Conner Rousseau, president of the Flemish socialist party Vooruit, is recovering in hospital after an emergency operation to remove a large cyst from his kidney.
Rousseau has made a number of emergency visits to hospital in recent weeks, suffering from renal colic, a condition that occurs when kidney stones block the ureter, preventing the passage of urine.
Last time that occurred, he was booked in for an operation to remove a cyst from his kidney.
That took place on Wednesday, but the procedure lasted longer than expected.
“A swelling of about 10 cm by 5 cm has been cut away,” Rousseau posted on Instagram. “Intestines and liver were also affected. This causes a lot of pain. I’m going to be honest: I’m suffering.”
Renal colic is often described as one of the most intense pains, caused when the blockage of the ureter causes it to distend as urine backs up. In most cases the stones pass eventually, especially if the sufferer drinks a lot of water.
Stones measuring more than 5mm in diameter, however, are less likely to pass spontaneously and have to be treated, often with surgery.
That seems to have been the case in Rousseau’s case, which may also have involved the use of a laser to pulverise the stone.
In his message posted today, he expressed the wish to return home as early as today. He also rectified an earlier message: his liver and intestines were not affected in the operation.
“The operation was more difficult than expected (for me) but went perfectly in itself,” he wrote.
Nonetheless, he hopes to be discharged in the course of today (patients are rarely discharged during the weekend). After that comes a period of rehabilitation, he explained.
“Rehabilitation will take longer than originally thought,” he said.
Last month Rousseau was rushed to hospital for the second time suffering the same complaint, coincidentally on his birthday.
“Occasionally the chairman has acute pain,” party spokesperson Niels Pattyn said at the time. “Due to too much work, little sleep and stress, it regularly crops up, then he has to lie on the baxter (an intravenous infusion) to get the pain under control.”