The right place at the right time

by | April 25, 2016 2:05 pm

Last Updated: April 25, 2016 at 2:20 pm

In 15 years of journalism, I have covered all matter of ailments.
I’ve covered a little boy with rhizomelic chondrodysplasia, which limits the development of the sufferer’s limbs, torso and neck, rendering them childlike for life. I’ve covered folks with rare heart and liver disorders that required multiple surgeries and long, painful and heartbreaking recoveries.
I’ve covered those dealing with cancer like Kerrie Cribb and Justin Shorter.
I’ve covered the kidney transplants of local insurance agent John DuRant and Manning Mayor Julia Nelson.
I’ve even covered my own battle with hidradenitis suppurativa, a sweat gland disorder for which I had my sweat glands removed in 2010.
And here I am again, with a new malady and a new column.
You see, last week I was diagnosed with Stage IV Chronic Kidney Disease. On April 19, I had 21 percent kidney function. By April 21, I had 17 percent.
Somewhere in the rumor mill it’s been turned around that I have kidney cancer, and that I’m at death’s door.
However, I have no tumors. I have no blockages. I have no cysts.
What I do have is a severely low kidney function, which is likely brought about by egregiously high blood pressure. Some of you have seen the piece on me in the Anytime Fitness advertisement on my weight loss and working out in an effort to rid myself of diabetes.
I am well on my way to doing that. My last A1C was 5.3. I haven’t had one higher than 6.1 in two years.
But in the midst of that, I continued to take my blood pressure medicine, thinking it was working. Any headaches I attributed to sinuses, with which I also have frequent problems.
Sometime last year, I began having frequent bouts of nausea in the morning, two or three times a week. At night, I would wake from a deep sleep with the worst nausea possible. I would eventually vomit and then feel immediately better.
I changed some of my eating habits: Not eating directly before bed, for example.
These symptoms got worse in January, and were accompanied by terrible nocturnal leg cramps, fatigue, itching and back pain.
Until this moment, writing this, I haven’t wanted to admit it, but I somehow knew it was my kidneys. Seven years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage II and post-infectious glomerulonephritis after a bout of vasculitis for which we never found a cause.
I was able to rectify the situation. But I was always told that I needed to watch my kidneys.
John DuRant, who has had several kidney transplants himself, warned me at the time to take care of my kidneys. I can’t say that I was completely foolhardy and didn’t listen, but I haven’t taken the best care of them either.
In January, one of the things I began doing to combat the nausea involved drinking a lot more water. I drink a lot anyway. I always have. Most doctors, when I tell them I drink a lot, link it to the diabetes, but I drank a lot of fluids long before I was diagnosed with diabetes in 2012.
On Friday, my doctor told me that my already taxed kidneys are being overworked by how much water I’m actually taking in. So, now I’m limited to two quarts per day, which is honestly like hell on earth.
It is right now 2 p.m. on a Monday, and I’ve had only two 16-ounce bottles of water. This is half of my daily allowance and doesn’t seem like nearly enough.
We have also added a blood pressure medication that basically knocks me out when I take it. Pressures last week at three separate appointments averaged 180/130.
Thus far, with the new medication, the pressures have averaged about 138/82, which I will take any day right now.
I do not know what further treatment will be called for. We are still in the early stages of any treatment. I admit that I fear dialysis greatly, and I desperately want to avoid it.
But right now, the doctor doesn’t think it will come to that.
We are still taking almost daily blood tests to see about kidney function. As long as it stays the same, I will be pleased. I wasn’t going to write about this initially. It feels petty in light of other folks’ battles with cancer and other life-threatening ailments.
But once I heard that I was dying from someone else who heard it from someone else, I knew it needed to be addressed.
One thing this experience has shown me is how blessed I am to be where I am in life. Leigh Ann Maynard has been by my side the entire time, and she has asked the doctor questions that honestly I could not think of after he gave me the initial prognosis. She hasn’t once panicked or lost her head during this experience, and that’s kept me calm.
My best friend from childhood, Stephanie Griffin, has provided encouraging words from 3,000 miles away.
Kirby Poole, Teddy Spencer and Holly McCabe have taken care of me at the office.
Ericka Sexton Floyd, Carrie Anna Strange, Moye Graham and Carrie Trebil all provided words of encouragement as I missed my first Striped Bass Festival in 10 years. Sandi Tucker and Pat Fenters provided hugs.
I realize that I am so fortunate to have these people in my life, and I know that I am in the right place at the right time to have something wrong with me.

comments » 25

  1. Comment by Moye Graham

    April 25, 2016 at 14:43

    Still praying for you Bobby and I want my hug. Love you man.

  2. Comment by Ericka S. Floyd

    April 25, 2016 at 14:55

    Love you Bobby and I’m praying for you. Thank you for everything.

  3. Comment by Gail Williamson

    April 25, 2016 at 15:27

    Have faith. God is good. Love Ya!

