10+ kidney stones were pulled out of me last week. The chronic pain I have had in my gut my adult life was twice attributed to IBS. At times I personally thought it was stress or maybe even ulcers. Nothing I ate nor drank seemed to effect whether or not it would “act up”. Finally, a CAT scan (on suggestion by my new gastroenterologist) revealed the truth: many, and I mean many, kidney stones due to “utereopelvic junction obstruction”. My ureter (the tube going from the kidney to the bladder) is abnormally narrower right at the kidney. Basically urine gets backed up in the kidney forming stones that in turn can cause blockage.
Crushing the stones using laser or sonic was not recommended as my newly found urologist said I was not likely to successfully pass even the busted up bits. So percutaneous nephrolithotomy was now in order. That is, sticking a tube in my back and sucking them out. Nervous, but somewhat relieved to finally have an answer to 20 some odd years of pains in my abdomen.
First, I had a small tube placed in my back two weeks before the actual surgery. My urologist wanted to see how I got a long with the tube and to see if it relieved any of my symptoms. After a few days of getting used to the tube and the “second bladder” I did start experiencing some relief. It was pretty mind blowing. After a couple of weeks with the small tube, I went in for the big surgery. This is where they dilate the incision and put a bigger tube (1/2″) into my back and pull the smaller tube out. Then the urologist sucked out the kidney stones and gave me some to keep (pictured) All was well until I started experience new found pains the day I was released. It felt like my whole abdomen was bloated with gas and water and the pain was quite unbearable. I was almost on the verge of a panic attack. I was re-admitted that evening and they managed to get my pain under control enough that I could sleep that evening. The next day I was for another procedure to have a stent put in my ureter to allow the fluids to flow. I was finally able to go home on Thanksgiving Day. Oh what joy! My wife had been doing double duty at the house while my folks had come down to visit and my brother spent the nights with me at the hospital while my sister send good vibes from afar. For all of this I am thankful, although I wouldn’t recommend kidney stones for anyone. Drink more water!
I actually still have a bunch more stones lodged in a separate area of my kidney which we will address next year. Oh right, so there is a procedure to fix my narrowing ureter also which we are set to do in the summer. I won’t be able to lift anything weighing more than a jug of water for 6 weeks!