Sweat that Could Kill

Could you imagine being told by your doctor not to sweat because it could kill you?

One day I woke up at 4 a.m. and I felt sick.  I was able to sleep again but in the afternoon I felt worse so I asked my husband to take me to the Emergency Room.  I was gagging but nothing came out.  Slowly my hands, then my arms became numb.  My limbs stiffened and started to rotate inwards. I’ve never felt that way before.

At the E.R. my blood sample was taken and they found out that my potassium (K+) level was at a very low 1.9 mEq/L (normal value is 3.7 – 5.2). My doctor immediately gave me potassium intravenously because levels below 2.5 mEq/L were considered severe and life-threatening.


She was puzzled why despite the massive dose, my potassium was still very low. She later found out that I was spilling it in my urine.

I was then transferred from my room to the telemetry and was given the concentrated form of  potassium.  They said it was very dangerous and could cause heart failure. Oh my arm felt like it was burning! Joy who was with me in the room said that I was groaning the whole time but I don’t remember it.  Thank God for selective memory because that experience was very traumatic.

When my blood potassium went up to 4.2 mEq/L, my doctor sent me home.  She said, “Try not to move a lot.  You’re not allowed to sweat because you can lose potassium by sweating. We don’t want that to happen.”

Few days later, another test was made – MRI with contrast dye.  I’ve seen that procedure done on tv before.  I thought that the reason why they put headphones to the patient before placing him inside the tube was to relax him with soothing music.  So when they placed the headphone, I was surprised to hear the voice of the radiologist.  “Don’t move. Hold your breath for 5 seconds. Relax. 15 seconds. Relax.  20 seconds.  Relax.”  In my mind I thought,”You mean there’s no music?!”

They found a tumor in my right adrenal gland.  I was confined to the hospital again and more tests were made.  They collected my urine within a 24 hour period.  Then I was asked to stand for three hours (yes, that’s right, three hours!) before they drew out a blood sample.  They said that what they we’re looking for was affected by position.  Ok, I guess.



“Good news,” my doctor said.  “Your tumor is positive.”  That meant the tumor was secreting high amounts of the hormone called aldosterone.  And because of that, sodium was retained in my body which caused the potassium loss and high blood pressure. Surgical removal of the tumor was the treatment of choice.

I underwent laparoscopic adrenalectomy.  Amazing, there were only four small incisions and they only used band aid to dress them. By the grace of God, after the surgery my potassium level was back to normal.

After several weeks I went back to see my doctor for check up and she said, “You can now run to lose weight.”

Sweating is now allowed.


Yay!




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5 thoughts on “Sweat that Could Kill

  1. Pingback: My TBR-ULAH Dream Marathon Story | sandi's diaries

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