Monday, April 10, 2017

A Week of Doctors, Part III

So - we're still on last Wednesday, and I'm finally seeing my urologist!  Yay!

My stone was 80% calcium oxalate and 20% calcium phosphate.  He told me that calcium oxalate is the most common type of stone.  The results of the 24-hour urine collection tests told him why I made a stone, and he was then able to tell me the areas where I need to make changes to hopefully avoid making another.

For me, the short story is this: "Drink More Water, Eat Less Salt."

The rest of the story, is that I have changes to make and they won't be one-time things.

Here's the deal:  because I've made one stone, I am 40% to 50% more likely to make another.  Dude.  I'm serious.  In order for me to avoid making another stone, the changes I make have to be for the rest of my life.  As I was listening to him give me the test results and explain my treatment plan, I knew that I was going to need help to be successful. 

You can get a little background on my own research and thoughts from my March 12th post. I had continued my own research, and it led me to the University of Chicago, where Dr. Fredric Coe has published what amounts to an online book about kidney stone prevention. 

If you do any research at all into kidney stones, you discover that one person says one thing, and another says the opposite, and they all talk about oxalate in some form or another.  It's extremely confusing.  Since I have such great doctors, I decided to stick with them and work with their guidelines.

My urologist knew of Dr. Coe, and the diet he gave me pretty much came from Dr. Coe.  There is a nurse educator who works with Dr. Coe.  Her name is Jill Harris.  Everything I was reading on both the UofC website and her own website, was telling me that she would likely be a great person to help me on this journey.  She is a private health coach who devotes her entire coaching practice exclusively to the prevention of kidney stones.  Who knew?  I asked my urologist if he would have any objection to my working with someone like Jill to help me be successful.

He was thrilled!

I don't have to take any meds (at this time (and hopefully never)).  It's more water, less salt, and some dietary changes.  That doesn't sound too crazy or difficult until you look closer.

I must drink between three and four liters of water a day.  You guys, that's a lot of water.  Yesterday was the first day I made it to 3 liters.

And sodium - which is in Every. F-ing. Thing. - has to be limited to 1,000 milligrams a day. 

Again, this seems like it should be relatively easy - just stop salting your food.  Well, yeah, that's a given.  But I'm not kidding when I tell you that salt is in EVERY PROCESSED FOOD.  I've been a label reader for decades.  If you're not already a label reader, I encourage you to start.  It will be eye-opening for you.

Here's a label . . . This is the nutritional label for Bay's Original English Muffins (something I was eating many days for breakfast):

At first glance, not horrible, but your eyes likely skipped over the sodium because in your everyday life you're probably more concerned with calories, fat, and maybe sugar.  Look again . . .

When you see that one English muffin has 540 milligrams of sodium - and your daily limit is 1,000 - you begin to see how all-of-a-sudden "eat less sodium"  is no longer such a simple change. 

The urologist told me that he'd like to see what I can do on my own in the three months before I have to see him again.  I left his office with a copy of my 24-hour urine collection results, the kidney stone diet, encouragement, a wonky feeling in the pit of my stomach, and the realization that I had no idea what to eat. 

I emailed Jill Harris as soon as I got back to work . . .

(Yes, there's more  ;-) )


Ely said...

Just went through Jill Harris' whole site and it looks like you would be in good hands.

In following your journey, I am left with the thought that kidney stone care is reactive- yes, we're told to eat less salt and drink more water but is there a direct way to prevent kidney stones in the first place?? Drink more water?? I guess I am at a loss because you were already making lifestyle changes, then this!

A :-) said...

Ely, I don't know if there's any way to guard against them, and most people never get one. I think that he type I had was very much about diet/lifestyle; i.e., not caused by any physical malfunction in my body).

And yes, I was trying to make better health changes again, but I wasn't doing all that well . . .

I am now. :-)