Thoughts About Kidneys – The Kidney Stone Diaries

Kidneys are the bane of my existence. I know, this isn’t exactly what you expect to read when you come to an author’s blog but seeing as I may be radio silent for the next few days, I thought I might let you know that it’s entirely Keith’s fault. Who’s Keith, you may ask. Let me introduce you to Keith. Keith … is an asshole.

I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease way back in 2003 (ish). At that time, I was living in Kansas City, Missouri and my doctor advised me that I may want to undergo a procedure called lithotripsy, which would bust up the stones in my kidneys into smaller particles that I could easily pass. (I later discovered this was a bald-faced lie. I’m not sure which was worse, the procedure or passing the “smaller particles”). At that time, I was advised there was a 5mm kidney stone in my right kidney and that was what they were aiming to break up.

After suffering through 2 rounds of lithotripsy (both of which I was conscious for and was summarily bruised from tit to hip for three days afterward), I was told all was well and they’d gotten the stones. There was happiness and joy, cherubs danced, Casey was finally at bat. Over the next few years, I continued to produce kidney stones but I was pretty much well versed in how to deal with it … I’ve counted upwards of 200 stones have passed through my kidneys and down on into my bladder, making me feel like someone has lit my insides on fire the entire time … so I mentioned it to my doctors but didn’t really need to follow up with it. I even laughed about it with my doctor from time to time.  Then 2014 happened and that bitch can STILL kiss my ass.

I began having pain. Like “I can’t handle this on my own” pain. Wound up in the Emergency Room down here in Florida and they did a CT scan. While they were doping me up with the good drugs, they casually mentioned there was a stone in my right kidney that was about 7mm.

Hmm. Right kidney you say? I wonder if that … no, they told me they got rid of that one. No way it could be the same stone. Ha!

Lithotripsy was scheduled. This time, they were nice to me and they knocked me out for the procedure (I still love that doctor. If you live in Vero Beach and you need a Urologist, go find Dr. Christopher Tardif. The man’s a dream.) Two rounds of lithotripsy later (and LOTS of visits to hospital and good drugs) they say the stone is gone. Huzzah!

It’s now 2016 … I have a CT scan to see the cysts on my kidneys (there’s a lot of them. My kidneys look less like kidneys and more like the Elephant Man is living in my flank) … guess what? There’s a stone. It’s in my right kidney. It’s now 13mm.

The fuck? That’s the size of a DIME! Oh and by the way, the ureters the kidney stones have to pass through? Yeah, they are (on average) 3-4mm. Do the math … I’ll wait.

This is what it feels like to pass a kidney stone that is about the same size as your ureters.

 

Apparently, the stone they have been trying to blast out of me since 2003 is INSIDE a cyst. And it won’t show up on an x-ray. So all the follow-up x-rays that I had done after the lithotripsy lied to my doctors and that little stone just kept getting bigger and bigger, causing me more discomfort and pain as it slowly overtook my normal kidney function. So, I named it Keith.

  1. It’s a stone
  2. It’s old
  3. It rolls around inside the cyst

Bonus points to anyone who gets the reference.

So that’s Keith. He’s still in there, hanging out doing his “I hate your kidneys” thing.

However, tomorrow (Monday 20 March 2017) I’m going into hospital to have a cystoscopy and to have a teeny tiny laser and scope go up into my actual kidneys to smash the stones in my kidneys to smithereens (Think of playing Asteroids but with kidney stones). It’s like lithotripsy but a bit more … invasive. I’m hoping all goes well and that this works to at least get rid of the stones in my kidney. Keith will still be there. He’s safe in his cyst for now … but I have a feeling the next procedure I have will be to get rid of him and that’s a whole different world of surgery and good drugs.

So there you have it … everything you never really wanted to know about my kidneys and had no desire to ask about. Things might be a little radio silent around here for a bit but I’ll be updating my Twitter @djordanpadrona and probably still be dorking around on Facebook.

Then I’ll get back to asking Fuzzy to please stop shedding on the new furniture.

Or I might be drooling on myself because … well … good drugs.

XO

D. Jordan Padrona

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