And (S)He’s Safeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Having had no medical emergencies this past week (thank heavens!), I was casting around for this week’s topic when my dentist reminded me that I need to keep whitening my other teeth for at least another week so they somewhat match the new upper front six tooth sparkling teethbridge.

Whiteners… how do they affect the kidneys if they do at all?   Should I use over the counter products?  A kit I purchase from the dentist?  An in-the-chair dental bleaching?

These are the kinds of questions I keep asking, for deodorant, toothpaste, makeup, even waxing.  Boy, have I ever covered a lot of ground in this area in the last couple of years.  But, as usual, it’s still not enough.  I’ve been playing around with the idea of a newsletter based on what’s safe and what’s not as far as personal products and medical treatments.

smelly armpitsI’ve already written about deodorants and toothpaste.  What a response, especially to the deodorant blog! Most of my readers are not direct email, but read the blog via Facebook and that’s where the lively discussions take place.

Here’s another example.  When I wrote about macular degeneration, I mentioned that my ophthalmologist offered his own designer vitamin that had a 25% chance of slowing down the sight loss involved in this disease.  Once I eliminated the vitamins in the compound that were for preventing cataracts (I’ve already had those removed from both eyes), I was still left with a bunch that might work and a doctor who didn’t know what they would do – if anything – to my kidneys.  I researched them one by one and discovered that only two would be safe for CKD patients.

Now, I don’t mean to whine (Wine? Does that affect the kidneys?), but this is a lot of work for each new product you want to use.  Sometimes even our nephrologists can’t tell us because the product is so new.  I’ve gone to the pharmacist with new products many times and, if they weren’t too busy, they would call the company that made the product immediately.  A call from a pharmacist seems to take precedence over a call from a consumer when it comes to inquiries.

I looked at the ingredients at the dental bleaching product I’d purchased and realized I would have to research them one by one.  The dentist wasn’t sure.  The nephrologist was out of town and I didn’t feel this necessitated a call from his covering doctor.  The pharmacy was very, very busy. (We don’t exactly have winter in Arizona, but we do have flu and cold season).

There are nine ingredients in the dental bleach product I chose.  One is water, so I didn’t research that.  I am not a doctor, never claimed to be one, and repeatedly reminded people that I am not one.  Apparently, my computer hasn’t gotten the message.  But, while I am not a doctor, I’m a terrific researcher.

warningHowever, in this case, I could not understand even one of the articles I found about the eight ingredients I didn’t know about.  This was extremely frustrating. So, I did what I probably should have done in the first place: I called the company.  They looked at the product information and assured me the product had no effect on the kidneys at all, but if I wasn’t comfortable with that, to contact my local pharmacist and/or my doctor.  I was willing to take their word for it (but I will call both the pharmacist and my nephrologist anyway.  Just to be sure, you understand).

Ah, the problems of being a chronic kidney disease patient… and we thought it was all about our doctors’ appointments, diets, sleep, stress levels, and exercise!

On the book front, yet another reminder for you that if you EVER bought a print copy of What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease at any price from Amazon.com, you are now eligible for an electronic copy for $2.99.  That is a 70% savings over Book Coverthe usual price of $9.95 for the digital book.  And, yes, I did do that on purpose so that more people will have access to the information they need if they, a loved one, a colleague, or anyone they know and care about has Chronic Kidney Disease.  I can’t take credit for coming up with this Kindle MatchBook program just in time for your holiday shopping, however.  The accolades for that belong solely to Amazon.

SlowItDown is constantly on the lookout for new communities to bring our free Chronic Kidney Disease education taught by trained educators.  If you’re Black, you’re part of a high risk community.  If you’re Hispanic, you’re part of a high risk community.  Heck, if you’re over 60, you’re part of a high risk community!  Gather your friends and family and let’s get SlowItDown over to you so you can all rest a little bit easier by having an understanding of just what your disease means to you and your community.kidney-book-cover

Many, many thanks to Alex Gilman who was our host for Thanksgiving this year.  He made sure the turkey was cooked in a way that I could eat it and was extremely understanding when I forewent certain of the side dishes and of the small portions I chose.

We’ve got to remember it’s not easy for those who have no knowledge of Chronic Kidney Disease to understand why we eat the way we do.  I cannot even count the number of people who were downright insulted that I would do no more than taste what they’d made because the ingredients were not on the renal diet… and that’s after I’ve explained the renal diet!

MenorahTo those who celebrate, I hope you’re enjoying Chanukah.  Kwanzaa, a week-long celebration, won’t start until the day after Christmas, December 26.  I found this informative website for those of you who see me keep mentioning Kwanzaa, but really aren’t sure what it is: http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/kwanzaa-festival.php.  As you gear up for these two holidays or enjoy the last three days of Chanukah, consider helping out those with CKD via the book or contacting SlowItDown (ckded@cox.net) for them.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

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