More and more of my brothers and sisters are dealing with kidney stones, now, too. Which is too bad, because those suckers *hurt.*

And in a trend that is almost certainly unrelated, more and more of you humans are using curious phrases to describe your responses to adversity. Here’s how Miss Teen Wisconsin 2006, Alane Boyle, deals with the pesky stones: “You have to move on with your life and just take it for what it is, but also know that it doesn’t define you.”

I hope no one will accuse a friendly kidney of picking on a young beauty queen, but a couple of questions occur to me: (1) What else could one do with one’s life besides ‘move on with it’? (2) What alternatives does an intelligent human have to taking something ‘for what it is’? (3) And how, exactly, would a microscopic mineral deposit *define* a person?

— Kenny

Posted on November 19th, 2007 | filed under kidney, renal | Trackback |


  1. Alane:

    Well, Kenny, as that “young beauty queen” who has dealt with this, and knowing that you yourself have had to pass one of those buggers, I must point out that my comment was indeed valid. I know numerous patients (not teens like myself, mind you) that have become extremely upset with their problem. Many people, including some who also struggle with depression as well as kidney stones, will take this medical quirk as a far bigger problem that it needs to be. I’m sure you know how certain individuals will shut down their entire lives simply because they have kidney stones. Sometimes the uncertainty of when one will come is too much for certain people to deal with. And as for having it “define you” I meant that socially. As a high school student who misses 50+ days of school a year because of stone-related illness, surgery or appointment, I have literally become known as the freaky girl with the weird disease. I used to be very involved in my school’s drama program, but now because the director knows I have a problem, I have to deal with outward discrimination from her as well as other school administrators. I feel as if every time I talk with someone the subject of the conversation will be how I’m feeling or how fat my medical file is getting. Because of the frequency of my stones’ occurence and the fact that I have yet to pass one on my own (they are all over 4mm, and being a 5’1″ teenage girl I have needed numerous lithotripsy procedures) it feels as though my life revolves around stones. I have several stones in both kidneys, some of which are quite large and will require surgical removal when they try to pass. I’m sure you can understand how this can cause some anxiety when making future plans, as I don’t know if I’ll actually be able to follow through with them.

    Please don’t take this as an attack or a self-pitiful rant. I certainly agree that you have to move on with your life. That’s why I said it. I am no Miss South Carolina, and as someone who competes in scholarship programs I find it imperative that answers are thought through before any interview, pageant-related or not. I simply wanted you to see where I was coming from. I know of other people around my age and younger who find it very hard to cope with juvenile stone disease. I myself had feelings like that, and I don’t think anyone should have to deal with that. If we can figure out what causes stones in persons like myself, where the cause is not apparent, so many more people could be helped. That comment was for all those who felt like I did, so they know that they are not alone and shouldn’t feel confined by their issue. I’m sure you will agree.

    So sorry you’ve had to deal with stones. I know they’re not fun.

  2. bill:

    Alane, thank you so much for writing. Your eloquence embarrasses me. I really appreciate your telling your story here, and am very sorry that you’ve had so much trouble with these lousy stones.

    The news story about you said that you had just had your first stone; it gave none of the context that you’ve just given. Had I known your history, I would never have made light of it. And frankly, I probably shouldn’t have made light of it anyway — even one kidney stone is far too many.

    Thanks so much for writing, and my apologies for adding to your distress in any way. You have gone through a great deal, and have done so with great pluck and endurance. Please forgive a foolish kidney, who’s not always wise to the ways of humans. And please keep on doing what you’re doing. — Kenny

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