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  1. #1

    Exclamation Beware the Rocks!!!

    As a Sailor, I have a great aversion to going up on the rocks... This post is about a different kind of rock... More precisely stones.


    I have heard it said that there are 3 things people present to the ER with that are considered the most significant pain events...




    The ladies may disagree, but apparently child birth does not make the cut (which immediately suggests that the list was compiled by a man)...




    1. Heart attack.




    2. Kidney stones (I have passed a bunch of these, but #3 is far worse).!




    3. Gall stones (gall bladder attack).




    Well, thankfully I know nothing of #1, but numbers one and two have been companions of mine for some time.




    I have had several gall bladder attacks. That is uncommon, because they are exceedingly painful and most folks have the sense to think they are going to die and go into the emergency room....




    ... Fortunately I am not burdened by this sense like most people so I had the opportunity to experience this one time, or two times, but a total of eight times.




    (None too smart this one).....








    These stones can kill you. As it turns out, mine nearly did.




    The first few times it happened I thought it might clear up on its own. Then I was on a boat in the Bahamas, and it was not a good time...




    Ok, so what I am getting at is this. When you have something like this you need to get it taken care of. This is a routine surgery... That is it is supposed to be anyway... Even a days hike to help can cost your life...




    If you let it go too long, it can kill you.




    I have some pictures, they are very graphic. My gall bladder was completely filled with stones, so much so that the surgeon who has done thousands of these operations was parading the remains of it around the post-surgical unit...




    When you have something like this, get it taken care of.




    The surgery was much more complicated because the tissue of my gall bladder was dieing, and it was packed full of stones and "necrotic"... The stage before Gangrene sets in....
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  2. #2
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    Ok, you have motivated me to drink more water to try and avoid kidney stones. Not sure what causes stones in the gall bladder, but I'm gonna look that up and avoid that too!

  3. #3
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    I had one gall stone attack. They removed my gall bladder but a second stone had apparently dropped just before surgery so I had another attack right after surgery.
    I've had half a dozen kidney stones. Most pain I've ever felt. Sometimes major pain meds didn't touch it. They once gave me so much pain meds in ER that I stopped breathing and they had to give me NarCan to bring me back. I will reiterate...drink plenty of water! Several nurses told me they have given birth and had kidney stones and all said they would rather give birth.

  4. #4
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Been there and done that with the gallstones. My issue was non-diagnosis. They don't operate nowadays until an imaging study confirms the presence of stones, and the stuff I had didn't show up on the scans. I went through repeated attacks - every few days for six months - while the doctors were chasing down all sorts of false paths, including at the end suggesting a psychiatric consult! When I spiked the high fever, turned bright yellow, couldn't stop puking, began to suffer mental changes, and passed out in my doc's waiting room, it was almost, "hallelujah, more objective findings!" Even then, they thought it was liver cancer, and sent me for what they thought was palliative surgery to open the bile ducts and hopefully let me live out my last few months in more comfort. (Yikes!) The guy that did the surgery found the ducts all packed full of sludge. I had the gall bladder taken out the next day, and then they had to do another three procedures to reconstruct the ducts.

    So I've had eighteen years of borrowed time. Not a bad record; I got to see my daughter grow up after all. Yeah, this stuff can kill you.

    I know some ladies who have had both unmedicated childbirth and gallstone attacks, and they say that the gallstones are much worse.

    Illabelle - The chief risk factors for gallstones are obesity, middle age, and female gender. Most hikers are pretty good on #1, and there's nothing any of us can do about the others. One of the docs said to me, "What's a young, slim, man like you doing with gallstones?" The only answer I could come up with was, "Getting rid of them, I hope!"
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  5. #5
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    It's discouraging, AK, to hear how poorly the diagnosis went.
    But I'm glad you survived.
    Just finished reading today's rabies thread. Too late for the guy anyway, but another poor diagnosis.

    Maybe we expect too much from the medical profession.

  6. #6
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    Not sure how long ago you had yours AK but surprised they didn't do a viscosity study on your GB. Sorry you had to wait so long for them to get to the right answer. Sometimes they have trouble thinking outside the box.

