Mar 29, 2012 - 4:10 pm
I posted earlier that my urologist had once told me that I would eventually need a CT scan with dye. I wrongly assumed he meant that he would order one as part of my follow-up. But what he actually meant, I have learned, was that someday, for another medical reason, I would probably need one. He has no intention of ordering a CT scan because, he says, it was a radical nephrectomy. With my pathology report, there is no reason to believe it has spread so a CT scan with dye is not necessary. However, since the surgery, I have developed a weird circulatory and blood pressure problem. Blood is pooling in my feet and my blood pressure changes when I change positions (i.e., sitting, standing, lying down). The highest blood pressure is when I lay down, but even then it is only around 125 over 82 or so. When I sit it goes to around 115 over 75 and when I stand it really goes down. Once it was 80 over 58. That scared me. On rare occasions I get dizzy because of this. Some people pass out. The BP problem is called orthostatic hypotension. Originally I was told this was a side effect of having taken my blood pressure medication for so many years. Anyway, not to bore everybody, after a lot of tests, they have run out of ideas as to what is causing these problems and have come up with two possibilities: some (Latin word) vein or something in the stomach may have become restricted due to the nephrectomy; or there is a cancer (renal cell or otherwise) in my stomach blocking the blood flow. They are really grasping at straws, I think. I’m told that the pooling of blood should not cause any long-term serious problems but there is that possibility of a cancer. I’ve decided that a CT scan with dye is not worth the risk to my remaining kidney, even though on a nephrologist’s advice they were going to give me some kind of medicine for a couple of days before and a couple of days after the scan to lessen the risk. That didn’t reassure me. So after my urologist said that from his perspective I didn’t need a CT scan with dye, my doctor and I agreed that I would go for a CAT scan tonight using that distasteful barium stuff and see if anything shows up. The CT scan will be ineffective for the restrictive vein possibility but it could possibly show a cancer. When they first diagnosed my kidney cancer, it was after one of these CT scans with barium. It was fuzzy so a scan with dye was done hours later and it confirmed there was a mass. So we are working on that same scenario. If something shows and it is unclear what it is, I guess I’ll go back for a CT scan with the dye. If nothing shows we are going to forget about the CT scan with dye completely. In the meantime, my feet are red and blue and I don’t have to worry about high blood pressure. Orthostatic hypotension can lead to heart problems eventually. I am just hoping that they can come up with another cause where I don't need that CT scan.