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Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 7:27 pm
by SRO1911
Looking for some advice or input from the btdt crowd.
For background, certain childhood events left me with less than great kidneys.
Had my first kidney stone at the age of 20. over the last 15 years it has been a recurring issue - I am currently working on passing #20 something 25-26 I think.
while stones are one of the more painful things a person can experience, after a few you realize you will survive. This one started normally then symptoms dramatically changed so to the Dr I went. (I don't go for all anymore, I can usually tell the size as soon as it starts moving - less than a 5ish and it's just ibuprofen - water - hot tub)
CT showed a 3.5mm, easy pass - and out on the edge a mass of gall stones
second ct targeted at gall bladder showed numerous (roo closely packed to count) stones from sand to nickel sized.
Dr is suggesting removing gall bladder and one kidney that is almost non functional.

Have any of you had a kidney removal? Gall bladder is fairly commonplace, and feedback is appreciated there as well - but the kidney scares me.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:00 pm
by mrvmax
I have one large gall stone, so large it will never pass. I've never experienced pain that was as bad as when I had a gall bladder attack. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was an 11. The doctors/surgeons suggested removing it since that's the easiest thing to do. I'm opposed to having anything removed unless necessary so I refused (my primary care accepted it but two different surgeons acted like I was crazy when I said I wasn't going to have it removed). I changed my diet as stopped eating what irritates my gall bladder and so far I've been fine. I may have to have it removed one day or I may never need it, only time will tellbut I'm fine now.
My advice is to never trust the doctors to always spend the time to research and present you with the ideal option. The majority of doctors I've had in my life tend to offer the easiest options which are usually the most common ones - it's easier to do what everyone else does than to take time to research.. I would research, pray and continue to find others in a similar spot and take your time deciding if possible. Ask the doctors lots of questions, make them explain in detail what they suggest and question them. Look for alternative options and ask them about those. There are doctors in the Houston area that don't always take traditional routes (Dr. Hotze, Dr. Gilati, Dr. Clark in Webster) but none of these specialize where you are having problems. I would exhaust all avenues before deciding but that's my nature.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:23 pm
by bmwrdr
I had kidney failure in 2012 and was referred to Dr. Smith in Lewisville, TX. He takes/ took almost any sort of health insurance. Below is a link to his profile.

http://northtexaskidney.com/physicians-v2/matthew-smith/

I wish you good luck and as another fellow member mentioned, explore your opportunities before having internals removed.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Fri Sep 22, 2017 8:51 pm
by rotor
mrvmax wrote:I have one large gall stone, so large it will never pass. I've never experienced pain that was as bad as when I had a gall bladder attack. On a scale of 1 to 10 it was an 11. The doctors/surgeons suggested removing it since that's the easiest thing to do. I'm opposed to having anything removed unless necessary so I refused (my primary care accepted it but two different surgeons acted like I was crazy when I said I wasn't going to have it removed). I changed my diet as stopped eating what irritates my gall bladder and so far I've been fine. I may have to have it removed one day or I may never need it, only time will tellbut I'm fine now.
My advice is to never trust the doctors to always spend the time to research and present you with the ideal option. The majority of doctors I've had in my life tend to offer the easiest options which are usually the most common ones - it's easier to do what everyone else does than to take time to research.. I would research, pray and continue to find others in a similar spot and take your time deciding if possible. Ask the doctors lots of questions, make them explain in detail what they suggest and question them. Look for alternative options and ask them about those. There are doctors in the Houston area that don't always take traditional routes (Dr. Hotze, Dr. Gilati, Dr. Clark in Webster) but none of these specialize where you are having problems. I would exhaust all avenues before deciding but that's my nature.

The problem with GB disease is that once you get an attack and it becomes inflamed there is scarring and subsequent surgery becomes much harder and more dangerous. So, the ideal thing is do it while it is not acute (and therefore safe) and not wait for a disaster later on. Relatively easy to do laparoscopically and you go home the same day. Everyone in my family seems to develop GB disease and I have expected it for me but sonograms have been negative. I personally would have it out if I had stones and have it done before I got in trouble. I don't know as much about non-functioning kidneys but from what I have heard this is relatively minor laparoscopically also.

What is the "ideal option"? Ideal for me would be never needing any surgery but in my 74 years I have had my share and wouldn't be typing this without having surgery. I trust my doctors. Many are personal friends. I hate to see this constant "don't trust your" doctor, LEO, attorney, mechanic, fill in the blank yourself. There are also a bunch of alternative medicine doctors and these are the ones that I don't trust. Same for chiropractors that sell you a package of xrays and will manipulate you to cure "disease" that really doesn't exist. Now I do know ethical chiropractors personally too but they are not spending the big $$ on advertising.

