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Ureter Stents - My experience

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Hello Everyone!

Just thought I put a post out there because recently I have noticed that more and more of you are required or in need of a ureter stent so I thought I would share my experience with you.

My experience with this started in February of 2014 when my CT Scan showed that I had moderate left-side hydronephrosis.   At the time, my gyne/onc wanted to have a stent put in right away, but when I saw the urologist, I wasn't exhibiting any signs or symptoms in his mind that he basically released me back to my gyne/onc.  By July, after I had a PET Scan, it was revealed that not only did my hydronephrosis was still prominate, but it indicated that my left kidney was starting to shrink and there was some loss of function.  My symptoms at this time were severe headaches, fatigue, foggyness, very minimal left side pain and for the first time, I had high blood pressure constantly.   It was this time that I definitely needed a stent.   Went to a different urologist and in August 2014 had a stent placed, had a brush biopsy done, and they did a cystoscopy.

Reason for Stent

Initially, it was thought that the soft tissue mass (6 x 1.7 cm) wherein my left ureter passes through it was the cause, but after I had the stent placed, my urologist indicated that it was a long term effect from the brachythereapy I had.  The blockage was really near the bladder.   After I had my stent placed, my symptoms of headache greatly decreased. I was put on blood pressure medicines which I am still taking.

Stent procedure

It is an outpatient procedure and of course you have to do the necessary things.  Wash with antibacterial soap the night before and morning of.   I was placed in a twilight sleep.  If they couldn't put the stent in because of blockage, then they would have had to put a access port of some type in.  I am glad they didn't have to do that.   The first procedure took longer because my gyne/onc wanted a brush biopsy.   I was discharged after I voided - which burned - and sent home with three types of medicines.  One was a Flomax - to help kidneys void, one was for bladder spasms, and one was a pain medicine. - By the time I was getting my car, I was thinking oh no - I hope I don't feel like this all the time because I was feeling some burniness and had to use the restroom.    Once I got home, I layed in bed and was feeling like I didn't want to move.  I took two tylenol an sent my husband for the medicines.  By the time he came back, everything had already settled down.  I decided not to take any of the prescribed medicines.   I did fine from then.  It took about a week for the burniness to completely subside.  I think it would have been sooner if I didn't have a biopsy.

Replacement of Stent

Stents cannot stay in too long because of calcuim build up and the risk of infection.  Therefore, every three months I have to have it replaced.   I had it replaced at the end of October and just this past Wednesday, February 4th.   The replacement surgery only takes about 10-15 mintues but it is all the pre surgery stuff that takes the most time because they put you in a twilight sleep.    I did not have any burniness at all after either replacement surgery.  But before I was discharged this last time, I asked for two tylenols.   I stayed on tylenol for the evening and next day as you can feel a little uncomfortable.   With either procedure, they will use a cystoscopy.  Also, an x-ray may be used to see if the stent is placed correctly.

Preparation

Since I have to have my stent replaced every three months, before each surgery I need to have a PCP history, labs, chest-x-ray and EKG - Annoying to have it done this often.

Risk of Stent

Of course, you have the risk of the surgery itself.   However, the main risk from stents is of course infection.  You can also get blockage again.  Also, UTIs is most common.

My Procedure

The urologist just asked my husband what my gyne/onc is doing with regard to the soft tissue mass.  We are not sure.   My urologist thinks because I am handling well that we might be able to stretch it out a few more weeks before stent changes, but we will see.

The majority of stents are only to stay in on a temporary basis until the blockage has cleared usually several weeks.

Please note that this is my experience.   I do have a high tolerance to certain pain so my results may be different than others.  I just wanted to share my experience with you.

Kathy

P.S.   This procedure did in fact at the moment saved me from further kidney damage

 

Ro10's picture
Ro10
Posts: 1579
Joined: Jan 2009

Great  explanation.  I Am sure it will help others who may need this done.  Glad your replacement went well.  It is sad that side effects from treatment can happen so many years later.  But I am so glad they have treatments and procedures  to help with the side effects.

Hope  you have a comfortable weekend.  In peace and caring.

Kaleena's picture
Kaleena
Posts: 2064
Joined: Nov 2009

Thanks Ro!

I have a PET Scan and gyne/onc visit on March 4 2015.   It will show if that soft tissue mass is continuing to slowly grow and what plans the doc has for me.   I just don't want to wait too long to have it removed wherein it might have spread to other parts.  I rather get it now.  But I am not a surgeon.  

Thanks for your kindness.  You are always so thoughtful and considerate of others.    

Kathy

AWK
Posts: 364
Joined: Mar 2013

I am starting to have issues related to both the Avastin, my Mets and brachytherapy.  I have mets on kidneys and by the liver too in addition to the heart and diaphragm.  So this is something doctors are talking about but I just wasn't clear on some of the details.  I have proteins, increasing blood pressure rates, rising glucose, and constant headaches.  Most of these are probablynjust related to the Avastin treatments which they are talking about stopping if the symptoms continue.  Next round of scans are in a few weeks.  In the meantime I am being tested now for Ca19-9 on top of Ca125 and other things.  Despite it all I actually feel fine and my mets are stable (except for the headaches)!  

Have a great weekend ladies!

HellieC's picture
HellieC
Posts: 524
Joined: Nov 2010

Thanks, Kathy for such a comprehensive explanation of your "stent experience".  It sounds pretty similar to what has been described to me about how it is done in the UK.  But the only people I know who have had it have had continuing pain afterwards, particularly when voiding or a dull ache in their back all the time.  This is what has put me off having it done as my tolerance to pain isn't great. 

I am having a MAG3 scan (nuclear medicine scan) on 19th Feb to look at my kidney function so we will see where we go from there. It's a balance between keeping the body as well as possible but also recognising that I have been classed as having an incurable cancer, so I have to balance my quality of life (which at the moment is very good with no symptoms from the affected kidney) versus the stent which will help the kidney but which may give me other problems. I have been assured that the body can function perfectly well with a single kidney, so I find these decisions very difficult.  I have not yet asked if it is possible to try a stent and  if it is problematic, to have it removed.  I will discuss it more fully with my oncologist when we have the scan results.  But it is helpful to add your experience to the "mix" as you seem to be handling it well.

Thank you
Helen x

It happened to Me's picture
It happened to Me
Posts: 206
Joined: Apr 2014

I appreciate all the ladies who explain procedures that you have.  Thankfully, at this point, I'm not having any problems with my kidneys.

Keep fighting ladies.

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