Monthly Archives: April 2015

Kidney stone update 

after a horribly painful afternoon was followed by other unsettling symptoms, my daughter took me into the ER. There I got further confirmation of Kidney stones but also great news. A cat scan shows only one small kidney stone to pass which I will be able to pass without any surgery or procedure. The bad news is they said size doesn’t make much difference as far as pain is concerned, but for me, knowing the seriousness of it will make a huge difference.  The pain without the fear is something I can handle, especially with the pain pills they have prescribed. I get on a 15 hour flight in 2 days, it’s good to know that I will be ok on it. 

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Kidney stones – a case in what I don’t know, won’t hurt me?

This post has nothing to do with PsA, but this page has become more my general health post, with PsA being my main but not only struggle.  I have had a confusion few weeks healthwise and find it all hard to explain and to understand, so here it goes, me trying to do both within my blog.

About 3 weeks ago I went in and asked my doctor about getting something preventative for my migraines, to see if I might get something to help with them before I went to Europe.  My doctor being out of the office for maternity leave I wound up seeing a Nurse Practitioner, who I love because she really listens.  A few days after taking the medicine, Topamax, I had what I thought was a horrible reaction.  It felt as if I had been hit by a truck in my lower back, with pain radiating throughout my torso.  I had severe nausea, and was vomiting.  This lasted two days, over the weekend.  Then it subsided and the same pain but not as severe kept me up the following night.  I went in and told the NP and asked her to be taken off the medicine.  She said it didn’t sound like a side effect from the medicine, but quartered the meds and kept me on them.  I was kept up two additional nights so I returned.  She said she thought it was kidney stones and not the meds and ordered an Xray.  I got a call back in two days, saying I had bilateral kidney stones and to start a medication they had ready for pick up right away.  I did.  They also had me schedule a follow up for this morning, which I went to.

The NP said their were several spots on both sides of my kidneys that were most likely kidney stones but she couldn’t tell how big they were, so she wanted to do some further tests today, so that I could have procedures if needed before I leave for Europe next week.  At this point, I asked her if I could have some opiates for the plane ride, just in case I happened to pass a stone on the plane.  She said of course.

Then she went to schedule the appointment, leaving the door open.  I heard a mans voice asking if a patient had just asked for opiates, and heard the NP explaining the situation.  I then here this man, who doesn’t know me say, “oh I bet its just muscular and she is fine”  he then comes into the room and jabs his finger in my back and I say “ouch” and he hollars to the NP in the other room, See, just superficial muscular pain, and says to me, I bet your urine test comes out with no blood in it as well.  Maybe you hurt your muscle.  And he leaves.

She comes back into the room, closes the door, says she can’t give me anything but muscle relaxers and can’t schedule the tests because the doctor (who doesn’t know me, hasn’t spoken to me, and doesn’t sound like he has glanced at my charts) says its just a sore muscle.  I explain that I have PsA and he could have jabbed my leg and it would have hurt, and what would that have proven.  She seems to understand, tells me to please keep taking the Kidney stone medicine that will help them pass less painfully, and that there was blood in my urine which is consistent with kidney stones and that she is sending the sample in for a culture to make sure I don’t have an infection.

I FEEL like the doctor saw me as a drug seeking addict so rejected my pain right out.  Maybe that wasn’t it, maybe this NP has a history of ordering unnecessary tests, but the dismissive way he treated me, I left feeling horrible.  I live in a great amount of pain.  I was a dancer.  I know what a pulled muscle or sore muscle feels like.  I would not confuse a pull muscle with pain this intense.

What do I do now? Do I just let it go since I am being treated for a kidney stone anyways? Do I go back and see her if it gets bad again?  Should I just go to the ER if it gets that intense?  Heck, I don’t even know if I have kidney stones are not at this point, but I know I don’t just have a sore back muscle.  I suppose I should not have asked for the opiates for the plane, but the pain I am having can be so incredibly intense I just can’t imagine having it while stuck in the air.  I have both hypochondria and drug addiction in my family and I feel like this doctor has just accused me of one of the other, and I am feeling embarrassed and ashamed, and the last thing I want to do is go back there.  Has anyone else with pain ever felt like a doctor was treating them like a drug addict?

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My Current thoughts of Medicine Vs. Alternative Health

Over the years my thoughts on alternative health and western medicine have changed, but for the most part, I have always leaned towards alternative health whenever possible and thought of traditional contemporary medicine as a necessary evil.

I tried healing my migraines on my own, with books, herbs, miracle cures, elimination diets, hormone therapy, vegetarianism, expensive naturalist doctors.  I tried to cure my arthritis with alternative therapies, glutton free, nightshade free, Chinese herbalists, more calcium, no calcium, a dozen different suppliments, fun fasts of only vinegar and lemon, and weird combos like a liter of mixed olive oil, stale soda, apple cider vinegar and citrus, advice form native american healers, advice for childhood friends who tried something that worked for them.  What I found out its that somethings helped.  Somethings helped more.  But nothing helped a lot.

Finally I was walking with a cane and could no longer use my hands to create my art and my rheumatologist, whom I had been avoiding, told me my illness was acting very aggressively and she was concerned if I didn’t start aggressive treatment I would be permanently disabled or even possibly blind within months.  She suggested if I wasn’t happy with her (and I wasn’t, she seemed to always want to throw pain pills at the problem) to go get another doctor.  I started meds with her and eventually went to go see another doctor.  Just a couple of months after taking the meds my cane went in the closet for good, and I soon started knitting and crocheting with my before useless hands.  There were side effects, and slip backs and I wound up changing my medication thrice and my doctor once before finding a combo of doctor and medicine that worked for me.  I found finding the right doctor made all the difference. I needed a doctor that understood I wanted to take the last possible medicine with the least possible effect to my personality and brain.  Communication was so important here.  It was my job to let my doctor know I would rather be able to think as clearly as possible than to be pain free, and my new doctor shared my goals of living with pain pills if possible.  I take one main Medicine for my arthritis now, and have for years.  Its a serious one.  Its a hassle, its a long drive, takes all day, and its an IV that makes me panicky when I get it.  But with it, I can hike, and dance, and paint.  I don’t live without pain.  I have pain every day.  But this is where the alternative treatment helps.  Nothing is better on the pain that massage.  I take turmeric and bee pollen every day.  Neither alone did much, but working with the Remicade they both seem to help.

I am just recovering from a severe episode of asthma I treated both medically and holistically, and now I am focusing on my migraines.  I have had migraines since I was a child.  I have had 2-6 a week for the last 15 years, in which time I have tried every alternative medicine, and treatment you can imagine.  I have come to the conclusion that my head doesn’t hurt do to my bodies lack of apple cider vinegar, or salutations to the sun, nor am I eating too many bagels (maybe I am, but thats not what is causing the migraines) or too much diet soda (I am not saying these things aren’t causing or might help with  your headaches, just not mine).  I went to the doctor.  She put me on a pretty strong preventative medication with the possibility of nasty side effects but also the possibility of working.  Here again, communication is so important.  It seemed to start working right away.  In the last three weeks I have had three mild migraines and still not taking the full dose, but also I seemed to have horrible horrible side effects.  Unbearable pain in my torso.

It turns out the pain in my torso is not a side effect at all, but something new, kidney stones.  In the past two days I have found out that ionized water, apple cider vinegar cocktail, lemon juice, a rare herb tea, a raw foods diet, an expensive lecture series can all get rid of my kidney stones.  But I have a plane to catch, so I will take the pill the doctor gave me.  And a shot of apple cider vinegar on the side, if you will.

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