Passing a kidney stone is a learning experience? EVERYTHING is a learning experience!
This is the third time for me—label me a slow learner.
The first one I attribute to using a Vitamin C product in excess many years ago.
The second one, frankly, I don’t remember the cause.
And now this one. You’d think with the amount of pain these tiny (in my case) rocks cause, I’d be done. Hopefully I will be now!
I’m going to tell you MY experience here, and MY choice. If you have a kidney stone, how you deal with it is YOUR choice.
I will tell you that, according to what I’ve read, the likelihood of needing surgery to remove a kidney stone is fairly small. I’ve seen a range of from about five to twenty percent.
I’ve thankfully been able to pass the stone each time on my own. But I did give them some help…
The first time, the excruciating pain drove me to the emergency room. While waiting to see a doctor, I passed the stone (“peed” it out, to be direct). Having no medical insurance, I was still charged over $2,000! I bargained the bill down to something over $500. The promise of immediate cash has always been a good negotiating tool.
These last two occurrences, I “learned my lesson,” and decided to take care of these stones myself “old-school style.” Both times I’ve used a 1:1 mixture of lemon (to help dissolve the stone) and olive oil (to smooth its passage out of the body). I used two ounces of each, in my case just one time, since I couldn’t stomach taking any additional doses. Some sources, like this article, recommend three, but the suggested dosage is meaningless if you can’t hold the dose down!
This last time, I also drank some cranberry juice, mixed with sweeter juice for taste. The cranberry acts as a kidney cleanser.
What I did worked. Not right away, it took several hours of pain. I took as much pain as I could stand, and then sought a pain killer. The problem with some pain killers, though, is that possible side effects include nausea and dizziness—two symptoms I already had in spades! No thank you. I opted for two extra-strength Tylenols.
One thing great pain brings—you “get religion” fast. I begged God for relief. Speaking of which, I found you don’t need to “be” strong—God is strong and will get you through each situation. The “strength” we need is Just not to show incredible weakness to others while we’re in pain.
Another thing I noticed, is the need for everything to be as comfortable as absolutely possible. I didn’t want certain people around (who have demonstrated a lack of empathy in the past and tend towards inappropriate, ill-timed comments).
When you’re in pain you only want pure energy moving through you. Anger is a “luxury” you can’t afford when you’re fighting the male equivalent of labor pain!
By the way, men are more likely to get kidney stones than women. There appears to be no exact consensus on why, but there is strong conjecture. This post makes sense to me.
Thankfully, a beautiful outshoot of this experience is that I ended up having a great conversation with one of these “low empathy” people, and they actually admitted to their troll-like behavior.
In the process, I saw my role in setting up this behavior.
So in the end the experience proved positive. I liken it to a pregnant woman who experiences a painful labor, but forgets the pain afterwards, only remembering the birth of a beautiful child!
In the midst of the trauma, I did everything I could to get comfortable. I finally had no energy left to fight, and had to lay down. I ended up falling asleep for ten minutes or so. Feeling a bit better, I got up, and simply passed the stone in my urine. It was incredibly small, in relation to the great pain it caused. The stone was reddish in color. I looked it up and the color indicated a uric acid origin—often caused by excessive animal protein, among other reasons, as noted in the above post.
I do have to re-examine my position on meat and other animal proteins—only in regards to amount. I have no intention on stopping meat eating. I did some thinking and research about other possible reasons I got this latest kidney stone at this time. A few things became apparent:
#1: I’d recently come back from Florida, which was extremely hot and humid. I was likely at least partially dehydrated. One of the biggest suggestions for preventing kidney stones that I saw in my research was to drink more water.
#2: I also ate more red meat than normal—beef salami on the trip down and back , and Whataburgers in Florida each day! (and yes, they were delicious!)
#3: And I had quite a bit of dairy—low-fat milk and full-fat cheese.
#4: I also had an intense, stressful drive home. We hit a huge electrical storm in northern Alabama moving toward Tennessee, which first appeared on the horizon as a big, dark cloud with visible lighting flashing inside of it.
It kept appearing as if we were heading away from the storm, but lo and behold, we ended up driving right IN to it.
Among the foreboding thunder and flashes of lightning, massive buckets of water fell from the sky. Visibility shrunk to near zero through northern Alabama and Tennessee, only finally relenting as we got close to home. My attention to the road was understandably intense.
I had to rest up pretty good after that.
So it’s safe to say that the conditions were ripe for a kidney stone occurrence.
Filling out the nutritional prescription, beyond merely drinking more water and eating a bit less animal product, is the need to add something acidic to my water. I used to drink a full glass of water with lemon every morning after arising, but I had not been doing that at the time of the attack.
I also had cut down on the apple cider vinegar I had been taking for decades with my water (typically one to two teaspoons per glass, a couple times a day or so). I’ve always been a big proponent of “ACV.”
Citric acid from fruit—such as lemon and orange—is considered a good tool in the prevention of kidney stones. But excessive Vitamin C in supplement form can actually form kidney stones. As I mentioned, I’m convinced that my first kidney stone was caused by a Vitamin C supplement.
In closing, in addition to what I’ve mentioned, here are some recommendations for preventing kidney stones, and while I can’t vouch for all of them, in general they appear sensible.
So after some heavy trauma, solid lessons emerged for me, which will only contribute to my good physical—and spiritual—health moving forward. I seem to emerge from each situation stronger and wiser, without necessarily trying to be either. That in itself makes it all worthwhile.
I wish you the same—and if you’re wiser than I have been, you will be able to move forward without having to endure so much pain! Pain is a good teacher, but wisdom is a better one!
Patrick Rooney is the Founder of OldSchoolUs.com, a website that believes “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Its focus is Health, Success, and Freedom—yeah, in that order. Patrick is the author of GREEK PHYSIQUE: The Simple, Satisfying Way to Sculpt Your Body—Even if You’re Old, Weak, or Broken Down; and is also the creator of Greek Yoga™ and the Greek Yoga for Beginners video. To reach Patrick, email him at [email protected].