Life Goes On…

ER2

I probably should go buy some lottery tickets. I've had enough bad luck this week that something lucky is bound to come my way, right? I haven't blogged about this yet, but two nights ago I was back in the ER. My stomach was still really protruded and I was passing between grape and kiwi-size blod clots. I was concerned about possible internal bleeding because of those large clots and the pain was terrible so I drove myself to the ER at 2am while my husband stayed at home with the kids. They ordered a blood draw and a CT scan to try to figure out why my stomach was rock hard and sticking out so far, and why I was having pain in my side and lower back.

This time, I was smart coming to the ER. As I slipped on my flip flops and walked out the door I grabbed my headphones, my phone charger, and a pair of socks so that if I ended up in the hospital for two days (like last time) I could watch Netflix in my hospital bed and keep my feet warm. I was lying in that small hospital bed waiting to go back for the CT scan and started eavesdropping on the conversations the nurses were having with each other at the nursing station right outside my room.  I was straining to hear what the muffled voices were saying but was able to make out that I was in the ER at 2am with 'regulars' who knew the nurses on a first-name basis, a child who had possible meningitis, and a man who had fallen off a ladder (how you fall off a ladder at 2am is unknown to me), plus many others whose stories I never heard.  It helped keep my mind off everything as I was trying to pick up the pieces of those nurse's stories while I was waiting in that freezing cold ER room.

Oops, accidentally grabbed different colored socks. That was embarrassing!

Oops, accidentally grabbed different colored socks. That was embarrassing!

I heard a lady come back and tell the nurses she was ready to take me in for the CT scan.  I heard her ask one of the nurses why they didn't do a urine test and if I could be pregnant, and the response was, "No, she is most definitely not pregnant.  She was just here on Wednesday for an ectopic pregnancy.  They removed the baby and her fallopian tube".  Another reminder of that stupid surgery.  I walked back with the tech down the hallways of the hospital until we walked in a room with a giant CT scan machine.  I've never had a CT scan done before, and truthfully have really only ever seen them on tv (probably from all the episodes of Gray's Anatomy I used to binge watch).  I guess I could describe the feeling I had when I walked in as nervous.....I don't know why a machine made me feel nervous but it did.  It made my heart race a little lying down on that machine.

The scan was quick and painless and I was sent back to my ER room to wait for the results.  Two hours later the RN came back into the room with a clipboard in her hand.  She told me that the CT scan came back negative for internal bleeding and there were no signes of any trapped air, and so the clots and protruded stomach are just lingering from the surgery and they will eventually get better on their own.  But, what the CT scan showed (and what was causing my back and side pain) is that I also have a 3mm kidney stone in my kidney.  Kidney stones!!  She said the pain is dull right now because it hasn't started to pass through the ureter, but as soon as it begins to pass I will be in severe pain.  I actually started laughing at the news (which I hate that I do this, but that is my body's natural reaction to bad news....I always laugh) and just couldn't believe my luck.  After everything that had happened this week, now I am going to pass a kidney stone also.  Because I drove myself to the ER they gave me some non-narcotic medication and said I will just need to wait for this to pass, but it will likely happen in the next week or two.

Kidney Stones!! Seriously? My sister told me she needed proof because she couldn't believe all this bad luck this week....

Kidney Stones!! Seriously? My sister told me she needed proof because she couldn't believe all this bad luck this week....

The ER visit was Saturday night (technically early Sunday morning) and today it is Tuesday.  It's been exactly one week since the surgery for the ectopic pregnancy.  I've talked to enough people about what happened that I don't really tear up anymore when talking about it.  It was a really sad thing that happened, but I've kind of settled into an 'it is what it is' mentality.  I desperately wish I could go back a week and change everything that happened but I can't.  Life goes on.  My husband went back to work today and is gearing up for a really tough work month where most days he leaves at 7am and doesn't get home until 9pm.  The reality is....that life goes on.  Even though I would love to lie in bed and fall into the fantasty world of Sons of Anarchy (my favorite Netflix show right now), the real world still moves on.  I have two kids to take care of, a business to run, a kitchen full of dirty dishes, laundry to wash, Christmas decorations to take down, and just a very full plate.

