Friday, September 23, 2011

Lithotripsy This Week

One of the great joys of Crohns Disease is the multitude of problems that it can cause to your health in general.

I've had three small bowel resections and the lack of intestine has led to my being hypercalcemic with high blood calcium (hypercalcemia), which in turn causes a large incidence of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

This week a stone in my left kidney had grown way to large to pass on it's own, so I checked into the hospital for lithotripsy, which is performed under general anesthesia in a surgical setting. Essentially, what lithotripsy does is focus sound waves on the kidney stone, and after approximately an hour, the stone disintegrates into small easily passed pieces. Well, usually easily passed pieces.
I currently have a large chunk of stone that is causing a lot of pain on my left side, but hopefully it will pass soon!

Crohns Disease, kidney stones, hypercalcemia....all part of the big picture, and all part of living with this disease. But, it's been a good week, life is a blessing, and there is never a dull moment!

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My Crohn's Experience: Introduction

My Crohn's experience started when I was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease at the age of 15, during a time when very little was known about this debilitating illness, and drug treatment options were few. In this blog I would like to recount my nearly 40 years of experiences with this illness; the good, the bad, and the ugly, and discuss current medications available to treat Crohn's Disease, such as Humira, Remicade, 6-MP, Prednisone, and others.

Crohn's Disease is classified as an inflammatory illness which is caused by the body's immune system attacking healthy cells in the intestinal tract, which can lead to intestinal blockage, rupture, sepsis and death if left untreated.

I have had three intestinal resections due to Crohn's Disease and the last nearly cost me my life. I say this not to be dramatic, but to raise awareness that ignoring symptoms can lead to serious consequences. In 1999, I had what I knew was a serious flareup, but instead of checking into the hospital for treatment, I tried to ignore my symptoms. I ended up in the ER with a 105 degree fever, semi-conscious from septic shock, with a heartbeat in lethal arrhythmia and requiring CPR. My intestine had broken open and the septic shock had set in. I spent four days in the ICU after having major surgery to repair my intestine, followed by IV medicines to fight infection. The doctors did not expect me to survive the night, but somehow I did, and I share all of this in order to tell you that if you suspect something is wrong, and you have a high fever and severe abdominal pain, RUN, do not walk, to your local ER. Call 911 if necessary, but definitely do not take chances. Get to a hospital pronto!