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The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Robotic Surgery – Part 1 (How a Kidney Stone Saved My Life)

Your outlook on life can change in an instant. I learned that valuable lesson this year. After an amazing run of great health and a level of fitness I had not experienced since my twenties, I found out that I needed surgery. Twice.

Imagine what you’d look like after fighting the “Wolverine”.  Say hello to robotic surgery.Robotic surgery is a “minimally invasive” procedure where five rods are plunged into your body to seek and remove unwanted growths. Compared to the medical technology available just twenty years ago, robotic surgery is a miracle. But it’s still surgery, and it’s no joke. Thankfully, all that remains after two rounds of robotic procedures are the scares. And I am one happy and appreciative Guy’s Guy. Here is my story.

It all began one cold night last winter. After dinner I felt a searing pain along my left side. This went on uninterrupted for three endless hours. I had no idea what was going on.  And I could not find a way to soothe my body. I flipped and flopped and sweat like a beast in heat throughout the relentless onslaught. Then suddenly the pain subsided. I exhaled, sighed and chalked it up to acute indigestion. By the next day I’d forgotten about it.

Fast-forward two months. I experienced a replay of identical symptoms over the course of another uncomfortable three hours. Again, the pain suddenly disappeared. I considered calling my doctor, but instead shrugged it off. The next day I ran my six-mile loop around Central Park without problems.

Fast forward to the July 4th weekend. A few hours after my ten-mile run along the boardwalk, the same unbearable pain erupted along my left flank. Five hours later it finally stopped. It was a holiday weekend and I was away from the city, so I crossed my fingers and fell asleep. I awoke the next day feeling fine, but by the early afternoon the pain returned in full force. I was in such severe pain that I too weak to go to the hospital. In my desperation I contacted Patti Conklin, a recent guest on my GUY’S GUY RADIO podcast. Patti’s book, “God Within” was a game changer for me. I loved its clear empowering message and got know and respect Patti as a person. She advised me to deploy her “Color Works” meditation to task my body with addressing the pain. She also helped me with my vibration and frequency by long distance, sending me balancing and healing energy. I took her advice and meditated. I also drank lots of lemon water, gritted my teeth a lot before finally passing out. I continued the “Color Works” meditation daily to visualize the elimination of the stone. It helped calm my mind and spirit while teaching me to love and trust my body.

When I returned to the city I finally went to the doctor. He told me that my symptoms mirrored those from a kidney stone. In late July, he sent me for a CAT scan. They found the kidney stone. And they found something else—a small growth was lodged onto each of my kidneys. This is not uncommon. They could easily be fatty deposits. Wisely, my doctor advised me to see an urologist. For now, the stone was my primary concern. It was moderate in size and painfully grinding a slow, uncomfortable path towards my bladder. I was in for a bumpy ride. I began feeling discomfort when urinating, but there was nothing I could do about it until the stone passed. And that could take awhile. So, I squirmed through business meetings, occasionally excusing myself to catch my breath in the bathroom. Things finally came to a head after I sampled some wonderful new tequila. I felt the burn as the smoky liquid traveled down my urinary track. I called the meeting short, hoping I had not alienated the client. Then I went home and fought off some wildly uncomfortable urination for the next few hours.

I saw the urologist the following day. He was not smiling as he reviewed my CAT scan. I assumed that the growths were random fatty deposits. They weren’t. They were something far more dangerous and they needed to come out. To say the least, I was surprised. To be sure, my urologist ordered an ultrasound and an MRI. Same results. There was a growth on each kidney, and although they were not aggressive, they had to be removed. The finding was purely incidental. There had been no symptoms. If left untreated for another few years, all bets were off. I did my research and agreed to set dates in September and early November for two rounds of a surgical procedure that I knew nothing about. Who even thinks about their kidneys? Not me. I had been on the best health regime of my life in 2014 and now this? When I thought about it, I realized that my annoyingly persistent kidney stone had led me to this critical disclosure. And that little sucker still hadn’t passed.

The ultrasound showed the stone perched directly above my bladder and ready for release. And that could be excruciatingly painful. My priorities had rapidly changed. I now had to face up to the passing of a kidney stone followed by two rounds of robotic surgery on my kidneys. Right after the ultrasound, my urologist and I reviewed the results on his screen. It was still sitting right above my bladder. He suggested I return for an ureteroscopy the following day. This way the stone would be out of the way and could not cause trouble during my upcoming surgeries. An ureteroscopy consists of sliding a camera and a little grabber up the ureter to snatch the stone from the bladder. Not my idea of a fun afternoon, but I agreed to do it. 

Since my painful bouts during July, I had continued my daily “Color Works” practice. I asked my body to show me the right color and vibration to shrink and dissolve the kidney stone. I’d been doing this for over a month now. I thought about that in the ensuing hours before the ureteroscopy the following afternoon. Although it was still painful to urinate, the situation remained unchanged. I was in pain until I went under.

When I awoke after the procedure, I asked the doctor if he put a stent into my ureter. That’s fairly common following an utereroscopy and it supposedly hurts like hell. Thankfully, he said no. Then he told me to buy a lottery ticket. Although he and his assistants searched my ureter up, down and all around, the stone was nowhere to be found. Somehow, over the course of the past twenty-four hours, it disappeared.

To be continued…