So, nobody "wants" surgery but sometimes it is better to have it before it becomes a real problem. Much nicer to present an easy surgery to the doctor to one that has been made more difficult (and complicated) by waiting. All your choice. Gall bladder disease can kill you though.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 9:12 am
by mcscanner
SRO1911,

I can't speak to the kidney issue, but I did have my GB out several years back. Not for stones, but sluggish performance. It seems it was slowing down the digestive process by not dumping bile in the food stream fast enough.

For me, day surgery and about 3 weeks recovery to get my energy back. I was told to limit my fat consumption. No down side for me and the missing GB. Digestive process speeded up and late night meals don't leave me with upset stomach at 3AM.

Good Luck,
Mike

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:00 pm
by JustSomeOldGuy
rotor wrote:I hate to see this constant "don't trust your" doctor, LEO, attorney, mechanic, fill in the blank yourself.


Trust, but verify? :mrgreen:
All kidding aside, anytime they want to cut on you, a second opinion is not a bad thing.

(edited once for a typo)

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:08 pm
by Abraham
I had my gall bladder yanked out a few years ago as it was causing me pain, tested and found to be on the verge of going completely off line...

My surgeon told me of folks who fail to get them removed in time and often show up in emergency rooms with all the symptoms of a heart attack.

The surgery was done laproscopically.

It was a breeze.

Heck, I felt fine as soon as I woke up and had zero post op complications or weakness.

If you need your gall bladder removed do so. Don't agonize. Do it.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 12:40 pm
by anygunanywhere
I had my GB removed 2 years ago. I had experienced constant pain in my belly for 5 months so I figured I better get it looked at. Tests showed my GB was working fine, no gallstones. It had calcified, a condition referred to as porcelain gall bladder. My condition had a higher risk of GB cancer which has a 5 year survival rate of 3%. I had it removed almost immediately.

Many people experience long term issues after GB removal. I do but then again I also suffer from FODMAP (look it up) so I have to be near the potty after I eat most of the time anyway.

Prayers for you and your kidneys.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:24 pm
by The Annoyed Man
If you have time - meaning, if this is not an emergency surgery - I would get more information....maybe even a 2nd opinion....on removing that kidney. Once it's gone, you're down to one, and if that one goes bad, you're hosed. You DON'T want to be on the transplant list if you don't have to be. Mind you, I am NOT suggesting you not have the kidney removed. What I am suggesting is that you don't do without first being fully informed about all the options. Once they take it out, they can't put it back in, and you can't get on the transplant list when you still have one functioning kidney.

The other thing I would address, if you haven't already, is to investigate WHY your body is producing so many kidney stones. The presence of gall bladder stones is most likely only peripherally linked to the reason for so many kidney stones.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about the origins of gallstones:
It's not clear what causes gallstones to form. Doctors think gallstones may result when:

  • Your bile contains too much cholesterol. Normally, your bile contains enough chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol excreted by your liver. But if your liver excretes more cholesterol than your bile can dissolve, the excess cholesterol may form into crystals and eventually into stones.

  • Your bile contains too much bilirubin. Bilirubin is a chemical that's produced when your body breaks down red blood cells. Certain conditions cause your liver to make too much bilirubin, including liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and certain blood disorders. The excess bilirubin contributes to gallstone formation.

  • Your gallbladder doesn't empty correctly. If your gallbladder doesn't empty completely or often enough, bile may become very concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones.

None of those things have anything to do with kidney function.

Here's what the Mayo Clinic says about the origins of kidney stones:
Causes

Kidney stones often have no definite, single cause, although several factors may increase your risk.

Kidney stones form when your urine contains more crystal-forming substances — such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid — than the fluid in your urine can dilute. At the same time, your urine may lack substances that prevent crystals from sticking together, creating an ideal environment for kidney stones to form.

Types of kidney stones

Knowing the type of kidney stone helps determine the cause and may give clues on how to reduce your risk of getting more kidney stones. If possible, try to save your kidney stone if you pass one so that you can bring it to your doctor for analysis.

Types of kidney stones include:

  • Calcium stones. Most kidney stones are calcium stones, usually in the form of calcium oxalate. Oxalate is a naturally occurring substance found in food and is also made daily by your liver. Some fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts and chocolate, have high oxalate content.

