Pages

Monday, January 11, 2016

Age and Health

Last week I was admitted into the hospital with acute renal failure and stage II kidney disease. I left work early on Monday and Tuesday with abdominal pain and left flank pain. I knew I was trying to pass yet another kidney stone as the flank pain was all too familiar. However the abdominal pain was new. The last kidney stone I had about a year and a half ago passed within a matter of hours and I assumed this one had passed as well Monday evening. Of course my husband feels powerless when I'm having an episode where I'm either writhing in pain or pacing and rubbing my back so hard it leaves bruises. 

Kidney stone pain comes in waves. I've read and heard from woman that the pain is worse than childbirth. In my case, it typically starts on either the left or right side of my back. You can't sit still when the pain comes and it's difficult to explain what it feels like. Thankfully I've never been punched or stabbed before but that's probably the best way to describe the pain that comes and goes for hours, or in this case, days. I've tried unsuccessfully to treat the pain on my own with over-the-counter meds like Advil. However, each bout (I've had 3 so far) has resulted in trips to the ER. 

This last stone, actually there were two stones, couldn't even be tamed with morphine. After about 20 mins, the pain would return. The ER staff decided 2mg of dilaudid would put me out of my misery. And it did - well into the next day but not without a severe nausea reaction. 

Instead of sending me home to pass the stone on my own, the ER doctor admitted me as my right kidney was in renal failure after reviewing the CT scan. I had a 3mm and a 1mm stone stuck in the UVJ (ureter junction). The nurses were all pushing me to sign surgery consent forms without yet meeting and taking with the urologist. For two days my urine was strained and measured. And after a much painful Wednesday night, the stones finally passed. Thank goodness I did some research and knew what they looked like as not one nurse on the floor knew what to look for and like the previous two times would have flushed away the stones. When I did pass them, you would have thought I put up crime scene tape. I supervised the head nurse into how to retrieve the stones (small ones will crumble if you reach in directly with your fingers). I knew how important it was to keep these little bastards in tact so that they could be analyzed. Knowing the composition of a kidney stone will help determine what part of my diet is causing them. Of course heredity also plays a part as my late grandfather was also a sufferer. 

But I know that I've brought these on myself with one terrible vice - Diet Coke. Diet Coke and other dark colas contain phosphoric acid, a food additive, as well as a rust removal. It's corrosive and its chances of contributing to kidney stones and kidney disease increase by 15% when two or more cola beverages are consumed per day. I had an unhealthy habit of 3 - 4 cans per day. I could go through a 2 liter bottle in two days.

Water? What was that? To me it was the blandest of all beverages and I only craved or consumed if I ate ice cream, chocolate, or exercised. It simply was not a part of my diet. Until this last episode. Over the last few days, water has been my only beverage. I am determined not to have another kidney stone attack. I don't want to keep going through this and my body can't handle it anymore. I'm typing this post on the eve of my 44th birthday. Kidney disease is not reversible. But I can do things to keep from entering the final two stages. So my aim this year will be to focus on my health. I'm going to once again part ways with you so that I can stay focused on what matters. It's not fashion or outfits of the day, but making myself well.

Pin It!

8 comments:

  1. Niki,
    So sorry to hear you're going through this. I had a health scare at 43 as well - I quit working and decided my "job" would be to teach myself how to live better. It took 5 months, but when I went back to work I was 35 pounds lighter and a yoga devotee. It's been 2 1/2 years and I have kept up with yoga (& kept the weight off). Dr Pepper was my friend and it was hard to give up--now I barely think of it and just don't go down that aisle in the store.
    Recently I lost my little sister/best friend. This has been the lowest of my life - much harder to keep sugar consumption in check when all I want to do is hide under the covers and eat cookies. The best days are those that I approach from an AA standpoint. I will do my best today. I will leave the house for something other than work and I will try to be upbeat. Just for today.
    So remember, you are making better choices today. I'll miss your funny posts, but am happy to hear you're focusing on what's important.
    All the best,
    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I can't imagine losing my little sister. I would be so heartbroken and it would be hard for me to move on. So so sorry, Elizabeth.
      As for stopping blogging, I'm glad you understand. I need to focus on getting well. Blogging just isn't what it used to be and I tried to do it again but my heart just wasn't in it. Thanks for being a loyal reader.
      All my best - Niki

      Delete
  2. I am so sorry you are struggling with this. I will miss your posts, but I know you are doing the right thing. I,too, have to focus more on my health. Exercise and stress relief must become part of my daily routine, or I fear for what could happen. Here is to the healthiest of years!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I just wish it were over, actually. My husband once again rushed me to the hospital on my birthday, a couple days ago. The 3mm stone has not passed yet. At this point, all that can be done is pain mgmt. I go to the urologist tomorrow and hopefully the stones that I did pass will have been analyzed so that I can prevent what is causing this. I appreciate your concern.
    Niki

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thinking of you Niki. Hope you passed that stone or had a procedure to break it up! Sending you wishes for a speedy recovery. Please keep "us", your cyber friends, posted! Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh thank you so much, Diane. That's very sweet of you. I'm doing well. After the 2nd trip to the hospital on my bday (yeah suckiest bday ever), I haven't had anymore episodes so i either passed the 3mm or it just isn't moving. Trying to track down the stones I did pass with not much luck. Eager to find out what is causing them. Still no Diet Coke. Discovered Sparkling Ice water but mostly stick to plain water. Thank goodness I don't have to give up my wine! Oh that would be a sad day indeed. Lol
      Again, thanks so much for your concern.
      Niki

      Delete
  5. Happy New Year Niki! Hope all is well with you and yours. Diane

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh thank you! Same to you! Yes all is well. We'd like to sell the house this year and move onto a sailboat. We'd also like to get an RV to travel by land as well. A couple of weeks ago we had to put down Woozie. Really devastating. But we got a new puppy- a white pug named Pico de Guyo. Thanks for checking in!
    Niki

    ReplyDelete