Update on my Journey with my Kidneys
July 21, 2017
In 2001, after 12 years of taking large amounts of lithium carbonate at the request of my doctors for a perceived diagnosis of bipolar disorder (often 2100 mg/day or more), my kidneys gave out. I saw a nephrologist in Asheville, who demanded I stop the lithium immediately. My psychiatrists started a new Medication Guinea Pig Dance, but that is a different story, which I have written about elsewhere (culminating in termination of all meds in Nov. 2003).
My Creatinine levels were 3.4-3.8 at this time. The nephrologist said that they would not get better, but that they wanted to monitor them to keep them from getting worse.
Over the next couple years, I took issue with the idea that my kidneys could not improve. I asked about supplements, herbs, etc. During this time I was getting gout in my finger and toe joints. Eventually, an Asheville herbalist named Corey Pine suggested he had heard something about stinging nettle seed extract being of help.
After research, I ordered some from David Winston’s company. It was expensive as herbs go but cheap as medicines go, around $80 for 8 ounces (which currently lasts me 3 months). Over the next three years, my gout went away, my kidney-related back pain decreased (but did not go away), and my Creatinine levels got lower, eventually bottoming out around 1.9-2.1. This continued for several years.
In 2015, the Creatinine levels began to climb again. As of my last few blood tests this level was 2.4. My trips to the bathroom at night have increased from 0 to 3 or 4. In April I started doing more research, and in May I ordered some Astragalus (herb, not extract) on the basis of that research. The bottle said to take 3 capsules twice daily. Being cautious, I have been taking 2 capsules twice daily.
As of July 20, my nightly trips to the bathroom are in the 1-2 range, my kidney-related back pain is greatly reduced, and I’m feeling that the improvement is related to the Astragalus.
I have a new nephrologist (finally one who listens and even laughs) as of about 9 months ago. He is willing to look at the evidence as soon as I have new to present. My next blood test is scheduled for January, followed by another visit to the new doctor. I will check in with you. But my body tells me this stuff is amazing, and I’m going to increase to the recommended usage as of today.
I am fully aware that everyone is unique. My kidney damage was caused by high levels of lithium use; the herbs I have used may or may not be of use to you. But I thought you might like to hear a success story.