So last week I passed a kidney stone, which was all kinds of fun. I made an appointment to get an x-ray and to see my urologist. Luckily, the only kidney stone I had, I passed since no more showed up in the x-ray. However, since this is not my first stone and I have been trending to have one every three years, the Doc says I’m now an official “kidney stone former”. Lovely. This means I have to get a yearly x-ray to check for stone formations. Doesn’t that up my cancer risk? Sheesh. The whole kidney stone thing freaks me out because of the elevated risk of kidney infection. The last thing someone with diabetes needs is something threatening their kidneys, right?
Well, I form what are called, Calcium Oxalate stones. They sent one of my stones away to a lab three and a half years ago to find out what it comprised of. If you too, make these kinds of stones, I’m going to share with you the three tips from my urologist about how to lower the risk of stone formation. The great news is these three tips are free:
1. Drink lots of fluids. He said that every time one goes to pee, it should be clear. Personally, I really need to work on this one.
2. Drink lemonade. Preferably fresh squeezed. Lemons have the most citric acid of all other foods and citric acid helps the body not form calcium oxalate kidney stones. I’ve been doing this lately for my Four Hour Body Experiment I and I’m glad to know it helps me in two ways!
3. Do not take any calcium supplements. The calcium found in those vitamin chews and multi-vitamins is poorly absorbed by the body and certain persons in particular, causing the kidneys to collect the calcium sediments and build a rock. A sharp rock, one that looks like crystals and stabs you very painfully on it’s way out. If it can’t get out then you’re left with getting surgery or a lithotripsy-which I’ve had and hope none of you have to experience.
A side note: This doctor asked me what I’ve been doing since I last saw him. I told him I got married, had twins, changed jobs, and now write about diabetes from home. He went to check my urine sample and came back saying how great it was that there was no sign of bleeding or infection BUT that the poster child for diabetes had glucose in her urine. I was like, when did I say I’m a poster child for diabetes? I just said I write about it from a patient perspective! He was of course, obligated to talk to me about my diabetes management while I tried to explain that highs and lows are sometimes unavoidable for a type 1 diabetic. I reassured him that I wasn’t in trouble and that my A1c was in OK range. I got the impression however, that he was worried about me not being compliant. I don’t think he knows that with type 1 you can go from 30 to 300 in a very short time, especially on off days. I totally understand why he wouldn’t get it. I don’t know anyone out there who does unless they have personal experience with it through having it themselves or having a loved one nearby dealing with it.
I will be writing him a letter to see if I can explain in detail about how type 1 works and how it feels when a doctor doesn’t understand. It’s not something I’m upset about. It’s just something I’d like to point out to him so that maybe the next person with diabetes that comes along will get some compassion instead of that funny yet hurtful look that says “hmm…you don’t seem to be taking care of yourself”.