Friday, October 22, 2010

More calcium for my oxalate

After a month on megadose calcium and another urine test, my oxalate levels are still elevated enough that I remain at risk for kidney stone formation. So my doctor has prescribed that I increase my daily calcium intake by 50% -- that's from 6000g a day to 9000g a day -- plus I'm getting a referral to a nephrologist. (The woman who called me felt compelled to explain what a nephrologist did, and no amount of trying to interrupt her to say I know what it is would stop her.)

Increasing calcium is thankfully about as benign a treatment as one could ask for. The pills cost a trivial amount compared to prescription medicine, and are widely available, even in bulk and generic. They don't even taste that awful (or maybe I've just gotten acclimated -- though the white or mint ones still taste awful and some of the tropical fruit ones are pretty bad, but the berry ones are fine). There's no awful side effects, not even mild ones. The nearest thing to one is that I get less heartburn!

Actually, there's one other thing that might be a side effect. You know how, if you miss a time brushing your teeth, the next time you do, there's a gunky taste that it feels like you're working loose and thus unleasing on yourself? Or maybe that's just me. Well, I wonder if that taste isn't the calcium that is in scaling and plaque, because nowadays, I get that even when I haven't missed a time. Then again, that might have nothing to do with the calcium.

Still, if 6g hasn't brought my levels down, I wonder if 9g will really do it. Perhaps the outcome is going to be "be prepared to spend a day or two every couple of years passing a stone for the rest of your life" -- which is pretty awful, but hey, a lot of people have a lot, lot worse.

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