Kidneys Failed Suddenly

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Colorado Guy
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 2/17/2015 3:52 PM (GMT -6)   
My girlfriend has breast cancer and had 30% kidney function. Her creatinine levels were 1.2 - 1.8. Almost 2 weeks ago her oncologist called her from the airport and told her to go to the ER, as it had increased to 3.9. Apparently both ureters were blocked. They inserted 2 stents and her kidneys began draining, and her creatinine dropped to 3.0.

Her nephrologist of 6 years was out of town.

They released her. That same night she had headaches, nausea, etc., and felt terrible. We took her to a different hospital. They removed the stents and inserted wider, stronger ones. Her kidneys drained 900 ml. The stents were working.

Later that night urine output went to zero. We were devastated. She is now on dialysis.

Her nephrologist called from his vacation and we spent 20 minutes on the phone with him. Great guy. He said that he had never heard of moderately-functioning kidneys shutting down in that manner and so quickly.

I asked him if function could be restored. He said that in normally-functioning kidneys, more damage can be reversed, With moderately-functioning ones (like hers), the damage can sometimes be reversed. But when there is scar tissue, it can't be undone. He didn't rule out reversal.

It gave us a glimmer of hope to know that she is in the second category, and there is a slight amount of hope.

I also called a respected acupuncturist. She said that she believes that she can help, but can't promise anything.

Any thoughts? Thanks.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 3/18/2015 11:28 AM (GMT -6)   
Oh Wow, I am so sorry, Guy.

To tell you my experience, not just talking out of nowhere, my kidneys were damaged after an emergency liver transplant when I nearly died at 12 years old. A couple years later, I had a kidney transplant, which was also traumatizing, and now I need another.

I haven't had cancer, but I know how horrible such illnesses are, particularly one on top of another. What I'd advise, is, right away, start making arrangements with a hospital to put her on a transplant list. This takes a long time, so start the minute you can. Also, It would help if both you and her whole family can help with the process. There's probably no other way to give her healthy kidneys again.

Acupuncture may help her to relieve stress, but I don't think in any way that it can heal damaged organs. Also, it's very important - and don't trust a hospital to do this part - that your girl finds things to do, projects to work on, and a passion to create a non-medical identity around. This is absolutely critical for preserving her sanity during all of this. Help her to feel that she is not just a medical story.

Colorado Guy
New Member

Date Joined Feb 2015
Total Posts : 2
   Posted 3/18/2015 11:44 AM (GMT -6)   
Nategerdney, thanks for your suggestions. Sorry to hear about your situation. I hope the next transplant goes well and lasts. Do you have to take anti-rejection medication? Why the need for another transplant?

My girlfriend also has breast cancer, so a transplant is out of the question. The good news is that after they installed the nephrosomy tubes, her kidneys started working again! They're back to normal. Hopefully she'll be able to get rid of the tubes.

We'll do acupuncture to make 'em even better.

Thanks again for your advice, and good luck to you.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jul 2014
Total Posts : 77
   Posted 3/18/2015 12:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Ah, you asked why I need another kidney transplant. Now that is a long story. Well, I was born with a genetic defect that gave me sick organs as a child. Eventually, I needed a liver transplant, but because it was done so late that I was almost dead, it damaged my kidneys in the process, and I needed the first kidney transplant.

However, during all of these multiple childhood surgeries, no-one ever took a moment to consider the psychological damage that had been done. I never felt that my body was my own, never safe from medical molestation. See why I say that the creation of a non-medical identity is so crucial?

Yes, I had to take anti-rejection medication, and I hated that. I had a few moderately good years in late high school and early college, but then I started suffering from another series of bodily pain, and more procedures. I had finally had enough, and I wanted this time to die. A few years ago, I rejected all medication in a final attempt to send a message that the psychological damage of being sick cannot be ignored.

Again I nearly did die, but on the last day my parents came to me and asked if I wanted to try and turn things around. I said I could try, and so I began a long, hard process of dialysis and listing for another kidney transplant. My family has now paid attention to the trauma done, and I am working closely with my Dad to recover my sanity. The doctors, however, have never learned, and they still believe that an ill person's psychological health is no issue.

I hate dialysis. I vehemently despise and am disgusted by it, so I'm glad your girlfriend has working kidneys again. However, I wouldn't trust that they'll stay that way forever, after having failed once. I suggest she talk to a doctor she trusts about a potential transplant in the future, while for now trying to resolve her cancer. Set up the options, so she can act if the need and/or possibility do arise. I do hope she can get rid of the tubes, too. I hate tubes.

Good luck to you and her. I send my sympathies, and you/she can talk to me again if you need to. My email is

New Member

Date Joined Sep 2015
Total Posts : 5
   Posted Yesterday 5:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hello Colorado,
It's good to keep hope alive but be realistic as well.
I have been diabetic for 10 kidneys were progressive failing for 6 months before they shutdown.I was admitted to the hospital with fluid build up on my lungs and legs and was put on dialysis that night.I was in the hospital 7 days.the day after my discharge I started at the center 3 times a week 4 hours a day.

Everyone's situation is different.I'm blessed to have family and friends for support and a great staff at the dialysis center.It's no picnic,but it is tolerable.My suggestion is to educate yourself and your girlfriend on kidney disease and dialysis options.Her doctor should get her started in classes for dialysis..helps you understand things better..I'm learning as I go because I did things backwards,when on dialysis then doing the education trip lol.

She is lucky to have you.Good Luck to both of you
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