In addition to the three cancers, I also have an arthritic condition. My rheumatologist has prescribed certain medications that require regular monitoring for liver damage, so every six weeks I go into the lab to have a complete blood panel along with my PSA.

Included in the blood panel are also some kidney screens. One of these screens, GFR, has been slowly declining. In May it was <60 which is considered normal. Late June saw it drop to 57 (below the normal range) and then in August it went down to 52. However, all the other kidney screens were very squarely in the normal range. GFR is an estimated measurement of the kidney’s ability to filter blood. Since I had a radical nephrectomy (removal of the kidney) in January of 2006, I have become protective of my remaining kidney. Many people function well their entire life with just one kidney; I plan to do just that. I sent copies of the blood work and highlighted the GFR scores to my primary care physician, my rheumatologist, my prostate cancer medical oncologist and to my kidney oncologist. I still have not heard back from my primary care doctor. My rheumatologist emailed me and said I should ignore the low GFR because all the other scores are normal. My prostate oncologist offered to refer me to a nephrologist, but added that if I really wanted, I could wait for one more lab test round. My kidney oncologist had his office call me with a referral and the strong suggestion I make an appointment with a nephrologists in the next few weeks. Four doctors and four different responses, how does a patient know what to do? I became so frustrated I just wanted to drive to Four Flags and go on a roller coaster, but I hate roller coasters even more than I hate hospitals. It is a close second, but. Joel T Nowak MA, MSW