At the International Kidney Stone Institute, our goal is nothing less than the cure.
Shortly after graduating from college, I was on a business trip, when late one evening, without warning, my abdomen began to hurt. After a restless night in bed, I decided to go to a local hospital emergency room to see if they could determine the source of my pain. The problem turned out to be my first kidney stone, which was ultimately removed via cystoscope.
Over the years that followed, I experienced many re-occurrences, as many as a couple stones each month. My urologist, though extremely helpful in removing stones that I was unable to pass, offered virtually no hope for any long-term solution to my problem except to suggest that I increase my daily intake of water in an attempt to eliminate the conditions in my kidneys that supported the crystallization of calcium oxalate stones.
One day, I happened upon a mention in <em>Prevention Magazine </em> about a program at the University of Chicago 's Pritzker School of Medicine dedicated to research into kidney stone prevention. The principal proponent of the program was internist Fredric Coe, M.D. When I sent Dr. Coe a written history of the problems I had experienced, he agreed to see me at the university.
My visit with Dr. Coe in February 2000 was simply the first time I had ever encountered anyone who offered any hope that I might once again lead a life in which kidney stones were not a consideration. Based on my urine and blood test results, Dr. Coe placed me on the diuretic Chlorthalidone and the potassium supplement UROCIT-K. My tests seemed to indicate that my kidney functions were entirely within normal ranges. Dr. Coe told me that they had learned that Chlorthalidone had proven very effective in preventing the production of calcium oxalate stones in patients whose kidney functions appeared to be essentially normal.
Dr. Coe recommended a couple of surgeons who might be able to surgically remove the existing stones in my kidneys if the medication he had prescribed did not prevent existing stones from moving out of my kidneys and into my urethras. Unfortunately, the medication did not work effectively for me, so I had to have a stone removed via cystoscope in March 2000.
After he reviewed my case, Demetrius H. Bagley, M.D., FACS at Thomas Jefferson University 's Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia , recommended that I see James Lingeman, M.D. at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis , IN for a new procedure called percutaneous lithotripsy.
My experience with Dr. Lingeman, his staff, and the doctors and staff of Methodist Hospital was the best surgical experience of my life. Never had I been made to feel so confident in the people who would be taking care of me. After my treatment, I flew home to Greenville, leaving more than 50 kidney stones behind at Methodist Hospital. Throughout my stay, I was made to feel that I was everyone's number one concern.
Since the surgery more than five years ago, I have passed two stone fragments and one stone.
Three stones were recently discovered in one of my kidneys and Dr. Bagley, my current physician, recommended a few changes in my diet with possible lithotripsy treatment to remove any additional stones.
Although somewhat disappointed to find that there was minimal stone formation in my kidneys, my perspective is that I've gone from two stones per month to one stone of any consequence in five years. I am heartened by the fact that I'm probably being seen by one of the finest urologists in the country, who subscribes to the philosophies of Dr. Coe and Dr. Lingeman. I believe that their technology and research have paved a road that will allow me to maintain a situation in which I am either completely or nearly kidney stone-free.
It's hard for me to over-emphasize the impact of the contribution that researchers like Dr. Coe, Dr. Lingeman, and Dr. Bagley have made to the prevention of pain and suffering in folks like me. I was very pleased to offer this testimonial to the International Kidney Stone Institute with the hope that many others with a history similar to mine will use it as a starting point to reclaim their lives.