Or at least that's the attitude I feel like I have most of the time.  Life just goes on.  But then, out of nowhere, someone will say something or ask how I am feeling and I get choked up.  Today, a nurse from my husband's work called and asked how I was doing.  It was nice to talk to a 3rd party who didn't know me personally or know me from social media who I could just talk to and explain what happened.  I was sitting in my car in the garage because my daughter had fallen asleep in her carseat and I didn't want to wake her up quite yet.  I was enjoying a few minutes of quiet so I could talk on the phone.  The nurse listened to me tell her all about the terrible luck I had this week, finding out about the ectopic pregnancy, losing my fallopian tube in the surgery, the challenges I had with my medications, etc etc and now passing a kidney stone.  She listened to me tell the whole story and then just simply asked, "how are you handling everything emotionally?"  And the tears just started flowing.  I couldn't stop tearing up.  It wasn't a big 'ugly cry' but just silent tears streaming down my face as I sat in the drivers seat, pushed my head back on the headrest, and processed everything that happened this past week.

Waiting for test results in the ER at 3am....

Waiting for test results in the ER at 3am....

Life does go on.  That's true....and I have responsibilities to fulfill.  But one thing you guys have helped me learn and understand by your comments (which have been amazing by the way - I'm saving my feelings of gratitude to each of you for another blog post), is that it's ok to feel each of those emotions as they come on.  I'm learning that yes, life moves on, but it's also ok to allow myself to cry when I feel sad, laugh when I feel happy, yell when I get angry, talk when I am yearning for friendship, and be alone when I am craving solitude.  Today I was grateful to that nurse for allowing me to talk about how I felt.  I'm learning to open up about my feelings which is something I've never, ever been good at doing.  And it feels good.

I have so many other blog posts I want to write about: how my husband has handled everything and how it has impacted our relationship/marriage; tips for helping a friend who is going through a miscarriage or loss; how blogging about this experience has really helped me process everything that has happened; feelings of hatred I've had towards my body this week for failing me like it did; how going back to the hospital and requesting copies of the surgical notes was really healing for me; and so many more.  But, I may be passing a kidney stone this week so I'm not sure how frequent my posts will be.  Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers that this stone passes quickly and that I can manage the pain.  I appreciate each of you, the comments you have left, and the prayers your have said.  I truly have felt your love and your support has meant so much to me.

Your friend,
Natalie

PS - the nurse also encouraged me to speak with a local counselor about everything that went on and I am considering doing that as well.  I may blog about that also 😉

UPDATE:
If you are just stumbling across this post, I wrote quite a bit when I was going through the entire surgery and recovery process.  Here are the posts I wrote in the order they were written starting from the day of my ectopic pregnancy surgery.

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28 Comments

  1. You are so strong, Natalie. You have been through a lot. We don’t know the strength we have, until we have no other choice and you can do this. I’m so sorry that you are going through so much, talking with someone should help. I don’t know you other than through your blog and facebook, but have followed your journey and think you are the bee’s knees. You CAN do this, and have thousands of silent supporters who watch your journey and think about you. Best of luck, and you CAN do this!

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  2. Hi Natalie, I got teary eyed just reading this. I wish I lived close to you, I would drive down to your house and watch your kids and be that friend to get you through this. It totally sucks that your going through this and I pray that things go smooth. I just wanted to make sure you remind yourself to have a back up plan if pain gets really bad. Maybe have a neighbor around so when you pass the stone your kids don’t get scared. I’ve heard horror stories but I have also heard some people say it wasn’t that bad. So don’t freak yourself out about it, just be preapared. Well I’m sure you have already thought about all this . So take care and praying for you. Your Friend from CA Adriana.

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  3. Natalie, We don’t know each other at all; just another person who reads your blogs and follows you on Facebook. But I do want you to know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. You’re enduring so much and I do know how hard it can be. I have no more sage nuggets to offer that haven’t already been suggested by others, but I do feel for you and pray that once you’re beyond these hurdles that life will resume in a positive way. You’ve been an amazing inspiration to others and deserve only the best.

    With love in Christ,
    Mark

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  4. I’m an RN and I had my first kidney stone/trip to the ER 3 weeks ago. All I can say is it was more painful than giving birth. It was awful. They gave me flomax to dilate my tubes so that it would pass easier, vicodin for the pain, reglan for the nausea/vomiting and bactrim just in case there was any infection from it, My only advice is to take you meds and rest as much as possible. I honestly didn’t see the stone pass (never found it in the toilet) but I finally felt relief after about a week, so I must have missed it. I’m so sorry for all the pain you have experienced lately, but this to shall pass and you will come out stronger in the end. Prayers for you and your health.