  4. Comment by Cheryl Coggins

    April 25, 2016 at 16:44

    Bobby, You have always done a great job in covering and reporting JCMC-Haven of Rest events and it seems that you appeared to be a fixture at all sorts of community related events that I have attended. I am sorry to hear of your medical problems. Try to keep the positive attitude and continue to let the community know of your progress. Many people in the community can learn from what you are going through. Keeping you in my prayers.

  5. Comment by Pastor Myra Pearson

    April 25, 2016 at 17:25

    Praying and God we know you will do it for Bobby!!

  6. Comment by Carrie Anna Strange

    April 25, 2016 at 18:16

    Praying for you!! Let me know if I can do anything.

  7. Comment by Judy Hooks

    April 25, 2016 at 19:01

    This breaks my heart. You have been looking so healthy the last couple of years, I haven’t been worrying about you like I did during your surgery. I’ve got you back, dear friend. Love and prayers always.

  8. Comment by John DuRant

    April 25, 2016 at 20:55

    Chin up, Bobby. You are doing a great service just letting people in to your private struggle. Education is a key in the fight against kidney disease. Many will read this and made aware that they need to take care of their bodies better. Kidney disease is not the end of the world but just another struggle in this great adventure we call life.

  9. Comment by Helen Brailsford

    April 25, 2016 at 21:01

    I’m happy to say, I am not privy to any of the numerous rumor mills, but am very happy to hear none of it’s true. Keeping you in my prayers! Thinking about you and wishing you well!

  10. Comment by Lin Bennett

    April 25, 2016 at 21:18

    Bobby, You know you are in the hearts and prayers of the Prayer Quilt. We are on this journey with you.

  11. Comment by Cindy Risher

    April 25, 2016 at 21:31

    Bobby, Thank you for sharing your story…prayers…as Moye and Lin have already told you…we love you and have you covered with The Quilt…

  12. Comment by Karen Reit

    April 25, 2016 at 21:42

    Thank you for sharing your story. I’m keeping you in my prayers.

  13. Comment by Teresa Dunlap

    April 25, 2016 at 21:47

    As a dialysis nurse, I understand the fears! But as many of these patients can tell you, it isn’t the end! Maybe a bump in the road, but not the end! Embracing this new path is the key to continuing to succeed in a fight that can certainly seem bleak. But also helping to make others aware is part of that path. Keep fighting, and if you ever have questions you can look me up on Facebook and I’d be more than willing to try to help!

  14. Comment by Wright Turbeville

    April 25, 2016 at 21:50

    I am praying for you! God will bless you and take care of you.

  15. Comment by Paulette King

    April 25, 2016 at 22:39

    Thanks for sharing your story! I am joining the masses who will pray for you. I drink a tremendous of water as well; It combats my flares of acid reflux which occur unexpectedly either from food or stress! Continue to fight on you and will be a winner!!

  16. Comment by Linda Pierce

    April 26, 2016 at 06:45

    Praying for you Bobby. God is in control. HE is the great physician!

  17. Comment by Princess Lang

    April 26, 2016 at 10:40

    Praying for you my friend…Always remember that GOD is in control.

  18. Comment by Elmer McKnight

    April 26, 2016 at 13:26

    Praying for you. Be encouraged.

  19. Comment by Laura Harrington

    April 26, 2016 at 14:51

    I dont know you personally, but my husband sees you at Anytime Fitness. It is so wonderful that you share your story. I feel sure you will help many others keep on top of their numbers and avoid serious illness. We wish you the very best, may God keep you in his care, praying for your complete healing.

  20. Comment by Pat Goodwin

    April 26, 2016 at 15:14

    Praying for you my dear friend.

  21. Comment by Christina Darby

    April 26, 2016 at 21:31

    Hey Bobby, you are well loved by the community and have lots of folks praying for you. Thank you for all that you do and I know that God will heal and bless you. God helps those who help themselves and you should be proud of yourself and all that you have accomplished!! Love you Bobby❤️

  22. Comment by Elease Fulton

    April 27, 2016 at 22:53

    Continue to trust in God and He will keep you in perfect peace. I join others in praying for your healing.

  23. Comment by Bobbie Reaves

    April 28, 2016 at 12:50

    Bobby, so sorry to hear of your health problems. You can’t get sick on us now. The Back Porch Players are gearing up for another production in August and you are the star of the show. We need you!
    Seriously, I pray that you can keep your blood pressure under control and you will feel better soon. That nausea can be all consuming. Will be in touch. Love to a friend. Bobbie

  24. Comment by Drew Stewart

    April 29, 2016 at 11:10

    Bobby, you’re very brave to share this. I’ll be praying for you and your recovery.

  25. Comment by Rob Salinas

    May 10, 2016 at 13:56

    I too have kidney disease (End stage) & am currently on dialysis since February 2012. I wish you the best and hope that everything works out for you in the end.

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