Health Update: Kidney Stone
A post discussing the passing of my kidney stone and cancellation of my ureteroscopy in April 2023.
On April 16th, as I was getting ready for bed, I passed my kidney stone. Honestly, I stopped thinking it was going to happen and resigned myself to the fact that I would be having surgery in a few days. When I saw it in the strainer though, my heart started beating so quickly, and I immediately started crying. Leaving the bathroom, I went into the bedroom (still crying) and abruptly woke up my spouse. “I need you to wake up and come look at this. I think I passed my kidney stone.” (still crying) He groggily got up and made his way to check out the jagged crystal inside the specimen jar, “Yup, that looks like a kidney stone.” followed by, “I see you’re going to bed at 2 am again.” (still crying)
I wasn’t in any pain, but I was just overwhelmed. It felt like forever until I was able to stop crying and lower my adrenaline and heart rate enough to meditate and try to go to sleep. I was so excited that this long medical event was wrapping up without me having to be put under and go through a ureteroscopy and have a stent inside me for a week. CRISIS AVERTED!
The pain started on March 3rd and I dealt with it without medication until March 14th when I learned it was a kidney stone causing it. I had excruciating waves of the most intense pain off and on for 6 weeks. At times, it was so brutal that I vomited from how much it hurt. I was on prescription pain relievers, anti-nausea, and anti-inflammatory meds for 34 days. I abstained from using my medical cannabis for over a month when I learned that it may negatively impact the metabolization of the Toradol that I was taking. My life has been in limbo while I waited for my impending surgery date to arrive, only to ultimately avoid it all entirely.
In a way, it feels really anticlimactic. Now don’t get me wrong, I feel extremely fortunate that I didn’t have to go through the procedure and the stent and the recovery of that all. But I was mentally preparing to deal with all it entailed, and physically preparing my house by meal prepping, tidying, and doing All the Laundry! so I wouldn’t have to deal with any of it while I was recuperating. Once the stone came out, I lost all sense of urgency to complete those tasks.
I messaged my urologist to let her know that I had passed my stone (with the pictures below attached). I asked her what I should do next, if I just stopped all my meds right away, and/or if I needed some imaging before canceling my surgery. She said that yes it looked like I had passed my kidney stone and that I wouldn’t need surgery but I would need an ultrasound in about a month.
When I called to try to cancel my surgery, I started with one of the phone numbers on my paperwork for the surgery center. The person who answered was not helpful and told me I had to call my clinic. Confused, I tried a different phone number on my paperwork. That person told me I needed to contact my surgeon’s office, but I explained that I had never met with the surgeon so I had no idea how to do that. Then, I was provided a different phone number to call. When I called that number, I ended up being transferred and had to leave a voicemail.
I did receive a callback from the person I left the voicemail for, and I confirmed my surgery was canceled. However, this morning, the day before I was supposed to have my procedure, I received a phone call from someone at the surgery center informing me that I had yet to fill out the survey I needed to prior to my appointment tomorrow. I informed them that I had canceled my surgery yesterday, and it didn’t seem like they had gotten that information through the appropriate channel when they replied, “I’ll be sure to bring that to their attention.” (Why is the healthcare system so convoluted?!)
Today, we dropped off my kidney stone at the urologist’s office for further analysis. I have my follow-up appointment scheduled for 05/10. I’ve been off the kidney stone meds for a full day, and I can feel my chronic pain returning. My body really liked being on Toradol, but that isn’t a realistic day-to-day medication. I’m trying to remember that my body just went through a major medical event and give myself time to adjust and recover.
I’ve spent a lot of time lately wondering how people got through kidney stones prior to modern medicine. Already though, the severity of the circumstances is dissipating, and I can feel myself downplaying what I went through. Like how could something so small be such a large impediment? But it absolutely was a major obstacle to my quality of life, and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Here’s hoping the rest of my kidney stones stay inside my kidneys!
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Oh damn!!! Congrats on the passage! I bet it scraped you up internally a good bit, I hope the residual pain settles down soon. Brutal!