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  5. I’m so sorry you are going through this! I have dealt with kidney stones in the past and yes, the pain is horrendous- like labor. I actually ended up having shock wave lithotripsy done to break up some larger stones that were too small to pass. It’s been almost 8 years and I haven’t had any problems since, knock on wood! I try to remember to drink drink drink! Herbal teas, water, and especially warm lemon water. I drink this everyday. Wishing you all the best and crossing my fingers for you that the pain medications help with your stone. ((Big hugs))!!!

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  6. Oops that should be too “large” to pass! 😉

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  7. So sorry that there is another thing to deal with!
    I’m glad the nurse recommended seeing a counselor. A friend had recommended that to me right after my first loss but I put it off. Four years later I had two different friends that recommended I get in contact with a group of women who had been through similar things. It’s been one of the best choices I’ve ever made! It’s been healing and encouraging all at the same time. There are seventeen of us and they have become like aunties and sisters to me. I am so thankful that I listened this time.
    Thank you too for the post. I look each day to see how you are doing. There are so many of us who are behind you and your family!

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  8. Seriously… you are having some awesome luck right now. What is up with that?!? I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that “everything happens for a reason”… I hate that phrase. Sometimes, bad things happen. And I totally agree with what you said that you are entitled to feel all of the things you are feeling. That’s why seeing a counselor is such a good idea.

    A few years ago, my husband and I were struggling trying to have a baby, I had a bump on my leg that the doctor couldn’t determine if it was a bug bit or cancer, and then they found a lump in my neck (which turned out to be cancer) plus my father-in-law had liver cancer. I finally decided I needed help processing everything and dealing with how I felt about these bad things that kept happening. And I am so glad I did. The bump on my leg wasn’t cancer (they think) and the lump on my neck was cancer (which I was treated for), but having an independent 3rd party to talk through everything was so helpful because she didn’t have her own feelings about what was happening. My husband was great, but he was dealing with it all as well. So I would HIGHLY encourage seeing someone. I mean, it doesn’t sound like you have a ton of time to do that right now, but when you get the chance, it helps. It has helped me SO MUCH.

    Good luck (I guess that’s what you say?) passing the kidney stone. I will be thinking and praying for you.

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  9. Please see a urologist asap. Make sure they monitor the stones progress. If you get bad pain in your lower back, the stone could be stuck or your kidney could be infected. The Emergency room Dr. Sent me home 3 times because they didn’t realize my body could not pass the stone due to the changes my body had gone through a few weeks earlier from giving birth. I ended up having my stone get stuck which infected my kidney. I almost died. I had 2 emergency surgeries and lived with a nephrostomy tube and bag hanging out of my back for a week. You are your only advocate. Even the urologist didn’t know the stone was stuck til it was too late. I suggest watching your pain levels closely and demanding that they keep testing your urine for infection and keep an eye on the stone. Your body just went through major trauma with your surgery. Have your husband make a fist and tap it on the sides of your lower back at least twice a day. If it’s terribly painful from the tapping, you need to be seen. When the stone comes out, you need to have it tested. Most women are not stone makers naturally. It is typically a male problem. Mine was a calcium stone caused from my prenatal pills. Please listen to your body and don’t wait. Mine went from being diagnosed as a small stone that would pass in a week, to a stuck stone and infected kidney in less than 5 days. Good luck!

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  10. Water. Lots of water. And then more water. And just an FYI, it’s the pain in your back and your side that gets worse, not actually ” down there”. Prescription pain meds helped me the first time. The next two were less severe and I started drinking water at the first indication of that side back pain. That was when ” oh I must have slept wrong” morphed into ” oh no, now I remberer what his pain is”. Good luck. Go get a drink 😉

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  11. You cannot push a kidney stone out so unlike the weird advice you got from someone else don’t do that!
    Toradol works great for the pain and you can also use the pain meds you should already have from your surgery. They should have given you flomax which will help you pass it if not call your regular doc and ask for some they should just call it in. Now you just wait some people the worst pain is what your having now then if passes. Others it can be worse. Everyone is different and I have seen tons of them come through my ER and they are never the “same”. I hope your health gets better and know you are never alone there are many that care about you

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  12. So sorry for everything you’re going through right now! Big, warm hug! I appreciate your honest words. I can relate to a lot of what you shared. I could say a lot but I just wanted to share this link with you on raw vegetables, especially spinach, and their link to causing kidney stones because of high amounts of oxalic acid……. At first, when this was shared with me, I immediately felt defensive like.. “Um, spinach is amazing for you and I feel great!!” …. But, with everything, I know that I have a lot to learn! I feel like there is some good information here and wisdom for nutrition… Maybe it will help you get some things figured out with your stones. Bless you and feel better soon!! And pleeeease, give yourself permission to relax, heal, rest and soak up the love of your family! It IS ok to slow down sometimes, even though that seems so hard for us Mommy’s to accept. Embrace this time and talk to yourself as you would a hurting friend. Hugs to you!!