    Most every female in my family has had to have their GB out before the age of 25 with none of us being obese. Try convincing doctors that you are not just a hysterical female when everything doesn't fall in line with the norms in medicine.
    ““Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees....” ― John Muir

  7. #7
    Clueless Weekender Another Kevin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2015 Lady Thru-Hiker View Post
    Not sure how long ago you had yours AK but surprised they didn't do a viscosity study on your GB. Sorry you had to wait so long for them to get to the right answer. Sometimes they have trouble thinking outside the box.
    About 18 years ago, so ERCP was commonplace. But by the time they decided that ERCP was warranted, they were telling me that the likely outcome of ERCP was palliative stent placement, since with the weird ultrasound indications (no stones visualized, but dilated ducts and fluid around the gallbladder) they thought a mass was impinging on the ducts. The gastroenterologist was astonished to find that he needed to do sphincterotomy and stone extraction just to pass the scope. They also had me scheduled for a HIDA scan, but cancelled the nuc med order because the ERCP had given a conclusive diagnosis: choledocholithiasis complicated by cholecystitis, suppurative cholangitis and biliary pancreatitis. I got an emergency cholecystectomy with IOCP. Then the day after the cholecystectomy, things plugged up again and they wound up doing two more ERCP's with further stone/sludge extraction and TWO stent placements: common duct and right hepatic duct. I gather I was a mess. The internist told me that I was going into acute multiple organ failure when they finally started doing curative things.
    I always know where I am. I'm right here.

  8. #8
    Registered User 2015 Lady Thru-Hiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Another Kevin View Post
    About 18 years ago, so ERCP was commonplace. But by the time they decided that ERCP was warranted, they were telling me that the likely outcome of ERCP was palliative stent placement, since with the weird ultrasound indications (no stones visualized, but dilated ducts and fluid around the gallbladder) they thought a mass was impinging on the ducts. The gastroenterologist was astonished to find that he needed to do sphincterotomy and stone extraction just to pass the scope. They also had me scheduled for a HIDA scan, but cancelled the nuc med order because the ERCP had given a conclusive diagnosis: choledocholithiasis complicated by cholecystitis, suppurative cholangitis and biliary pancreatitis. I got an emergency cholecystectomy with IOCP. Then the day after the cholecystectomy, things plugged up again and they wound up doing two more ERCP's with further stone/sludge extraction and TWO stent placements: common duct and right hepatic duct. I gather I was a mess. The internist told me that I was going into acute multiple organ failure when they finally started doing curative things.
    I've seen gallbladders taken out that had sludge so thick it looked like gelatin . I can only imagine how lousy you must have been feeling before they finally found the right answer. So glad they finally got on the right track with things for you
    ““Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees....” ― John Muir

  9. #9
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    Kidney Stones are (according to two doctors I've spoken to) the most painful natural experience a body will go through. Not peeing them out, thats uncomfortable, but the pain associated with them inside the Kidney. I've had them twice... and agree. I've had gall bladder issues but I've been tested twice and the doc says its not stones. Both are on my list of "this would really suck on the trail".

    A friend of mine had a kidney stone on night two of a four day AT hike. That would be a rough night in the tent!
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  10. #10
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    I had my gallbladder taken out at the ripe old age of 22. My surgeon who had done well over a thousand of this type of surgery said that he had only seen gallstones in someone as young as me one other time...and that other case was his daughter

    On a side note, in 2003 when I had that surgery, my surgeon held the record for being the oldest person to summit Mt. Everest (his record has since been broken). This made for some very fun talk during the consultations.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

  11. #11
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    A good friend of mine was a regular on the lithotripsy table for kidney stones until he started taking an herbal product called Chanca Piedra. I am pretty sure it is supposed to work for gall stones as well. He takes it daily and has not had a recurrence in a number of years since he started taking it. I had a 9mm stone removed surgically and 1 mm was left behind which the doc said was embedded and would remain there. A month later, while Iwas taking Chanca Piedra, there was no sign of it. It's worth a try. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...ea%2Caps%2C593

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