I had my first kidney infection (in my right kidney) in July 2010. It was the most painful infection I’d ever experienced. I’d had many UTIs throughout adulthood, but the kidney infection was pretty horrible. I had another one a month later.
In 2012, I had another infection, but the pain never completely went away after the infection was gone. I suspected that maybe I had a kidney stone. A CT scan showed that I did, and it was 1 cm.
I had no insurance at the time, so I made an appointment at LSU Shreveport’s urology department. The plan was to put a stent in and come back and a week later for lithotipsy. But when the doctors were putting the stent in, they saw that it was actually a calcification located in the upper calyx of the right kidney. The doctor said it was likely something I was born with and had calcified due to the infections. “It is not in the collection system. It won’t cause any pain. It will never come out.”
But it was causing pain, or so I thought. I’ve had off and on pain since then. When I was able to get health insurance in March 2015, I brought it up to my primary doctor, who referred me to a urologist.
The urologist said the stone was in the collection system, but inside of a diverticulum (pouch). In June 2015, he placed a stent in my right ureter. The plan was to keep it in for 2 weeks, then go back in and cut out the stone. The stent caused horrible pain. I ended up in the emergency room because I couldn’t handle the pain. My urologist was in the hospital at the time and saw me in the ER. He moved my procedure up a week.
That procedure didn’t work. The urologist was able to see that the calcification was up “in the meat.” If he had tried to cut it out, he could’ve damaged the kidney.
The five weeks that followed was horrible. The pain was so bad.
My urologist couldn’t give me an answer about why the pain continued and had become an every day thing. He sent me for a CT with contrast. After looking at the results, he guessed that it was chronic inflammation.
In November 2015, I was diagnosed with a kidney infection by my primary. It was horrible.
In December, I thought I had another infection, but my urinalysis was clear. My primary sent me for an IVP, which is a series of xrays done while dye moves through the kidneys to the bladder.
Primary doctor just told me what I already knew when he saw the results… that I had a calcification in my upper calyx. I was completely discouraged. The pain was debilitating.
But then my urologist saw the xrays at my appointment on 12/22/15. He saw what he thinks is a UPJ obstruction. He showed my husband and me the xray. What we saw was that the right ureter had what looked like thread in it. The dye had pooled inside of the kidney and was coming out slowly through a very narrow opening.
On 12/30/15, I will have a renal scan. If it confirms that there is a UPJ obstruction, then we will discuss laparoscopic, robotic-assisted surgery.