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Post-Nephrectomy Symptom - Swollen Hands

todd121
Posts: 629
Joined: Dec 2012

I'm about 16 months post nephrectomy. Starting about 1 year out after my nephrectomy, I started experiencing swollen hands off and on. I used to have it when I'd be out walking around for like an entire day, but never had a problem with that just sitting around working or during a normal day. Today I had lunch with a friend of mine I met at a cancer support group who is about 1 year out from his nephrectomy (also RCC). He's 10 years younger than me (42) and said he's been experiencing this too. Just sometimes his hands swell for a day or two or for a few hours for no reason. He never had it before either. He has good kidney function even with his one remaining kidney (creatinine like 1.1). My kidney function is not great (my creatinine was 1.7 the last time it was measured in early February). My other kidney was smaller than the one with the tumor, so I think that's why my kidney function isn't great in the remaining kidney.

I've asked my doctors about it, but nobody seems to know what that is.

Has anybody else noticed this symptom post nephrectomy? Does anybody have an explanation for it? Is it a sign of poor kidney function? I try and drink extra water when I have this symptom, but it doesn't seem to help. It seems to clear up on its own. I haven't noticed anything trigger it (like alcohol or extra salt), but perhaps I'm not paying close enough attention. I just thought to ask after having lunch with him.

I have slightly elevated BP, and take a beta blocker. I thought it might be that, but I was having this problem a couple of months before that and my friend doesn't have high BP and has good kidney function, so now I'm thinking it's something related to the single kidney. We've also noticed that it's worse in the left hand than in the right hand. It swells enough that it's painful to close the hands (the joints ache when I close my hands or push between my knuckles with my fist closed). We've both had our right kidneys removed.

Thanks for any insight.

Todd

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1617
Joined: Jan 2010

Todd,

 

It could be one of a hundred things and may or may not be related to your Kidney. Over the years I have had swollen ankles as my ankles retain water. My Nehrologist put me on a water pill or dieretic.

 

Maybe this helps, maybe not.

 

 

Icemantoo

 

todd121
Posts: 629
Joined: Dec 2012

Thanks iceman. I was going to chalk it up to my high BP or age, until I talked with my friend today and he mentioned having this issue and having really been bothered by it as well. He's much younger than me. On the other hand, both of us are a little overweight. Perhaps it's related to that.

It does appear that something like this is very hard to diagnose. And, of course, things that come and go are very hard to diagnose. It's never there when I'm in the doctor's office. :)

I'm getting a full checkup next month with blood work. I haven't had blood work off the everolimus in over 15 months, so I'm really curious how my kidney is functioning.

I have the thing with my ankles too. That was like that before my nephrectomy, so I've not been concerned with it (and it's mild). This hand thing is more annoying because my hands hurt and I have trouble doing things when they are swollen.

Best,

Todd

Srashedb
Posts: 214
Joined: Dec 2013

everytime my husband has gone to his oncologist and even the urology surgery too will ask if he has swollen arms, hands, legs or feet. He hasn't but it must mean something related to renal cancer.

Sarah

Srashedb
Posts: 214
Joined: Dec 2013

everytime my husband has gone to his oncologist and even the urology surgery too will ask if he has swollen arms, hands, legs or feet. He hasn't but it must mean something related to renal cancer.

Sarah

rainsandpours's picture
rainsandpours
Posts: 124
Joined: Apr 2013

Yes I get this too.  I have high BP and I'm on meds including a diurhetic.  It doesn't help.  I cant wear my rings either.  Most days I can tell my hands will puff up because my legs get achy first then the Cankles appear.  Ugh.

 

My best guess is it's a form of Lymphedema.  Our entire body goes through so much trauma, and fluids get redirected after the surgery.

 

To note:  I had horrible swelling prior to finding ouit I had cancer.  Flying caused me to puff up like the Michelin Man.  I spent whole vacations barefoot or in flip flops because even my loosest shoes no longer fit.

 

My GP increased my diurhetic dose, but that never helped.  Only lying down for a few hours did.

 

a_oaklee
Posts: 176
Joined: Nov 2013

 Everytime we see our oncologist they ask about swelling too.  My husband does not have any swelling post the nephrectomy.  Prior to the nephrectomy he was swollen.  He was supposed to check his BP twice a day.  They also checked his albumin and serum protein levels.  I don't know what is causing your swollen hands, but I hope when you see the doctor you will share the info with us.

For me...it's just PMS....I don't think that's your problem.  Haha

twinthings's picture
twinthings
Posts: 403
Joined: Jun 2013

Hey Todd,

I am a right side neph, like you. 

I don't experience any swelling in my hands during the day but I have learned the hard way, if I don't take my wedding ring off before I go to bed at night I may one day wake up with a finger that's been strangled to death.  I've been married 32 years and have never taken my ring off...unless I'm in the hospital.  But, just since my neph, my hands swell at night when I sleep.  After I've been up about an hour or so, I can put my ring back on.  If I weren't married and wearing a ring, I probably wouldn't realize my hands were swollen tho, because unlike yours, mine aren't painful, nor do they look swollen.  I only know they are because my ring doesn't fit. 

I hope you find the source of your swelling, soon.  If you do, inquiring minds will want to know Wink

 

Sindy

icemantoo's picture
icemantoo
Posts: 1617
Joined: Jan 2010

Even though the question of swelling may be asked by the Oncologist I believe it is a question of Kidney function more so than Kidney Cancer.

 

 

Icemantoo

foxhd's picture
foxhd
Posts: 2016
Joined: Oct 2011

most of us, the extremity swelling is all a part of our age. It happens to me too. Certainly for the under 40 crowd, having had a nephrectomy or any major surgery, this is expected and anticipated. We are programmed to live with 2 kidneys. When we change that, alot of systems have to learn to acknowledge and adapt. Ending up with some extremity swelling is not worriesome. Best to be aware of it, but to not try to medically treat it. Another welcome to the club moment.

todd121
Posts: 629
Joined: Dec 2012

I had my kidney out at 50. Now that I'm 52, I'm always wondering which things are because of the kidney and which things are because of my age. Would be nice to know.

Too bad I didn't get an owners manual with this body!

My oncologist went straight from med school into his specialty. He seems to be at a loss when it comes to normal/non-cancer aging issues, because he's never been a family doc/GP. It's really kind of funny. When I ask him such questions he just looks at me confused (he's 34, btw). The good thing is I do have a really great family doc that is older than me. I can ask him. Turns out that this kind of extremity swelling can be caused by so many things that it's very difficult to diagnose.

Thanks!

Todd

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