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What Kidney Stones Taught Me About Myself

In March of 2014 I underwent emergency surgery to save my life. I was in renal failure and hours from death from septic shock because both my kidneys were blocked by kidney stones. The urologist who performed my emergency surgery said it this way “If you had waited a few hours you would have been septic and we would have flown you out and it would have been touch or go whether you lived or died!” That surgery, and God answering prayer, did save my life and set me on a road to learning some valuable life lessons and changing not only my health but also mindsets I had and my entire life!

What happened ?

I went through two additional surgeries in two months and for the next two years I had to see not only my regular doctor but also a urologist and a nephrologist. In addition, I had to undergo a whole change of lifestyle in my eating habits and how I lived. The nephrologist placed me on a very restrictive diet called a low purine and low sodium diet. This diet was necessary to keep the uric acid kidney stones which had caused the kidneys to be blocked from forming. Gone were the steaks I loved to eat and the cans of soda pop I lived on and in its’ place was lean poultry and water! Oh, there were other things I couldn’t eat or was very limited to including my all- time favorite – chocolate! My first thought was “How will I survive without all the things I love to eat?” I called my friend Lesa and told her about it and she did what I needed – she prayed for me and encouraged me that I could do this! So, I began a long road to recovery that changed me and my life in so many ways – inside and outside!

I had to start with changing how I ate and how I shopped for food. I was overweight and hadn’t been on a diet in years because I had tried so many and they had failed – or so I thought. The truth is it wasn’t that the diet had failed it was that I had not stuck to the diet. The first thing I had to do was take responsibility for where I was and what had happened to me. I had battled kidney stones for years and I did not follow up with the urologist after I had been operated on for a kidney stone a few years before the emergency surgery. In addition, I had been passing kidney stones every couple of weeks in the two months leading up to the emergency surgery and did not go to the doctor for qa checkup. I was not proactive in dealing with my kidney stones and therefore, I had ended up having to go through three surgeries in two months. First life lesson learned – be proactive and not reactive! Deal with things before they become major problems! Another way of saying it is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Change of mindset and philosophy

A change in lifestyle and mindset was in order! My motivation for this was that I was not going to go through three surgeries in two months again and every day I woke up I told myself this! It became my mindset – my chant I said to myself every time I went down the cookie and candy isle at the store. I refused to buy anything that was not on my diet. I learned how to count calories and downloaded an app on my iPhone that would allow me to count the calories throughout the day. I read labels to see how many calories and how much salt was in the product. I was diligent and kept saying to myself my chant of “I am not going through three surgeries in two months again!” I didn’t focus on what I couldn’t have every day I focused on what I needed to do to avoid any more kidney stones and surgeries. Second life lesson learned – focus in on what you want and how you want to achieve it and let nothing deter you!

I did not allow myself to think the thought that I could never have another steak, or hamburger or anything with red meat or pork in it again nor did I think of how I could never drink another Pepsi! I focused on what I could have for the day and took it one day at a time. Losing weight wasn’t my main concern it was being healthy and staying free from kidney stones! I took my medication for the kidney stones like clockwork making sure that I followed the doctors’ directions to the letter. I discovered something about myself through this process. I discovered that contrary to what I had thought about myself I did have self -discipline. I had believed the lie for years that I couldn’t lose weight because I didn’t have enough self- control.

The willpower for a better life

The truth is I can do whatever I set my mind to and I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! Third life lesson learned – never underestimate yourself. Where there is a will there is a way! While losing weight was not the goal it was a result of the eating choices I was making. I have lost almost eighty pounds and the weight loss along with cutting down on salt intake and taking my medication I am now kidney stone free; my blood pressure has gone from 160/95 to 116/78 and I feel the best I have felt in years! Fourth life lesson learned – take care of yourself! This is the only life and body we get! And you can take care of it just set your mind to doing it and take the right action steps to achieve that goal!

Last month, I was released from both the urologist and the nephrologist. I do not have to see either one for a year! I am proud of the progress I have made and thankful to God for my second chance on life! I have discovered many things about myself and learned a lot through this process. The main thing I have learned that I can do whatever I set my mind to and overcome any challenge! And here is something else that I learned and something I truly believe, if I can do it so can you! So if you too have health issues and struggled with weight loss, let this be your mindset and your chant – if she can do it then I can too !

February 8, 2017

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