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  14. Natalie,
    I am so sorry that you have to go through everything you are going through right now. I believe that we all go through things for a reason, and that God will not give us anything we can’t handle. I don’t know what your religious beliefs are, but I have been struggling with my faith recently, and knowing if there was really someone there listening to me and helping me. After some time praying and going through some struggles and illness myself, I can say with out a doubt that there is someone there listening to me and comforting me with it all. Even though he didn’t take away the pains (physically and emotionally), the tears, and struggles, I just had a feeling that things would get better and I would be stronger after. I know it’s hard to see it during it all, hang in there, and don’t be afraid to ask for help (from God and friends/family). Thank you for being so honest and open. I love following you and think you are a wonderful person! I wish you nothing but the best, and a quick recovery. You and your family are in my prayers. Take care.

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  15. Natalie,
    Thank you for your honesty about the pain and grief of losing a child no matter how far along a pregnancy is. I am so sorry to hear about your kidney stone, but I hope you realize that even though life goes on its a different life than before. Please take the time you need to process everything, whether its with a counselor or on your own. Dedicating this time to yourself now will make you a better wife and mom. Even though you went through the loss, your family also experienced it. I wouldn’t be surprised if it affected all of you in a different way. I would also recommend looking into stillbirthday.net, the resources Heidi Faith has compiled is amazing. Just one place to start. Hugs and prayers.

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  16. Hi Natalie. I’m sorry for all your loss and grief that has been happening. You will go through many emotions and triggers will come up many times in the future, sometimes when you least expect it. Acknowledge it, ask yourself what it may be telling you at the time (maybe nothing) and how to move forward. As a social worker in a cancer center here in Boise, I see grief and loss every day and in many different ways. Everyone is different and they all work through it differently. Be kind to yourself and don’t put to many “I should’s” on yourself. That’s very important. I do think it would be helpful for you to talk with a counselor, at least once. It really does help to talk with someone outside your circle who can be non-judgemental and give you tools to help. These are tools that should help you throughout your life for many other things that may happen, good and bad.
    On a separate note, my husband is home right now passing a kidney stone! We were in the ER all day yesterday. He has one passing now, two others in the same kidney and one in the other! It looks awful so I know this is going to be tough for you. Wish I could tell you how to manage it but there really isn’t much you can do. The one thing I have heard from many is to drink lemon water. Supposedly this helps.
    Wishing you the best as you move through this time…and you will move through it. Won’t forget it, get over it, accept it (cause those things just don’t always happen), but you will move through it! If I can be of other help, please let me know!

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  17. I am so sorry for your loss, my father passed away october 5 2014 qnd my brother died december 4 2014. Any loss is hard, im doing the best I can. I just hurt so bad. We dont even have enough money for him to be laid to rest. He was in a , motorcylcle accidentant could have survived but instead of the cops giving him oxygen before paremedics arrived they gave him A BREATHALYZER while he was dying and he passed. Even the hospital said he wouldnt have died if the cops had let the ambulance take him right away. We have a lawyer but hes gone and even justoce wont bring him back, he was only 37 amd my father hos step dad was only 48. Iwasnt close to my father but one day I wanted to be but now I cant.im sorry im telling everyone this in a blog post but I just dont have anyone to talk to about it. Natalie I know what you went through is a lot worst but I feel for you, you are not alone, I hope 2015 is a better year for you and me both

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  18. Oh pour you. I know something about kidneys . that’s really unforgettable pain. I hope that everything gonna be good with you. You right life goes on , sometimes it is who it is and we can’t do nothing. Just keep calm and let it go. You are strong woman you handle so much things. Good job Nath!
    xoxox

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  19. Natalie,
    I am so very sorry for all that you have been through. I have been following you for about a year now, actually right after I had a missed miscarriage in January of last year. It was the hardest thing that I have ever been through. The feelings are indescribable. I had feelings of failure, embarrassment, loneliness,…everything. I did seek counseling for a few months and it helped tremendously. I have a 9 yo step son and a two year old son and to be the best for them, we have to take care of ourselves first. Take the time for whatever you need to help you deal and grieve through this. It will get better with time. Thinking of you! xo

