Friday, 6 July 2012

How many stones can one have?

About a year ago I was diagnosed with a kidney stone.  I posted about that here.

However, since my diagnosis, I have continued to experience ongoing pain on my right, upper side, despite the fact that I no longer had any kidney stones.  Several scans were performed, but nothing was found to be wrong.  Yet the pain continued.

Finally at yet another scan, gallstones were found.  Many gallstones.  As in my gallbladder was full of gallstones.

"Did they just develop over the last couple of months since my last scan?" I asked in amazement.

"No," replied the radiologist.  "It takes a long time for that many stones to develop."

So it turns out that the kidney stone I had last year, well that probably wasn't a kidney stone after all.  It was probably a gallstone.

I saw a specialist whose recommendation was to remove my gallbladder.  Which is quite a daunting thing, when your gallbladder is a part of you and has some useful function!  It was a hard decision to make.  While I did have pain, it wasn't excruciating like some people experience.  It was just annoying.  But the problem with gallstones is that they are like a ticking time bomb.  They can sit in the gallbladder forever and never cause a real problem.  They can be released and cause pain, but safely travel through the body.   Or they can get stuck and block off the liver and/or pancreas and lead to life threatening situations.  In fact over the last year I'd had some blood tests done to see if that shed light on the pain situation and they showed mild liver damage.  Over several tests the damage improved and then got worse again.  I was already experiencing some damage to the liver.

My surgery was on Monday and a stone was found completely blocking off my liver and pancreas.

I still am questioning whether it was the right decision or not.  Especially directly after the surgery when still in pain.

I can't believe I chose to do this to myself.

But my decision was made to lower the risk of long term damage to some much more vital organs.

And with a stone blocking off my liver, it might have just been a matter of time until I was in the emergency room anyway.

No comments: