Thursday, May 26, 2011

911, a Kidney Stone and Letting Go

fireman photo

So I'm back blogging this morning after recovery from a kidney stone attack last week. I've never had one before and had no idea what was happening at the time.

A week ago today I started to feel some cramping in my abdomen and drank a few glasses of water.  Shortly after that I felt a huge pain in my right kidney and thought I was going to get sick.  I crawled my way to the bathroom and tried to stay calm because for a moment I felt like I might pass out.  I was home alone with the kids so I knew I needed to act quickly.  I had my phone but my fingers locked and I couldn't bend them so I could barely dial.  I have since found out that the reason for this is hyperventilation.  I guess the pain was so intense that I was breathing super quickly which caused my muscles to cramp.  This really scared me and for a moment I thought maybe I was having a seizure.

I managed to dial my husband's phone number first.  I told him I needed him to come home immediately.  Then we got disconnected.  I dialed my sister next.  I could barely speak but was able to blurt out my kidney hurts...I need you...I don't know what to do.

I hesitated to call 911 myself.  But when I couldn't get up and I heard Ashton waking from his nap I knew this had to be bad.  I dialed the numbers 9-1-1 and the dispatcher told me someone was already on the way.  My husband had also called 911, borrowed a co-workers car and calmly and quickly came home.  My sister called other family members and arrived at my house in a matter of minutes.

I never would have guessed that a kind fireman with a Fu Manchu would be getting my baby out of bed from his morning nap!  Once the help arrived I guess I must have started to calm down because my fingers were less cramped and I could walk and talk - although the pain was still very intense.

After a morning at the ER I discovered that I had a 3.5 mm kidney stone.  I was told there's a 95% chance that a stone this size will pass on its own.  They gave me a prescription for pain meds, some antibiotics and told me to stop nursing for 4 days.
Since then, here's what I've learned.  CT scans are so high in radiation that it's like getting 500 X-rays at once!  I definitely would not have had one had I been informed.  I followed the lead of the emergency room doctor and although I know these scans are an important tool for modern medicine, not so sure it was necessary for my situation.

I learned that ER doctors don't always have the answers and it's really important to get educated and take your health into your own hands.  Kidney stone pain definitely competes with the pain I've experienced in labor, but what was even more painful to me was having to give up nursing my sweet babe for 4 days.  I got some wonderful advice from a friend and lactation consultant, as well as my nurse midwife, and found an antibiotic that is safe while nursing.  So extremely grateful for this because I tried giving Ashy a bottle the first night and it was miserable!

I've learned that eating high oxalate foods can cause kidney stones.  These are foods like kale, spinach, blueberries, chocolate and beans - pretty much all of my favorite foods!  I seriously eat kale at least once, sometimes twice a day, and I now think that may have been a major contributing factor in creating my particular stone.

I've learned that dandelion tea helps the kidneys, cranberry juice can help prevent bladder infections and of course, nothing beats lots and lots of water (lemon is helpful, too).  I've learned that there are holistic, less invasive ways to dissolve some kidney stones, like Attunement, Reiki, and many other options.  I've learned that the spiritual symbolism of kidney stones can be unresolved anger (think of things that "piss you off") or a distrust in the flow of life, or a need to let go of the past.

heart photo

Most importantly, after all the pain, the research, the fluids, the doctors, the healers, the questions, the journaling, the meditating, the thinking, the feeling - I've been reminded of this...

Listen to my heart. 
Listen to my heart.
Listen to my heart.

I received so much conflicting information from the ER doc, the urologist, the holistic healer, Google, community forums and if I let it, all that external overload could make me feel crazy, confused and overwhelmed.  Instead, I decided to get quiet and listen to the messages my body is trying to tell me.  My kidney stone has reminded me to stop trying to do it all myself, to lighten my load, to get more rest, to drink more water and to trust the flow of life.

Our body knows.  Our heart knows.  We just need to listen.

Let it go.
Go with the flow.
And no matter what, the answers to our healing lie within.

Notice how you feel, listen to YOUR body and YOUR heart, 
and trust Life.

Your Personal Reflection:  What is your body trying to tell you?  Can you hear the messages in your heart?  Give yourself a few minutes of quiet time today and really, deeply listen.

*My heart is overflowing with gratitude for my health, for my family and friends, and for the doctors who helped me out this week.

Be well,


  1. Wow Shannon, what a blessing that so many were there for you in your time of need. I'm grateful you are healing. How wonderful that you tuned in and learned so much from this painful experience. Bless you. What I hear from my own body is "enough". Where that takes me? I'm not sure yet. peace

  2. oh shannon! you wrote about something so terrible in such a beautiful way. i do hope this resolves quickly for you and you are comfortable again soon. lovely reflections, as always. xo

  3. Oh my gosh! Poor you...referring to the pain, not your state of mind. I've never had a kidney stone, but friends who have say it's you've just confirmed again. This does pose a problem because I'm thinking I'm doing so much good eating all those greens, but I don't think I want to go through this. I'm curious to know if there are balance foods that will still allow you to eat the oxalates, but will counteract the kidney effect. Delighted to hear you are better and I think the part about a fireman getting Asher up from his nap is pretty funny. Such a sweet photo, but who had time to get the pic?

  4. OOoh! I know this is very painful as I had to drive my husband to hospital few years ago for the same reason!! I am sending you love, good vibes and big hugs from here. You have all the tools to heal your way up. You already know that. Great things will surely come out of this...well...adventure! ;-)

    Manon xxx

  5. Oh dear Shannon! I'm so thankful you had so many who were at your side so quickly. I took some time today to listen and love myself today. Thank you for the reminder though not the occasion that brought your sage advise.

  6. When it comes to your attitude.. you are an inspiration! I hope you're feeling much better.

  7. Gerri,
    I'm so very grateful I had so many step in when I needed some help. It just seemed effortless - very blessed indeed. I love that you are listening to the signals from your body, too.

    Thank you for your kind words. I'm happy to say I am back to feeling 100%. Lovin' my water and lovin' my life. :)

    I don't want to scare you when it comes to eating your greens! I think some people are more prone to the oxalate thing than others. They say kidney stones can run in the family and both my mom and her sister have had them - so we might just be more prone to it. I say as long as you are balancing it with other foods and drinking lots of water you should be fine. I was so sad to think I might have to give up my kale...but I know that is something I just cannot do! So...I'll just be carrying my water bottle with me everywhere instead! I mom could not believe I actually stopped amongst the pain to take that photo. It was just so surreal - couldn't pass it up. :)

    Sorry to hear your husband has experienced this as well. You know fun! I'm feeling so much better, way more informed and lighter... Thank you...

    SO very happy to hear you took some time today to listen and LOVE youself. Beautiful. Let's continue to love ourselves each and every day... Big hugs.

    Thanks for your wonderful comment. I appeciate you so...

    Thanks to each of you for taking time to share. I LOVE hearing from you.

  8. Shannon, I'm so glad that you are feeling better. Thank you for sharing a wonderful reminder to stay in tune with our bodies and listen very carefully to what they are saying. Years ago when I was a teaching 8th grade I got struck with a terrible case of pneumonia, and it was a big message to slow down. Your post has been a great reminder to get back in touch with my body and try to learn more about what is going well and not so well in my life. So similar to your previous post about physical and mental clutter. It's all so intimately connected!

  9. Shannon, So glad you're ok! take care

  10. OH MY GODDESS! i am so thankful you are well, and wow!!! those are lessons, indeed. (for instance, i think i will forever be working on all the spiritual symbolism you mention.)

    maybe it's time for some fresh new spring greens in your life? in moderation with kale. ; )

    the picture is awesome. what a sweet baby!

  11. Oh goodness! Wow, what an awful experience. I'm so grateful and relieved that help came quickly and that you are feeling better. Good for you for getting informed and not trusting everything that is handed to you. It's wonderful that you took this scary event and turned it into a positive. Thank you for sharing what you learned!!!

  12. Kelly,
    I have always looked to illness in the body, whether a headache, a cold or now a kidney stone, as a sign to pay attention to. Love that you took that message to heart when you had pneumonia. It's easy to get right back into the groove and craziness of life - the message to slow down each and every day is probably a good reminder for us all.

    Thank you! I feel a ton better. It's a new day...

    If you are interested in "spiritual symbolism" of illness you might want to check out "Heal Your Life" by Louise Hay. The body is a wonderful teacher! Glad you liked the photo of my sweet boy. :)

    Thanks for your kind words. I feel blessed that it turned out this way - I am SO grateful for my health.

    Thanks to each of you for stopping by and sharing your concern. xo

  13. Oh my goodness, I am so sorry to hear this happened. That kind of pain, and trying to take care of your little ones must have been a very intense experience. I am sending much healing light and love.

  14. I hope you're feeling back to normal soon.

  15. I am so sorry that this happened to you. I had a kidney stone about a month after having my daughter which was about a month after my father dieing. I can see how it can represent anger. I really do feel for you. I guess sometimes our bodies need to scream at us for us to hear or at least that was my case. I hope your recovery is quick.

  16. wow Shannon. I am so glad you are okay! What an ordeal. My dad had this not so long and had an op and it really knocked him sideways. Strong you and I hope you are healing well. You won the give-away on my experimental art e-course, but I can see now why you didn't know!!! Please do contact me and I will email - been so busy i haven't emailed but sounds like you would have been tied up anyway!

    Take care you :)


  17. So glad that your support system was there for you. So scary and painful for you. It must have been frustrating, too, to have all of that conflicting information thrown at you in that vulnerable state. I've been thinking of you since I read this when you first posted and hope you are feeling completely better now!

  18. Hi! I got your mail about "clering mental clutter" and I couldn´t find time to read it until today. It is wonderful!! And I was surprised because you talk about many things I completly agree anh have been thinking about just these lately days!!! THANK YOU! HAVE NICE WEEKEND!

  19. Amelia,
    Sorry to hear your dad had to have an op on his kidney stone. Hope he is feeling better! I'm so excited that I won the give-away. Yippeeeeee.

    Thank you for your kind thoughts. I am feeling so much better and have learned a lot during the process.

    I appreciate your comments. Very happy to hear that this whole "clutter" thing has been on your mind, too. Sending you peace and clutter-free moments!

  20. I feel a bad friend only getting to this post now. Obviously we've been in contact via email but even so... Unfortunately I've also had many docs visits, tests etc this past month and so have got behind visiting blogs. Your interview answers for my newsletter were very inspirational. Now I come to this post late but feel in tune with what it's about and considering the past couple of days of scary heart/vision/brain probs I guess I needed to read this post today!

    My body must surely be trying to tell me something considering all the trouble it's giving me. I've been journaling, meditating etc but so far I must be missing something. But I guess the answers come to us at the right time.

    I'm very glad you're feeling much better now.
    Kat Xx

  21. Hi there! Just discovered your blog through this post and I'm so happy I did! I also suffer from kidney stones, but have not read about or explored the information you provide in this post. Thank you, thank you for putting all of this out has given me a new direction for learning about healing and preventing kidney stones!

    I also find it helps sometimes to think of myself as an oyster making pearls. :)

    Glad you're feeling better now. Stay hydrated this summer!

  22. Dear Shannon

    I don't know if this will help anyone but about 18 months ago I experienced my first and last episode of kidney stone pain. As you know the pain is excrutiating and I was writhing around on my bed screamin in agony and doubled up in pain. At the hospital I was given standard pain meds and told to drink plenty of water. I now know that this is the standard response from most doctors. The hospital did find a 5mm kidney stone that was on its way down to my bladder and a couple more just sitting there waiting .... to cause me more pain.

    After several days, very little pain relief and out of total desperation I turned to the internet to learn more. I tried everything I could find to relieve the pain, no matter how crazy it sounded. I even found a "So Called" remedy that promised an 80% success rate. Now I am no fool when it comes to the internet and at 55 years of age I have almost 17 years experience in sales and marketing, but I was desperate and ready to try anything to stop the pain, so I bought the remedy. To my absolute amazement it worked and within a few hours of taking the remedy my pain started to subside and within 12 hours it had gone completely. What amazed me even more was I passed all of my kidney stones, pain free, over the next 2 days. A few days later, I went back to the hospital for a follow up and they confirmed that all of my kidney stones were gone.

    As for drinking plenty of water, I drink bottles of the stuff. I even wrote a post on my blog called Kidney Stone Pain Sufferers Should Drink More Water. I also eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and veg and NO fast foods, especially canned goods. Also I rely on natural sources of vitamins and minerals and NOT supplements. Common sense seems to have left the building in this world of ours.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you that we need to listen to our bodies more and lightening the load to reduce stress, is essential to the healing process.

  23. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. I have found acupuncture to be very helpful in getting my body back to balance. It's so nice when we find a healing method that works for us. Here's to no more kidney stones!


Thanks for sharing!