    Dietary factors, high doses of vitamin D, intestinal bypass surgery and several metabolic disorders can increase the concentration of calcium or oxalate in urine.

    Calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate. This type of stone is more common in metabolic conditions, such as renal tubular acidosis. It may also be associated with certain migraine headaches or with taking certain seizure medications, such as topiramate (Topamax).

  • Struvite stones. Struvite stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. These stones can grow quickly and become quite large, sometimes with few symptoms or little warning.

  • Uric acid stones. Uric acid stones can form in people who don't drink enough fluids or who lose too much fluid, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those who have gout. Certain genetic factors also may increase your risk of uric acid stones.

  • Cystine stones. These stones form in people with a hereditary disorder that causes the kidneys to excrete too much of certain amino acids (cystinuria).

I'm not a doctor, so I wouldn't dream of diagnosing any of your issues; but if I were in your shoes, in addition to any recommended pharmacological or surgical remedies, I would definitely want to know what kind of dietary changes I could make to stop my body from making stones going forward. Perhaps you've already done all of that, in which case please forgive me for mentioning it. But there has to be some kind of fundamental underlying problem of chemistry, which causes your body to produce stones at an abnormal rate. If there is, then there has to be a way to stop or at least reduce it.

I wish you the best of luck, and improved health.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 2:31 pm
by bblhd672
As my ex-wife discovered- letting gall bladder issues go too long can lead to pancreas problems.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:23 pm
by philip964
bblhd672 wrote:As my ex-wife discovered- letting gall bladder issues go too long can lead to pancreas problems.


I can only tell you my experiences with myself and loved ones.

I didn't know you can pass a gall stone. My 40 year old brother in law tried to. He just knew he was in pain in his stomach area. Felt bad for a few days, complained a lot, wife finally got tired of the complaining and took him to the ER. They said it was indigestion and sent him home.
Two days later still feeling bad, wife took him to his primary care physician. They took one look at him and called an ambulance. He was very close to death. It was a week before, we knew if the was going to live. The gall stone got stuck on the way out. Destroyed his pancreas, so now he is a diabetic, but both his kidneys survived and he is alive. It was 3 months before he could return to work. His wife was also pregnant at the time. So pay attention to gall stone attacks.

My mom suffered from gall stones for some time, finally got it removed. Five years later she died of pancreatic cancer. Is there a relationship? I don't know.

Passed my first kidney stone, when it just plopped in the toilet. No pain nothing. Second, well that was different. Got it blown up with a friggen laser they stuck up, well you don't want to know. My wife's first stone was at 19 second was 3 months after we married. It's sort of an ordinary event at our house. My son now has them he is 35. Got a 1cm stone blown up with a laser. He had four removed with that one surgery. So it's genes. Drink bottled water with low minerals, drive a sports car and ride roller coasters are my only suggestions for kidney stones. ( hard rides break them off before they get too big)

Gall bladders pay attention to.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:52 pm
by The Annoyed Man
philip964 wrote:My mom suffered from gall stones for some time, finally got it removed. Five years later she died of pancreatic cancer. Is there a relationship? I don't know.

My dad never had gallstones once in his life, but he did spend a week or two in the hospital with pancreatitis once........about 2 years before he died of pancreatic cancer.

My intuition - such as it is - leads me to wonder if there isn't some underlying general condition which would cause one's body to produce stones in two unrelated systems. There's no reason to suspect a causative link between kidney stones and gall stones. But it seems to me that there is reason to suspect a causative link between either kidney or gall stones, and an unknown underlying condition.

This website says (https://www.belmarrahealth.com/gallstones-vs-kidney-stones-common-risk-connection-treatment-and-prevention/):
A study outlined that those who develop kidney stones have a higher risk of developing gallstones and vice versa. Obesity, diabetes and an unhealthy diet have been linked to the development of stones, but when researchers took those factors into consideration the association still remained.

Even though an association has been found, researchers are still puzzled about what links the two conditions because they have very difference causes – gallstones require cholesterol and kidney stones require minerals.

The researchers analyzed three different long-term studies of nurses and doctors who completed health and lifestyle questionnaires. More than 240,000 participants were followed for 14 to 24 years. Approximately 5,100 cases of kidney stones developed along with 18,500 cases of gallstones.

The researchers found that in those with a history of gallstones there was a 26 to 36 percent higher likelihood of developing kidney stones. A prior history of kidney stones increased the risk of developing gallstones by 17 to 51 percent.

