February 23, 2017 | Cancer
Its been a long time since I’ve written anything here. The short of it is that my left kidney is damaged and the ureter (the tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder) collapsed. That meant that my kidney backed up and suffered more damage. Its now processing at about 4% effectiveness. Kidneys are considered a lost cause when they reach 10% effectiveness.
I’ve been living with some form of drainage tube for a significant portion of the last year. First a drain to siphon fluid buildup after my RPLND, then a stent to open up the damaged ureter to help my kidney recover.
If you’re not familiar with a ureteral stent, then pray this is your only association with it. Picture a tube, pigtails on both ends, one end in your kidney, the other in your bladder. Now imagine it rubbing on your bladder. All day. No matter how you sit, walk, or lie. The techs who put it in will tell you that you’ll not feel it at all, that everything will be normal.
There’s not a single part of your day where you don’t notice it. My kidney would constantly hurt. And where it rubs in the bladder would hit a nerve that would send pain from my prostate to the tip of my penis. Somehow in all of that it would make my butthole feel hot. I’d pee sitting down so that I could double over and wince and not worry about having to hit a target. And also so that others wouldn’t see my cry in the bathroom.
Yesterday the stent was removed and that was… awful.
No anesthesia, just a washing of iodine, a bit of numbing gel and lube before a probe is pushed up the urethra. Initially it is uncomfortable but tolerable. Then it had to pass the prostate. And the prostate didn’t want to let it by without a fight. The feeling of it popping in to my bladder was jarring.
I got to watch all this on the TV. I could equate bumps, scrapes and prods inside my body to what I was seeing on the monitor.
Fluid was pumped in to my bladder to inflate it. The doctor poked around a bit, she looked like she’s playing a video game. She found the end of the stent and then I saw it. A claw started to protrude in to view. It’s kinda horrifying to watch this claw open and close inside my bladder. All I could think of was that claw grabbing the inside of my bladder and how painful it would be. You could have bounced a quarter off of me I was so tense.
After a few tries the doc got a hold of the end of the stent. Then I’m told to hold on. The doc pulled and retracted everything out.
But the stent slipped. We got to do it again.
It doesn’t get easier or less comfortable the 2nd time. This time though everything came out in one swift motion.
But I’m not done. My bladder was full, I was covered in iodine, and all I wanted to do, more than anything else in the world, was pee. But the doctor wanted at this point to tell me everything I should do to recover and blah blah blah…
I finally got to a bathroom. I’ve got wet towels to clean up with and a towel to dry off with. But I had to pee.
And I was terrified to pee.
I’ve had things jammed up my urethra before. You end up with small abrasions on the inside and the urine burns… it burns so much. But I had to pee. But the Iodine was slippery… and I was soaked in it around my waist. So I couldn’t just sit and pee. I had to concentrate on not falling off the throne. Fortunately I was able to suppress any vocalization of pain when I finally peed. Though I’m sure they’re used to hearing weird sounds coming from the bathroom.
I finally got that over with and start wiping up. Everything is cleaning up nicely. But lo and behold I forgot to lock the bathroom door! So I also got a little face to face time with a nurse as she blundered in on me washing my junk.
I’m home now. I watched How I Met Your Mother episodes all afternoon and sat as still as I could on the couch. Peeing still hurts. Oddly enough, so does pooping, but I think that’s ‘cause my prostate is unhappy as well. As is my kidney. They’ll all probably hurt through tomorrow. I don’t go back to work ‘till Monday, so there’s that.
All in all I give the experience a big thumbs down.
I hope now that this is the last I have to worry about the kidney. If the ureter stays open I’ll be fine. The kidney can simply process what it can and we’ll all live happily ever after. If it collapses again we’ll need to keep an eye on it over the years.
The best part is, though, that I immediately feel more human. No more constant pressure on the inside of my bladder. I feel like I can rejoin the world again. And that’s precisely what I plan to do.
This post is part of the thread: The Wailing Wookiee – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.