in which it is official …

After three weeks of excruciating pain, I finally have a diagnosis: I have an 8-mm kidney stone and an ovarian cyst, both on my left side! I am happy to know what is causing all of this bullshit, but on the other hand, I now know what I have to do to resolve the problem. The cyst will take care of itself over time, so I’m not super worried about that, but the kidney stone? I’ve gotta pass that bitch not just through my ureter (one of the two tubes that connects the kidney to the bladder), which has an average diameter that is smaller than my current stone, but then through my urethra, and nothing about this sounds like any fun, so naturally, I am just absolutely thrilled.

All of this gets me to thinking about how I’ve been treating my body the past two years. A lot of the stress I’ve put it through was caused by nursing school, but I can’t keep blaming other things for my lack of prioritizing myself. I don’t get enough sleep, I eat horribly, and I don’t get nearly enough exercise, despite having two very active dogs that need daily walkies. My skincare has fallen by the wayside – although I have restarted it over the past week – and I simply can’t recall how many times I’ve forgotten to brush my teeth before bed. Even my room is getting to the point of no return in terms of cleaning. And all of this? It’s driving me absolutely bonkers.

This kidney stone has really put a lot of things into perspective. I mean, is it possible that I would have gotten this damned kidney stone regardless of my current behaviors? Sure. Kidney stones happen to absurdly healthy people all the time, but I definitely helped it along. So what do I do exactly? History has shown that I can’t just suddenly make a bunch of changes to my life; I won’t follow through and will just revert to how things were before. But I have to change something. I think my first to-do is going to be getting more sleep and drinking more water; Dr. Pepper has been my main drink of choice lately, and that can’t have been super good for my kidneys, but the main reason I was basically main-lining it was because I was drained and needed the pick-me-up at work. Nursing is an exhausting job, especially bedside nursing, so having energy is definitely a prerequisite; not only do you have to keep up physically, you have to think critically all the time to care for your patients. And you can’t do that – well, you can’t do it well – when you are operating on borrowed energy because you’ll definitely crash and burn, which is kind of where I see myself headed.

So starting today, I am getting myself back on track. My phone’s going on its charger and staying on my desk until it’s time to wake up in the morning, and I’m keeping a full water bottle on me at all times. Skincare will be my way of winding down for bed, and instead of listening to a podcast, I’m going to read a book – I just ordered the new Pamela Anderson memoir – and/or journal about the day.

Well, I have a lot of stuff to do the rest of the day to make sure I set myself up for success this evening and tomorrow morning, so I’m going to go take care of those. But in the meantime … y’all, take care of yourself, especially your kidneys. These little punkasses are whiny.

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