The results for the blood tests done on February 20 showed marked improvement in my cholesterol levels. At the same time, I do not seem to be suffering any side effect of Lipitor as evident from the renal and liver profiles. This is good news indeed. I am to continue with the 10mg daily dosage. The doctors scheduled another blood test in June just to be sure.
Since I started on the cholesterol-reducing medicine, I have cut down dramatically on pork in my diet and replaced that with fish, either salmon or threadfin. Additionally, it is supplemented with folic acid, Vitamin B complex, cordyceps, Omega-3 fish oil and CoenzymeQ10.
It may appear like I am taking too many pills and turning into a supplement junkie. Anything to keep my frail kidneys at it current functional levels. Besides, these supplements do not seem to be doing any damage to my health apart from making a big dent in my bank account.
Renal profile for February 20, 2012
Sodium 140 (139) mmol/L
Potassium 4.8 (4.8) mmol/L
Chloride 106 (105) mmol/L
Total CO2 25.6 (26.0) mmol/L
Anion Gap 13 (13) mmol/L
Urea 7.5 (7.8) mmol/L
Creatinine 273 (272) umol/L
Liver profile for February 20, 2012
Total Protein 78 (76) g/L
Albumin 39 (38) g/L
Globulin 39 (37) g/L
Total Bilirubin 7 (8) umol/L
Conjugated Bilirubin 2 (2) umol/L
Alk Phosphatase 78 (86) IU/L
ALT (GPT) 18 (17) IU/L
AST (GOT) 10 (15) IU/L
Gamma GT 13 (12) IU/L
Lipid profile for February 20, 2012
Triglyceride 1.0 (1.4) mmol/L
Total cholesterol 3.1 (4.7) mmol/L
HDL 1.01 (0.97) mmol/L
LDL 1.64 (3.09) mmol/L
Braised pig trotter with fatt choy, New She Lai Ton Restaurant, Ipoh.
Photo taken with the Samsung Galaxy S II.
With the festive celebrations over and done with, I can finally breathe a sigh of relief. It has been an especially difficult time for me. I had a hard time resisting all the good food that came with the ocassion. In fact, I worry that I may have over-indulged.
I need to seriously go back to the basics of my dietary requirements of low-everything; low-protein, low-sodium, low-purine, low-phosphorous, and now, low-cholesterol. Anything to preserve whatever renal function left in my kidneys.
Another blood test is due in two weeks. The doctors ordered it to check if Lipitor has any adverse effect on my liver and especially my kidneys. The most serious being rhabdomyolysis. This is the breakdown of muscle tissues that leads to the release of a huge amount of myoglobin into the blood stream and causes kidney failure.
The only side effect that I experienced so far was the first few days after I began taking the medicine. My philtrum and upper lips twitched incessantly. The twitchings stopped a week or so later. The blood tests shall reveal whether I suffered other subclinical effects.
When I sustained spinal cord injury 27 years ago today, I had to learn anew everything about my body again. My limbs could no longer move they way they used to. My bladder had to be emptied with the aid of catheters. I needed suppositories to move my bowels. Even my diaphragm function was impaired which affected my breathing.
It has not been easy for me all these years, more so when the world is not built for people with impairments like mine. Moving around in a wheelchair is like traversing an obstacle course even in the most modern parts of Kuala Lumpur. I would love to be more active but the inconvenience of overcoming these barriers wore me down quickly most of the time.
So after 27 years, my body is worn out before its time from over-exertion and over-compensation for reduced muscular functions and in pushing the wheelchair. My fingers are bent. My wrists, shoulders and right knee aches. My kidneys are failing from urinary tract infections and vesicouretal refluxes. In essence, I am living in a body much older than my age.
But all is not that bad. I got to befriend some interesting people and see the world from a different perspective. I learnt to accept the limitations of my impairments and made the best of whatever was thrown at me. Most importantly, being a disabled person, I am conscientized by the issues faced by my peers. This led me to do what I am doing today – promoting disability equality – so that disabled people are accorded the rights we deserve in society.
Someone wise said fate chooses our relative, we choose our friends. I beg to differ. It is fate that chose my friends for me too whom I otherwise would not have the honour to be acquainted with had my life took a different turn. Here’s a toast to friends who have made my 27-year journey with spinal cord injury more meaningful. Thank you for making it less arduous than it could have been. Thank you for being there for me one time or another. I could not have asked for more.