The Fighting Kidney
Margaret always thought that we are what we eat. After she had passed a few kidney stones she decided to research the relationship of various foods to kidney stones. Margaret thought that maybe one type of food was causing her a problem.
Margaret was a cautious person. So she decided to question both her Specialist and her GP on this subject when the opportunity arose.
Just to give you a little background, Margaret was never overweight; her weight was always within her BMI (Body Mass Index) range.
When Margaret spoke to her Specialist and her GP they both emphasised that certain foods could encourage kidney stones to form. However those foods were also necessary for her body to function properly.
Margaret was advised by both her Specialist and her GP to eat a varied, heathy diet along with drinking lots of water.
From that day on Margaret who had always eaten sensibly, concentrated on eating a varied and healthy diet. In her words, "it couldn't do any harm and could reduce either the size or frequency of her kidney stones".
Beat Kidney Stones would like to say a massive thank you to "The Wakeham Trust" for supplying a grant to create a Sufferers Travelling Support Fund. The fund will support sufferers of Kidney Stones when travelling out of their home area to another hospital.
The charities are run entirely by volunteers so costs are very low.
In general The Wakeham Trust likes to help projects that are small scale and would find it hard to get funding from big trusts and when an initial £125 to £2,500 grant can make a real difference. All the community projects they support have, as a common theme, the empowerment of ordinary non-professional people.
After Margaret had passed her first kidney stone the advice she received from her specialist was, "drink plenty of water".
Quite how much importance was attached to that advice by Margaret I can only guess at but I do know Margaret when realising any advice was important, would act on it.
I also know that Margaret knew the whereabouts of every public loo in her local town of Barnstaple, the county City of Exeter some 40 miles away & everywhere in between the two.
Margaret once said that to pass her kidney stones she needed fluid to wash the stone through the Ureters and Urethra. So to help herself she was always drinking water, why wouldn't she?
I do know that over the years Margaret's kidney stones became smaller and smaller.
On one occasion, Margaret had passed a large kidney stone after many months of pain. Afterwards, she was told by her specialist to "take plenty of exercise" (Not that Margaret was a couch potato in any way). So that was what Margaret did.
Margaret loved to go shopping, not necessarily to buy anything but just to get out & about. Margaret was a firm believer in public transport & enjoyed walking so she decided to do more of what she liked doing, and why not.
The nice thing was, the number of people who kindly offered Margaret a lift when she was walking up the hill to her home.
Even her GP remarked, "I see you every day walking somewhere so I know you are taking plenty of exercise so all I will say is, keep doing it".
Whether the exercise helped or not we do not know, without the exercise Margaret may have had to pass even more kidney stones.
Over the years Margaret did have more kidney stones to pass but they did get smaller.
It is surprising how many Celebrities have had a kidney stone and some have had to pass more then one kidney stone.
Some Celebrities have also had their kidneys permanently damaged because of frequently passing kidney stones.
This Charity has and always will, preserve sufferers anonymity unless each sufferer states otherwise.
Margaret who was the inspiration for starting this Charity was once told a particular celebrity had passed a kidney stone. Margaret knew him by reputation to be extremely strong both mentally and physically. Margaret found this story very reassuring.
I once asked her why and Margaret said if he couldn't find a solution then she could stop looking and concentrate on eating correctly, exercising and drinking even more water.
I would like to appeal to all celebrity sufferers to contact the Charity and give us their kidney stone story and permission for the Charity to add the story to the web site with or without their name?
So that hopefully another sufferer may be reassured or find inspiration from reading a Celebrities story.
We have created a Group in LinkedIn called Kidney Stone Research
We wanted to create a group for sufferers to contribute to find solutions and communicate amongst each other if they wish. We encourage all sufferers to start a discussion or simply join in on conversations that are already happening.
The Kidney Stone Research Group will enable all sufferers to advise us on what area of research the sufferer would like us to support.
We hope that this will help discussions to develop on to a research item that will be even more helpful for the Charity Trustees.
As we continue to grow this community, we hope that all members of our new group, will help newcomers to the pain, by explaining how they coped, and what they did.
We look forward to hearing about your experience and solutions soon.
"I was asked by a donor yesterday what is the pain like when passing a kidney stone.
I could only repeat what Margaret had told me.
Margaret would have a sharp spasm of excruciating pain with no warning at all. She could be shopping, walking, or in the home doing house work when it started.
The pain would be so great that movement was just not possible and at times the pain was so unbearable that Margaret would pass out. If Margaret had her hand bag with her then she could take the pain killers in her hand bag and the pain killers would deaden the pain a little and make movement slightly easier. If her pain killers were not nearby then all Margaret could do was wait for the pain to reduce so that movement became possible. Then she could slowly move to where the pain killers were kept and take them.
Once, Margaret rushed into her garden to bring her washing in because it had started to rain. The next thing she knew she was coming too, lying on her path and absolutely soaked to the skin. Margaret managed to slowly crawl inside to take her pain killers and then she had to wait until the pain became bearable so that she could change into dry clothes.
Margaret had a very kind and understanding Doctor. He had explained "patients will always pass out when the pain becomes unbearable and this generally happens when a patient starts to pass either a kidney stone or a gall stone or if the patient was having a heart attack". Margaret had been reassured by this.
Margaret once described pressing her side so hard that it hurt, just to try and distract her mind from the sharp spasm of excruciating pain she was feeling.
At the back of Margaret's mind was the worry, what if she became immune to the effects of the various pain relief drugs she was taking, especially if she developed cancer. Sadly Margaret did develop a wide spread cancer and in the early days of being terminally ill she still tried to go as long as possible before taking her next pain relief.
We have two kidneys that are situated below the ribs and either side of the spine. They are bean shaped and approximately 100mm long.
The kidneys filter our blood and remove impurities and extra liquid (urine). The urine travels down two thin tubes of muscle called ureters and into the bladder.
Here the urine is collected and then discharged through another thin tube of muscle called the urethra.
The kidneys are important because they remove waste and extra fluids from our blood, keep levels of electrolytes stable and make hormones that help regulate blood pressure, make red blood cells and help bones stay strong.
A kidney is not one large filter but a group of many thousands of small filters. For details of how these filters work etc and for more detailed information then please visit the web site of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Did you know you can raise free funds for us every time you shop online?
By simply shopping via Give As You Live at over 4,100 retailers including Amazon, John Lewis, Debenhams, Thompson and Sainsbury's can raise a free donation for us.
Give As You Live will turn a percentage of what you spend into free funds for us. All you need to do is sign up to Give As You Live and then visit their website every time you want to shop, search the retailer and then just shop as normal!
To get started today please visit www.giveasyoulive.com/join/beat-kidney-stones
Beat Kidney Stones would like to thank it's first major supporter; Western Power Distribution which is the company responsible for electricity distribution in the Midlands, South West and Wales.
Their business serves over 7.8 Million customers and employs over 6,000 members of staff to ensure the highest quality of service.
Western Power Distribution gave some very good business advice and helpful financial support.