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Sodium Posted February 20, 2013 by Jackie Dooley



Ana didn’t have to be admitted because of the crazy bruise on her back which Dr. Martinez confirmed was, indeed, bleeding under the skin. She wasn’t worried about that though – I guess it’s somewhat normal. The wound actually bled a little on outside today too (old blood – which is dark and rust-colored, ruining yet another shirt). The above picture is from just a few minutes ago – Ana’s stomach is still a little swollen (from the fluid), but the shirt she’s wearing did not fit over her belly before the transplant. It’s loose now!

The main concern at this point is the fluid build up in Ana’s abdomen (ascites). Ana is now on a reduced sodium diet which was sort of the case before, but now it’s REALLY reduced. I asked Dr. Martinez to clarify what that means in milligrams  but she just said “she should avoid sodium as much as possible.” So, naturally I looked it up online to get some more specific guidelines and together Ana, Emily and I learned what kinds of foods to truly avoid and what the term “low sodium diet” means for us mere mortals. The number I came up with was 2000 milligrams of sodium per day – maximum, but I also found an article that said that reduced sodium diets should strive for no more than 1500 milligrams per day which is what we’re going to try for with Ana since she does have quite a bit of fluid buildup in her abdomen.

She can eat fruits and vegetables (but we do have to watch her potassium levels too, so not too many melons or bananas). She can eat unsalted lean meats like chicken, fish and pork. There are also some bread products she can have – like bagels, pasta and cereal (though we need to watch all sodium content on packaged goods like this). So, it’s not HORRIBLE and lord knows we all could eat better in this house, so it’s a good thing. Canned soups are a big NO – I think this may have been what exacerbated the fluid situation in the first place. Ana had a couple of bowls of canned soup and this stuff is loaded with sodium. She’s also been snacking on pretzels – so…none of that anymore.

After we dug into this no sodium research, Ana created a Word document with a list of foods she can eat and some guidelines to follow. She said I can post it here (sorry it’s so tiny).


That little blue talk bubble says, “Remember: you are allowed to have a tiny bit of sodium, just don’t have Doritos every day.”

The other thing they found today (during her sonogram) was some debris in her bladder. I don’t know what that means or if it’s anything to be super worried about. So, I’m going to try to do something completely against my nature and NOT obsess over it. They took a urine culture and MUCH blood and we’re waiting to hear back on the results of those tests which will hopefully come soon. Dr. Martinez didn’t adjust any of Ana’s anti rejection medications yet, but she did reduce the high blood pressure medication she’s on by half.


  • Susan Wishart February 21, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    We probably all should be on low sodium diet, maybe Ana will inspire all of us. HUGS and prayers that everything continues to go well.


  • Cathy Davison February 21, 2013 at 7:21 am

    Sounds like Ana’s diet is very similar to a renal diet…I learned a lot about sodium and potassium in foods after Tom’s kidneys failed. A great resource is for delicious recipes and dietary info about low sodium diets. A general rule — anything in a can or box is a no-no. Good luck! We have found that we can eat much healthier by following a low sodium diet!!


  • Judy Krongard February 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    I’m glad everything is ok..I was worried after talking to you this morning..canned soup really is loaded with salt…that shirt she’s wearing is a riot :)


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