God has a funny sense of humor. As both Karen and I shared in our last posts, our best intentions of becoming more organized and planning out our week had to be put on hold because of my mini-stroke. That stroke gave both of us some good blogging fodder to chew on and regurgitate with you.
This past Saturday I was feeling good. I drove three hours so Karen and I could attend my niece’s wedding in Toledo, Washington. Sunday morning Karen and I exchanged many high-fives as we watched our beloved Seattle Seahawks dismantle the New York Jets. I was drinking water instead of Mt. Dew and eating a healthy chicken sandwich instead of a mountain of cheese soaked nachos. After the game I would once again plan out the week ahead of us. The chaos of the previous week was behind us and order had once more been established in our universe.
I had an appointment to see my primary care doctor the next day. I was prepared for her to say I was as strong as an ox and could return to work on Tuesday. Karen printed off some fancy new weekly planners, I poured myself another big glass of water and we sat down at the kitchen table. Karen and I would plan out our week and then I would attempt to beat her at a game of Scrabble, which is no small feat….she’s really good.
Now toward the end of the Seahawk game, I had been feeling some slight discomfort in the ol’ family jewels. Probably just sat awkwardly and too long on those precious stones. Back at the kitchen table though, the discomfort increased and spread throughout my lower reaches and up into the small of my back. My prognosis quickly changed from couch potato-itis of the family jewels to a demonic stone which even the best exorcist couldn’t cast out….a kidney stone.
Karen asked if she should take me to the emergency room. We keep a running total of Scrabble wins and losses. Over the past month, I had cut into her ten game lead in wins and now only trailed her by two. There are times you need to sacrifice your body for the greater good and this was one of those times. I gritted my teeth and said, “No.” I even threw out a nugget of spiritual wisdom by adding, “and this too shall pass.”
Karen wasn’t impressed, especially when I began to pass red pee. Okay, I’m probably grossing you all out but I bet I have your attention. While kidney stones themselves don’t pose the same serious long-term health risks strokes do, they shouldn’t be ignored (and usually aren’t ignored because they hurt so dang much.)
In the October 4th health guide section of the New York Times, it explains the effects of kidney stones on the urinary tract system:
Between 70% and 90% of crystals remain tiny enough to travel through the urinary tract and leave the body in the urine without being noticed. When they do cause symptoms, however, kidney stones have been described as one of the most painful disorders to afflict humans. The pain they cause is sometimes called renal colic. (“Renal” means “kidney.”)
Effects on the Urinary Tract and Kidneys
Obstruction and Infection. Although kidney stones often lead to obstruction (blockage) of the urinary tract, the blockage is usually temporary and causes no lasting damage. In some cases, however, particularly if the obstruction progresses with no symptoms, infection may occur, which can be serious and need immediate attention.
Kidney Failure. It is very rare for kidney stones to cause kidney failure, although some people have risk factors that make them more vulnerable to this serious complication. Risk factors include the following:
- Very frequent recurrences (such as in people with cystine stones or other inherited forms of kidney stone disorders)
- Accompanying episodes of urinary tract infections with obstruction, a particular risk with struvite stones
- A history of multiple urologic procedures for kidney stones
- Greater size of the kidney stone gravel
For more information on kidney stones, by the same New York Times article, click on the following link: http://www.nytimes.com/health/guides/disease/kidney-stones
So my kidney stone is larger than normal. My doctor said it only had a 30% chance of passing on its own. This brings to mind something Jesus told his disciples. In Matthew 19:24 Jesus said, “….it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Jesus is using an extreme exaggeration to illustrate that without God’s intervention we have a zero percent chance of going to heaven. The visual of that camel leaves me thinking I don’t want to take a 30% chance that my large kidney stone will shred the sensitive walls of my ureter on the way to my bladder.
I’m scheduled to have surgery tomorrow to blast that stone to smithereens. Then comes the fun part of passing all those smaller stones. Over a year ago, Karen almost died from complications surrounding the blasting of her kidney stones. Undetected bacteria on her crushed stones entered her blood stream and I almost lost her.
No bacteria was found on my kidney stones but I don’t take anything for granted. God is in control and knows someone out there needs to read this post. In the meantime, I’m gathering a lot of information for my next blog post on how to take care of ourselves so we can be at our best for our kids and grandkids.
Please pray for my upcoming surgery for no complications and a quick recovery. Thank you and God Bless.