Teenager, Membranous Nephropathy

We were not aware that Miranda had kidney disease, or even only one kidney, until, in 2006, at age 11, she caught the flu and her face and hands became very swollen.

Her pediatrician found that she was spilling protein. As a result, Miranda was put on Prednisone and referred her to Drs. Sakcarcan and Holleman, pediatric nephrologists with the University of South Carolina’s School of Medicine. They diagnosed her with Nephrotic Syndrome and put her on an increasing amount of Prednisone and also Prograf.

Miranda then had a biopsy to determine the exact problem. However, Dr. Sakcarcan found that Miranda had only one kidney, on her right side, and he did not get enough of a sample to determine any cause of the disease.

Miranda gained so much weight so fast it stretched her skin terribly. It also took all her energy away. Before this, Miranda had two speeds: wide open and dead stop. She always had energy to spare. Prior to being diagnosed, Miranda was thin, and all she would eat were pizza, hamburgers, and fries. We didn’t even care about her unhealthy eating habits because she was at least eating. Even today, those are the foods she prefers, even though she knows they are not good for her.

Thankfully, Miranda was able to come off the Prednisone and Prograf after a year, and was off the medication for about a year. However, she once again caught the flu, and started spilling protein all over again. She was put on 80 mg of Prednisone and Diovan. This time she gained weight so fast that it left scars on her body. Her torso looks as if she has burn scars.

Dr. Holleman performed another biopsy in March 2010, and it was determined that Miranda has Membranous Nephropathy. She was tested for underlying causes such as lupus, but no causes were found.

Teenage years are very tough times for girls. For Miranda, who is dealing with this disease that has no outward signs other than weight gain and energy loss, it is an especially tough time.

Miranda was an outdoorsman who loved swimming and sports prior to being diagnosed. She played soccer and baseball. Now, if she goes swimming at all she wears long shorts over her swim suit.

She resents the fact she cannot play contact sports, and that she will not be able to pursue interests in the military or law enforcement because of her condition.

We pray that a cure will be found not only for Miranda, but for all those with kidney disease. We learned of NephCure at a lunch and learn meeting last November. We will be going on the Charleston Walk and trying to get others interested in helping find a cure.