Turns out, I’m not going to be teaching in December. Short version: kidney stones suck. For the long version, keep reading.
Just over a week before Halloween I ended up in the ER with my third bout of kidney stones in a dozen years. They’re part of my genetic inheritance. (Thanks Dad ;-) !) This time several kidney stones formed a log jam halfway between the kidney and bladder on my left side. The path was completely blocked and my kidney was becoming increasingly swollen.
Because of the injury and inflammation already present, retrieving the stones at this point would have risked further damage, so the doc put a stent in, which in this case is like a straw that goes from the kidney to the bladder, bypassing the stone cluster. The purpose of the stent was threefold: (1) so my kidney wouldn’t explode (hooray!), (2) to allow the swelling in the ureter to heal, and (3) so that maybe the stones could pass on their own. Spoiler: they didn’t.
But they tried damn hard.
I spent the rest of October and three-quarters of November in a blur of pain, medication, and Netflix while my insides healed enough for another expedition. A week ago I went back into surgery to have the stent removed and the stones lasered into smaller pieces. Doc even went up into the kidney to zap the stones that hadn’t made their way out yet. He retrieved all of the pieces he could but expects that I’ll be passing debris through most of December.
“Passing debris” is about as fun as it sounds. While it’s nice to know it’s non-life-threatening, the pain is unpredictable, sudden, and intense; and the rest of the day is pretty much shot.
The good news is I am starting to feel like myself again. The (further) bad news is there are stones in my other kidney! But for now they appear to be staying put.
This has of course been a humbling and eye opening experience, to be laid low by a little bit of gravel! I’ve tried to take it in stride, taking the lessons it has offered in detachment; finding separation between the reality of me and my definition of myself; and working at maintaining a practice when the body can’t be called on to serve as a faithful conduit.
The hardest part has been knowing that there are people waiting for me to come back to teaching. To you guys I would say: I hope you can use this as impetus to explore other teachers and to either start or continue to build your home practice. In other words: go do your yoga!
Wishing you all peace, love, and joy,