Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What's Inside Me (Literally)

I mentioned in my last post that I've had issues with a kidney stone.  I was putting that mildly.  The stone was impacted and blocked all drainage from my kidney for months.  Because of this, I've lost over half of the function in that kidney (the other one is fine).  I've also had some complications from this, namely that my health started going to wonky about 9 months ago (so guess when they think the kidney stone started giving me issues).

I blew a blood vessel behind my right retina and had other minor hemorrhaging behind the left which gave me a flashy afterimage in my right vision.  I've been seeing a vitreoretinal specialist (retina doctor) for it since then.  I have just gotten the all clear that this has been resolved!

I have also just seen my neurologist (I've had migraines for years).  This wasn't entirely due to the kidney stone issues (although I only started seeing a neurologist once my migraines changed character about 9 months ago - notice a theme?) and this visit was a routine checkup.  I had a CT scan of my brain done when I first started seeing my doctor (it was normal) and asked for a copy of it (how could I pass up a picture of my brain to hang up in my office?).  I recently started playing with the data and have a great 3D rendering of my skull (the rotation is slow, but once it's loaded you can slide the play bar back-and-forth to rotate it as you like):

I've also just seen my urologist again.  It seems that everything has smoothed out for the time being (hooray!) , but we need to check the function of my damaged kidney again early next year to make sure that it isn't getting worse.  For your viewing pleasure, I have also made a nice 3D rendering of the CT I had done in the emergency room when they found the stone.  This video is after I was injected with contrast to make my kidneys and urinary tract light up (I also drank contrast to make my intestines light up as well since they thought I may have had appendicitis).  Notice that my right kidney is smaller than my left, that there isn't anything coming out of the right kidney and, if you look closely, you can see my 7 x 4 mm stone stuck between my kidney and bladder (they eventually had to go in, break it up with a laser and pull it out):

As you can imagine, I've had a busy few days in doctors offices.  This week, I am finishing plans for a teacher professional development workshop that I am leading on the 23rd.  I have learned a lot to share with you ['cause I know that this is right up your alley :) ]!

P.S.  Playing the physicist nerd card really helps in getting copies of scans like this!  :)