
Shari

Texas_wedge's picture
Texas_wedge
Posts: 2807
Joined: Nov 2011

Everyone is welcome here - in fact it's nice to be welcoming someone who doesn't have cancer for a change!

Just sorry you're having such struggles. When you see your new GP why not ask for advice on diet and exercise and, especially explore the possible benefit of CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy), all of which stand to offer better payoff than a big cocktail of medications. My apologies if you've already got these angles covered - just trying to come up with helpful ideas in addition to wishing you well, as everyone here will want to do.

mroyal60
Posts: 12
Joined: Jun 2011

I do have anxiety about my one kidney. It started in jr high. I was hit in the side passing by a locker being opened. After tha I was hyper attentive to lockers, car doors, any doors. Elbows and roughhousing. I did not like sitting bleachers at ballgames (elbows)

I have always had very ribcage pain that I wonder if it a side effect of radiation.
I have one relative that I cringe when I see the hug coming. I do not bruise from it but I can still feel the sqeeze for hours after. See my car plea and suggestion below:

Please ride in a car so that if you are back seat or middle seat passenger
that you have your missing kidney side to the middle of the car vs your good kidney by a door that can get smashed in a wredk and hurt you only good kidney.

I let my friend/s and family always drive me. As a passenger in the front seat this keeps my only kidney to the middle not by the door.

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