Although the association between the two conditions is still unclear, it’s important that individuals use preventative methods to reduce the risk of both.

As both gallstones and kidney stones have similar prevention methods, staying hydrated, eating well – reducing cholesterol – and exercising are all integral ways to lower your risk of both.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:09 pm
by mrvmax
rotor wrote:The problem with GB disease is that once you get an attack and it becomes inflamed there is scarring and subsequent surgery becomes much harder and more dangerous. So, the ideal thing is do it while it is not acute (and therefore safe) and not wait for a disaster later on. Relatively easy to do laparoscopically and you go home the same day. Everyone in my family seems to develop GB disease and I have expected it for me but sonograms have been negative. I personally would have it out if I had stones and have it done before I got in trouble. I don't know as much about non-functioning kidneys but from what I have heard this is relatively minor laparoscopically also.

What is the "ideal option"? Ideal for me would be never needing any surgery but in my 74 years I have had my share and wouldn't be typing this without having surgery. I trust my doctors. Many are personal friends. I hate to see this constant "don't trust your" doctor, LEO, attorney, mechanic, fill in the blank yourself. There are also a bunch of alternative medicine doctors and these are the ones that I don't trust. Same for chiropractors that sell you a package of xrays and will manipulate you to cure "disease" that really doesn't exist. Now I do know ethical chiropractors personally too but they are not spending the big $$ on advertising.

So, nobody "wants" surgery but sometimes it is better to have it before it becomes a real problem. Much nicer to present an easy surgery to the doctor to one that has been made more difficult (and complicated) by waiting. All your choice. Gall bladder disease can kill you though.

It's also possible that I could end up like my primary care doctors father who has had gallstones for over 40 years with no issues. There are a lot of possibilities but I have weighed my options and made my choice after careful consideration. I didn't give all the details but I have problems with anesthesia so I minimize its use as much as possible. I'll also get another ultrasound this year and every year after to check for issues. My point is that most doctors I have been to give an answer off the top of their head and won't invest time researching for every person to give the ideal solution. The only doctors I've run across that did was my daughters doctor at Texas Children's and my wife's doctor. All other doctors treat patients like cattle, move them in and out as quick as possible. It's up to us to make sure we have a good picture of the options then we can choose what is best for us.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 6:13 pm
by SRO1911
Thank you all for the information so far . the kidney stones are from damage done to my kidneys as a child. best guess on the sudden arrival of gall stones is probably related to losing 40lbs in 6 months (unfortunately I've put some of it back on). rapid weight loss can cause gall issues.

I won't see my pcp until Monday if I am very fortunate, more than likely it will be tues or Wed.
(also shopping for a new pcp)

I plan on multiple opinions before I do anything that's not emergent.

Re: Gallbladder and kidney removal.

Posted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:47 pm
by rotor
mrvmax wrote: It's also possible that I could end up like my primary care doctors father who has had gallstones for over 40 years with no issues. There are a lot of possibilities but I have weighed my options and made my choice after careful consideration. I didn't give all the details but I have problems with anesthesia so I minimize its use as much as possible. I'll also get another ultrasound this year and every year after to check for issues. My point is that most doctors I have been to give an answer off the top of their head and won't invest time researching for every person to give the ideal solution. The only doctors I've run across that did was my daughters doctor at Texas Children's and my wife's doctor. All other doctors treat patients like cattle, move them in and out as quick as possible. It's up to us to make sure we have a good picture of the options then we can choose what is best for us.


Life is a gamble. The problem with a second opinions is that if it does not agree with the first opinion you don't know who is right. You definitely might go through an entire life with gallstones and never have any further problems. You also might develop scar tissue which can make surgery much more dangerous. As I mentioned my entire family seems to have a hereditary issue with GB disease and it seems to have skipped me but I personally would have it out before I got in trouble, not after. Let's say it was coronary vascular disease and your doctor said to get a stent or risk a possible heart attack. What would you do? I had the heart attack and then had the stent. When I developed symptoms 15 years later I made a fast appointment to my doc and set up a stent before I lost more heart muscle. We can all give you anecdotal stories but each of us has to make our own decisions. The problem with GB disease is that it can kill you. I don't think most doctors would suggest a wait and see attitude with gallstones. If they told you to wait and you had a complication because you waited then the attorneys start coming after the doc. You just have to decide on your own as to which is the least dangerous path to follow. Nowadays though the risk of problems with GB surgery is so small that it seems like a no-brainer. Now open surgery for GB is tough to get over.