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  20. Natalie,

    You are in my prayers daily as I follow your painful journey at the moment…because usually I’m following your kick butt fitness journey. This seems small, but in case they didn’t tell you, you may pass a lot of blood in your urine as you pass the stone..don’t be alarmed…it looks worse than it is and is common. My husband has kidney stones frequently. The first time we didn’t know this little fact and just about rushed him back to the ER thinking he must have ruptured something. So heads up. The pain, both minor/dull, and crazy vomitting painful…will all of a sudden just go away when the stone passes. So just know that a huge feeling of “woosh”…its gone will be just around the corner. In the meantime….lots of fluids…..and pee regularly.

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  21. Get some AZO from Walmart or cvs, they make a natural version also if your into the natural thing. This is the best OVC medicine I’ve found for stones. It will turn your pee orange but that’s ok.

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  22. Natalie, so sorry to hear of all you have been through. I have never personally been through a loss but have some people very near and dear to me that have and they have told me many times how important it is not to let anyone put a timer on your heart. It takes time to work through events no matter if they are happy or sad and you must be allowed to work through the feelings at your own pace in your own way. Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I know it will bring comfort and strength to someone. I have always admired your kindness and strength in your encouragement of all of us following you in reaching our fitness goals. Just know we are all behind you the very same and praying for peace and comfort for you in these hard times. I am a nurse and I have had kidney stones and those definitely are no fun….I hope they pass quickly for you and that you have a good way to manage the pain. Prayer and hugs to you.

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  23. You sound like such an amazing person, Natalie! I’ve been reading your blog for about a year now and you are Sovery strong, mentally and physically, and just so honest. Such a nice change from how people seem to be these days. I am so sorry about everything you are going through and what I have to say is not at all what I wish I could say right now but kidney stones are like labor, as most people are telling you. My husband has been to the ER 3 different times now for 3 different kidney stones. His pain was on the front end on the way to the ER…the actual passing of the stone he could feel but said it just felt like scraping. His were all 1-2mm in size. My sons teacher just had to have a 3mm kidney stone surgically removed, however, and that’s concerning to me that they will let that try to let that pass by itself. I agree with the other commenters who have suggested seeing a urologist…I would hate to see you try to pass a kidney stone that size just to wind up in surgery anyway. Bless you, Natalie…I wish you and your family the best and look forward to hearing how this year gets nothing but better for you 😉

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  24. Hi Natalie,
    I feel so sad in my mind while i reading your post but we all human being face like this one day.I had already took surgery with fribroid uterus and now I am OK and age with 59.Don`t worry too much it will be smooth everything in future.I am praying for you at Buddha and He will help to be healthy within one or two weeks.I am always meditation and praying and send my kindness for the people on earth.

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  25. Hi, Natalie.
    I hope you remember me from Charm City Concierge at Pinnacle Towers.
    I have followed you on Facebook and have been so happy for your successes and watching your children grow. You are so eloquent in all your communication, but especially in your recent blogs having to do with the miscarriage you suffered. Your openness and vulnerability are remarkable, and sharing your feelings with those of us who care about you is a blessing for us. I had miscarriage years ago and it took a very long time to process the grief and emotional turmoil, since it wasn’t “talked about” at the time. You are handling this far better than I. You are a strong, wonderful person, Natalie, and I so wish you didn’t have to go through this. I just want you to know I am thinking of you and that you are in my prayers. I miss you.
    Hugs to the little ones, I am here if you need/want to talk, anytime.

    -Joan

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  26. I’m sure the Dr.’s made mention of the correlation between high protein consumption and kidney stones. I often see you talking about your protein powder (whey protein which is really hard on your system!) and since I work with several Nephrologists and a urologist, I do know of the dangers of high protein diets.

    Normal healthy young women should not be developing kidney stones. Having said that, I hope your stone passed without too much discomfort! I haven’t seen you mention it again.

    Btw, I only comment in this manner due to a concern that women look up to you and want to be just like you and in an effort to sell your protein powder you may be encouraging higher protein intake for women that really don’t need it.

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    • Hey Shelli, I appreciate your comment but I really only recommend that around 25% of my daily calories come from protein which isn’t a high protein diet at all.

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