Passing kidney stones seems to be about a three month process for me — from the time I sense something is wrong to the time I catch them in the strainer. This time was January to April.
For the sake of future readers of this saga, I've compiled it all into a single post. For readers that have followed along, I've excerpted enough of the posts so that the story makes sense when told in chronological order.
February 11, 2008: It started as just a thought.
I'd been feeling sick since mid-January. I thought it was depression, I thought it might be a sinus infection, I thought it might be a kidney stone getting ready to move. As it would turn out, I think it was all three with some carbon monoxide thrown in. Read the full post here.March 26, 2008: Next was the pain and then the blood.
Last week, I had pain on the left side of my lower back. Not bad, but noticeable, and that's one of the first indicators of stone activity. That is, after the general crappy feeling. Today I was peeing a significant amount of blood. Read the full post here.March 29, 2008: The pain began in earnest.
It's 4 a.m. and the kidney stone is on the move. Horrible pain in the left front at my waist radiating down to my family jewels. I've been pacing for about 15 minutes and I'm in a bit of a lull on the pain at the moment. I need to go find a pain pill for the next go round.March 31, 2008: After a couple days reprieve, the pain was back.
I lasted until 7 a.m. and finally took half of the last hydrocodone I have...I don't want to "waste" it since more severe pain could be in the offing. I was able to fall asleep by 8 and slept until 10. The pain in my side is gone but the family jewels are still aching. Read the full post here.
I was up all night last night with pain from the kidney stone. It started about 10, by midnight I had thrown up because of the spasming, and I laid awake for the next 6 hours — in between all the pacing. There was significant movement today about 2 in the afternoon and the pain is gone. Read the full post here.A trip to the Emergency Room on April 4, 2008:
I finally couldn't stand the pain any more and went to the ER this morning. I had been up since midnight and the pain was intense for 9 hours and hydrocodone wasn't even taking the edge off.April 5-6: Sporadic bouts of pain and blood.
• It is confirmed I'm passing a kidney stone although it didn't show up in either the KUB (kidney, ureter, bladder) x-ray or the ultrasound. Sometimes I psyche myself into thinking maybe it's something much more dangerous like cancer. The only part of the ureter that isn't visible in the ultrasound is the bottom portion hiding behind the bladder so that's where it must be.
• I have a new prescription for the more powerful Percocet painkiller.
• This is all occurring on the left. In the collection portion of the left kidney are two stones (8mm and 4mm) waiting to unleash. On the right, there is a 4mm in the kidney and still a ways from leaving its womb.
• They found high levels of bacteria in my urine sample so I'm on Cipro for that.
• The spasming is what really caused me most of the pain and concern. These cramps are so intense that they make you vomit because the stomach muscle is right next door and gets caught up in all the fun. I have a prescription for Flomax for that. Flomax is a prostate drug but they've found it works for this symptom. Read the full post here.
April 7, 2008: Much more pain and I called the ER-recommended Urologist for an appointment. He was able to see me right away. Here's a summary:
• He looked at the urine culture report from the hospital and said there was no infection and instructed me to stop the Cipro immediately. (I surmise it is something that ER doctors prescribe as a CYA.)
• When I told him one of the prescriptions was 600mg Ibuprofen, I was instructed to stop that immediately. It is also a blood thinner, and if I was going to have surgery, that would cause a problem.
• He agreed with the Flomax and Percocet prescriptions and told me to continue.
• I learned that Percocet causes me to have chills (my teeth were clacking they were chattering so hard), fever, and an itchy sensation over the lower half of my body.
• I learned that Flomax causes me to have splitting headaches. Kinda like a Viagra headache, only exponentially worse.
• Cranberry juice causes kidney stones; it is good for urinary tract infections.
• When the stone is in the ureter, lithotripsy requires the placement of a stent before the procedure. So that is really three "operations," at least two of which require going under general anesthesia: stent in, lithotripsy, stent out. When the stone is still up in the kidney, lithotripsy doesn't require a stent.
• When I refused to go through this (again), I was basically told to drink water and take the pain pills. The remedy is worse than the disease.
I left the office after making the decision to tough it out.
April 8, 2008: I had a bit of discomfort but nothing that require pain medication.
April 9, 2008: I passed two 4mm stones.
Where does that leave me? I'm still worn out by the whole process. It takes a lot out of one's body. And I know I still have the 4mm within the right kidney, and a 4mm and an 8mm on the left that are closer to starting the passing process.
Previous Kidney Stone Posts:I get a large number of hits from Google searches on "Kidney Stone", "Lithotripsy", and other related terms. In an effort to make the subject easier to navigate on this blog, I'm adding the following list of posts to every kidney stone entry to make them cross reference accessible.
If you are reading this because you have, or think you have, a kidney stone, I know your pain. Unless you've had one, and I've had some mild incidences and some really bad ones, no one can even imagine the level of pain.
Consider going to the emergency room. At the very least, make an immediate appointment with a urologist. I am not a doctor and these are my experiences only!
You could be experiencing a kidney stone, but it may also be a urinary tract infection, a tumor, or other medical condition. Don't take any chances with your health!
In the interest of clarity, these links are in temporal order.
First Signs Of A Stone May 7, 2007To my fellow sufferers, I wish you well!
What I Know About Kidney Stones May 8, 2007
A Discussion Of Lithotripsy May 9, 2007
Peeing Blood, No Pain May 11, 2007
Pain Returns May 18, 2007
Pain Again In The Back May 26, 2007
Bloody Urine Is Back July 12, 2007
Passed Kidney Stone #1 July 26, 2007
Passed Kidney Stone #2 July 30, 2007
I'm The Morton's Salt Girl March 26, 2008
Stone On The Move March 28, 2008
Well At Least I'm Not Having A Baby April 4, 2008
Passing Kidney Stones Spring, 2008
I May Finally Have A Solution To My Kidney Stones! March 15, 2010
If I'm Pissy, Blame My Kidney Stones October 11, 2010