What is a Lithotripsy?

I had a lithotripsy procedure about three weeks ago to break up a kidney stone.  I have had about 15 kidney stones in the past 7 years and but have never had this procedure before.  I did have the experience of having one stuck halfway between my kidney and my bladder one time for about 2 weeks before I went to the doctor.  The doctor had to go in there after that one and I can tell you that is a procedure that no man wants to participate in.  You are very sore after that procedure and it takes several days for the pain to begin to subside.  The lithotripsy is designed to help avoid THAT procedure which is why I was eager to sign up for it.  The doctor explained that he would use shock waves to break up the 7-8 millimeter stone in my left kidney which he was afraid would not pass on his own.  Those shock waves would reduce the stone to smaller fragments that would easily pass and the stone would be completely gone in 5-6 weeks.

I scheduled the procedure and showed up at the hospital at 10 am and I left at 2:30 pm.  They did use anesthesia to knock me out and I was okay with that.  They say that with the shock waves that are used they don’t want you jumping around because the waves could damage an internal organ and that’s not good.  Some gel pack is placed over your abdomen and the shock waves are administered with a hand held device as the doctor monitors the progress.  When I got home I could see a slightly pink round circle on my side that looked like a small rash or abrasion.  It really did not hurt.  My next instruction was to strain my urine whenever I went to the restroom and check for particles of the stone.  The doctors test these to see what they are made of and devise the appropriate plan/diet to keep you from making more.

As I checked for those fragments each time I went to the restroom I just saw dust the first couple of days.  Cool!  They smashed that stone to smithereens I thought!  Not so much.  The second week following the lithotripsy I got a familiar poke in my side.  It was that early warning sign that a stone is about to make its journey from your kidney to your bladder.  If you have ever had a kidney stone you know the feeling.  And if you have ever had a kidney stone you probably keep your briefcase or your purse stocked with a couple of pain pills and some nausea medicine just in case you ever feel that twinge again.  It ain’t no joke when you feel that poke.  This time that poke did not escalate.  There was no onset of clamminess, cramps, headache or nausea.  A few hours and a couple of glasses of water later a decent size fragment had left my body with relatively little inconvenience.

The last couple of weeks though I have had some pretty good size fragments make that journey.  The process was not as quick or easy as I had hoped.  I had a couple of nights where I tossed and turned and finally after 2-3 days passed a fragment that was 2-3 millimeters in size.  I took some pain pills in those instances.  All in all the lithotripsy has not been that bad.  None of the individual fragments I have passed have been as bad as the other stones I have had in the past.  I feel blessed in that regard.  And though it has not been as easy as I expected I have to remember that the doctor did tell me that it would take some time and he did not promise me it would be painless.  I know that ultimately I will be rid of this stone and with the right diet changes and right changes in behavior – like drinking more water, I will be less likely to make these stones.  My doctor has a good plan for me, I just need to trust him and follow doctor’s orders.  The whole situation reminds me of what Paul says in Philippians 1:6

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6

There are things that the Lord desires to do in and through all of us.  Oftentimes when we come to Him we have some issues that need to be dealt with.  Sometimes the Lord affects some changes instantaneously.  Sometimes He works slowly and deliberately.  I think He works that way so that we can better learn to lean on Him, trust in Him and walk with Him day to day.  Some issues are hard for us to let go of.  They have been with us for so long and so problematic for so long that they take some time to work through.  Some problems have to be broken up into small manageable portions for us to be able to tackle them.  If we submit ourselves to the Lord, follow His instructions for our lives and make the behavior changes that He prescribes for us, our Great Physician can affect some wondrous outcomes in our lives.  Sometimes things may be a little more painful that we want or expect, but He knows best and He can be trusted.  He who began a good work in you will complete it and perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

About pastorpstephens

I have been blessed to have served as a pastor, a chaplain and to have been involved in other ministries throughout the years. My wife Marta and I have been blessed with a wonderful family that includes our daughter, her husband and their two daughters and our son and his wife and their son. Each of them are very special to us so please keep them all in your prayers. One truth that I always try to share with people I meet is that anything God asks you to do, He will help you to do. God has your back.
This entry was posted in Christianity, faith, God, kidney stones, Lithotripsy, Philippians 1:6 and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to What is a Lithotripsy?

  1. Dotty Hartline says:

    Hi Pastor,
    I had my back surgery on 8/5 and am already home. There were a few problems but with the help of a lot of prayers, they were resolved. So now to the difficult part for me….being patient with the limits that I must follow. But I know I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

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