Health Status: 2001

Thanks to all of you who have expressed concern over my health upon my return from Nepal. I'll keep a chronological 'diary' at this address as I learn more myself.

October 30, 2001, 9:30 AM

I went to a urologist, Dr. Faddoul, the Friday I returned home (October 19). The first thing he did was to reassure me, echoing Dr. Hamal's comments from Nepal, that occasional blood in the urine was a normal side-effect of the stents, a result both of vigorous hiking and of bumpy buses, and no cause for alarm. I got X-rays and discovered the source of the perpetual full-bladder feeling; the left side stent had fallen out of the ureter and was sitting coiled in my bladder. Unfortunately, due to gas in my intestines (caused most likely by the lingering diarrhea) he couldn't get a clear picture of my kidneys and ureters to confirm whether or not the left side stone had passed. He did, though, think he saw another small stone in my right kidney.

Last Monday, the 22nd, I got the stents removed. And yesterday I went back to the doctor for another set of X-rays. Another dose of Tienezol has finally gotten the diarrhea under control, but the X-rays were still unclear; I suspect that nearly four weeks of continuous antibiotics has temporarily scrambled my system. Again, Dr. Faddoul wasn't able to confirm whether or not the left side kidney stone has passed. And this time he thought he saw TWO stones in my right side, one so large as to be impassable. Or it could just be fecal matter.

I'm going in for another set of X-rays in two weeks (on November 12) and will take laxatives beforehand (as I'd done in Nepal before my IVP) to hopefully clear out my system and improve the X-ray results. Until at least then I'm not allowed to travel solo, especially in airplanes (apparently the ascents and descents encourage stones to move, even though the passenger cabin is pressurized). I must keep painkillers with me at all times, which if I take them won't allow me to drive a car. Once we figure out if I still have stones, we can if necessary use lithotropsy to remove them. Then we begin to figure out, via blood and urine biochemical analysis, why I'm getting them in the first place. Simple as my not drinking enough fluids? Or related to hyper-thyroid, or diet? We were able to capture a passed stone fragment soon after I returned from Nepal, and analysis shows it's a calcium oxalate stone. Oxalate-rich products include soda, coffee and (alas, for my vegetarian diet) soy products like tofu. Stay tuned.

November 1, 2001, 7:50 AM

One thing I forgot to mention above; a bit of irony. I'd had a pretty nasty kidney stone situation earlier this summer, while on business in Silicon Valley. Afterwards, my doctor had me get a CT scan to determine if I had any other stones in my system. Apparently, the IVP is no longer commonly used in the US; it's the more accurate of the two techniques but, because it takes more time, isn't as cost-effective. Anyway, I never got a call-back from either the doctor or the CT scan center with results, and I naively assumed that 'no news was good news'. After hearing word of my kidney stone problems in Nepal, my wife Lil tracked down the earlier CT scan results, and found out that they a) revealed the presence of several suspect 'spots' and b) had gotten misplaced in a paperwork shuffle between the CT center and my doctor's office. Had I know this, I certainly wouldn't have gone overseas!

November 20, 2001, 5:30 AM

The situation's still unclear (literally). X-rays taken on the 12th were again foggy and inconclusive. But, in the absence of pain, my doctor's said that I could begin traveling again as long as I keep painkillers with me. Last weekend I headed to the Bay area to meet with my Zen teacher, and at the end of the month I'm going to New York City for the Audio Engineering Society Convention. Blood and urine samples are currently being analyzed in the hopes of getting to a root cause for all these stones. My next meeting with my doctor is just after the New Year.

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This page was created on October 30, 2001. It was last updated on August 10, 2009.

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