I spent a vast chunk of my life teaching science. I’ve covered chemistry, blown through biology and even taught the horrific human reproduction unit to 5th graders. I know my way around a Bunsen burner and I can make a model volcano that rivals the full sized Mt. Vesuvius.
When it comes to geology I can even tell the difference between the three main types of rocks. Sedimentary rocks are formed by layers of sediment, metamorphic rocks are formed by change, and igneous rocks are formed by fire.
This week I invested a lot of time and effort into a fourth kind of rock that doesn’t get a lot of coverage in the standard geology course. Instead, formed in the kidney, this rock is generally under the medical communities purview.
Kidney stones, or kidnious rocks, form over time in the body’s filtration system. After a period of formation and growth, the stones precipitate out of the kidneys and begin the slow, painful trip to the bladder. The channel connecting the kidney and the bladder is a small tube called the the ureter. This is the tightest squeeze for exiting kidney stones, and the most painful for the owner of the kidneys. If the stone is able to pass through this narrow channel into the bladder, the truly hard part is over. From the bladder to the outside world, the kidney stone travels through the urethra, which is much larger than the previous tight squeeze. Once out of the body, the stone is now a part of Earth’s geology, formed by the humans covering its surface.
Not everyone is lucky enough to be involved in the creation of rocks. Depending on diet, geographic location, and genetics, roughly 7% of the US population is capable of this magical feat- and I am one of the lucky ones.
The first time I dealt with these debilitating pebbles was during a three month period at the beginning of 2004. As discussed previously this period of my life was a red-orange blur of pain and tears and torturous same-day surgeries. I had four or five in each kidney that were too large to pass through the ureter and a sprinkling of normal sized pebbles for good measure. A five figure medical bill allowed the entire medical community to follow the reverse path of the normal kidney stone with the medical equivalent of a bulldozer to scoop the big ones out. It was hell on Earth.
The stones that I formed came after years of the Standard American Diet followed by a very intense nine month Atkins meat diet. The protein content was way too high and I have the kind of kidneys that don’t handle the elevated levels well. Additionally, my kidneys and entire organ holding body cavity had been under extra pressure because of the extra weight. Fat does not just push out over the belt line. Stretch marks on the outside mean you are stealing space from your internal organs too. Losing the weight rapidly was like relaxing a hand squeezing marbles. With a little bit of wiggle room, everything fell out. Or at least lodged painfully in the ureter and refused to budge.
Eight years later, faithful readers know that until 83 days ago I was engaged in this same destructive diet and losing weight… again. Now I am living and loving the plant based lifestyle and the pounds continue to drop off. This burned off fat is giving me more room in my tight clothes, more room in my body cavity to take a completely full breath, and more room for my kidneys to flush out any stones that have accumulated.
Which is what happened during the first half of this week.
At 8:33am on Wednesday I gave birth to a kidnious rock that I named Granite. Granite balled me up for two days of on and off pain that was so focused and intense that it caused vomiting. I’m not complaining, I am bragging. When the stone left my body, I gave a whoop of victory because it meant I wouldn’t be involving the medical community and their equipment in its removal.
I knew that I would be detoxifying my body with this new plant based lifestyle. I was sure that that the antibiotics and other extras that we get from meat would slowly seep out of me. However, I wanted to believe that my kidneys had been napping during my previous months and years of self abuse. I was wrong. They were awake and incubating a reminder to me that some things can’t be wished away or ignored. They have to be dealt with no matter how painful. Sometimes that is the only way to be completely free from them.
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