This week, Jill answers a listener question about the likelihood of forming more kidney stones.
Jeff Sarris: Welcome back to the Kidney Stone Diet podcast, the show by reducing your kidney stone risk and living your best life. I’m your host and fellow student, Jeff Sarris.
Jill Harris: And I’m Jill Harris, your kidney stone prevention.
The Pomodoro Technique
Jeff Sarris: So this week, we promise we’re doing a listener call, we won’t go on any tangents. But speaking of tangent, the Pomodoro Technique I mentioned to you off air. That is something that, since we came back from Miami, has been super valuable for me. Some people might know about this, but it’s–I’ve done it before. I haven’t done it recently and I forget how just how helpful it is. It’s, essentially, you can get an app, you can do whatever, you can set up a timer, but it’s a 25 minute work period followed by a five minute break. You just cycle that and it does something magical for clicking you out of maybe a pattern that you’re in that you don’t realize.
So, say like if I’m like writing code, or like programming, or doing things like that, I can be just stuck on something, and just almost wallow in that for a long period of time, and just be like, I cannot figure it out. But the magic of having a forced stop moment, so 25 minutes, and then I actually–now like we’re back in Chicago. It’s winter. I get up and I just walk around the little loop in the house because you know how there’s just a hallway and living room. It’s just a tiny little circle, but it gets me thinking again about different things. I found that I am just sort of like going for a walk around the block or whatever it is. My brain’s allowed to put together new connections that active thinking wasn’t making.
And it’s so dumb because I’ve done this before, like so many times. I use an app. I think it’s called Focus Keeper. It’s just a timer, but it just toggles you in and out. And it’s like, “Hey, Go!” And I remember that there was an author, or a scientist, or someone iconic from, like, 100 years ago or something, but he would be writing before bed and only stop mid-sentence to then go to sleep. He never wanted to be have his thought finished. He wanted to have to finish it the next morning, which I thought is a really interesting approach that worked for him. It’s sort of what this Pomodoro does, too, then as you hit that 25 minutes. And as long as you’re in your head, and you’re like when I hear that bell ding I’m going, whatever I’m like, I am not finishing the thing that I’m in. I found it very valuable. I just wanted to mention it just I don’t know.
Jill Harris: Yeah, that’s really interesting. I wonder, you know–well, the whole walking and movement, you know, somebody a couple of weeks ago said, “Boy, Jill sure moves a lot in these videos.” I do. I’m a shaking and a rolling, a rolling and a shaking. Okay, I am. Movement helps me think. When I talk to patients, I’m walking, I’m like, “Okay, let me put this off together. Don’t say nothing, Suzy. Just let me walk and think about it.” You know, but what I’m not understanding is, if I’m in my mode, why would I want to get up? What are they suggesting it does? Is it going to make it better? Am I going to–you know what I’m saying? Or is this only if you’re kind of stuck in something?
Jeff Sarris: So, I find it valuable across the board for doing any sort of thought work, I’d say, so like the stuff that we just do just across like whether it’s programming, whether it’s working with patients, or whatever. It’s giving the brain almost a moment to relax and I think it might be somehow tangentially connected to what happens when we sleep. Because when you leave a problem unsolved, there’s a percentage of the time when, during sleep, you figure out the solution, like you’re not trying. Or maybe in the shower, even, you know. You take a shower. You have all those negative ions. They just they improve all these feelings, but then somehow you’re just like, “Oh, I got it. I didn’t think about it this way. Now I did.”
It’s almost like a turn off or something that gets us out of our own way. I don’t know the mechanism. I haven’t looked into it that deep. I’ve only used it.
Jill Harris: I’m gonna try it.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, it’s interesting. I’d be curious to hear your thoughts, then, like, how your experience is. But since we’ve been back from Miami, I’ve been doing that every day. I’ve been standing here getting more activity and just like plowing through things that have taken a lot longer. So I use Focus Keeper. That’s the one I use. And it’s just almost like a little slice of a tomato. Because it’s a Pomodoro tomato. It might be something like that. I know that there’s different tomato ones. So, yeah, it’s the Pomodoro Technique.
Jill Harris: Alright, I’m gonna give it a try because I mean, there’s always a million different ways to focus, refocus. I mean, how many times do we sit on our desks and beat ourselves up about, you know, we don’t know how we’re gonna fix it. I get that. It’s like your brain is just working in overdrive and, you know, sometimes you just need to step away,
Jeff Sarris: And it’s hard if we don’t have someone forcing us to, at least for me, because I’ll just sit there. I will be like, I am going to figure this out. But it’s just a little thing on an app that, as long as I tell myself, “No, I have to have to abide, to follow whatever, this little ding, it’s done wonders. It seems to just add and I do so much more in a shorter period of time. It’s weird. It’s it’s just hard to even quantify.
Jill Harris: Well, I’m gonna try it. And then, I mean, obviously, we’re taping a bunch of shows today.
Jeff Sarris: So, down the line.
Jill Harris: Listen, if we are not learning and growing constantly, I don’t know what we’re doing breathing. This is what life is about. Always trying to figure out–everyone who’s listening, all of us, Jeff, and I, everybody has problems. We all have stress. We all have stuff. So, any tricks, anything we can talk about, and bring into the podcast, and discuss and try to make something better, well, that’s what it’s about. We’re all in the same boat here. It’s like everybody has stress. Here’s just another way or problem solving. This whole channel is about problem solving your lifestyle and if we can figure out new, nifty ways to, you know, perhaps do something better, well, then I’m all for it. So, I’ll definitely try it. And, you know, as far as like, the whole movement thing. I mean, whenever I’m particularly stressed, I know I need to move. I cannot just–I’m not like you. I’m not going to sit and sit there trying to figure it out. I gotta move. Definitely.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, and that’s a good habit to have. That’s a habit I, personally, just haven’t built. I need that prodding, I guess. So, with that, no question this week–no, we should dive into dive into the question before too long. So, this is a question from Mary.
Jill Harris: Mary.
Listener Voicemail: Hi, Jill! My name is Mary. I love your input and I just wanted to ask you, I had my first stone a number of months ago and I’m 80. I had to have surgery because it was a 14 millimeter one. I’m doing everything you say. I eat lots of fruit and veggies. I use a salt shaker once. I use Mrs. Dash with different things. I try to drink a lot of water. How likely am I going to produce more stones when it took me 80 years to do this one? I’m just going to mention that I’m five feet, and I weighed around 125 pounds, but since I’m on this diet thing, I’m down to 111-112 pounds. I feel good. Thank you for taking my call. Love you. Bye bye!
Jill Harris: Oh my god, I love Mary. As soon as I heard her voice, I’m like Mar. I love you. I love you too, Mary. Thanks for calling us. Now, you know I’ve done phone work for all these decades. So, I’m not seeing people when I speak to them, so I really listen to their intonation, how they say things, their cadence, all of it. That’s my clue on how somebody feels about what they’re saying. First of all, first of all, when you’re 80 and you have a kidney stone and that kidney stone, Mary, like you said was very big. So now we have an eighty year old who has a kidney stone, and she has to have a surgery. None of you want a surgery. I don’t care if you’re 80 or 20. Going under is always a risk, recovery, it’s awful. I’ve had plenty of surgeries for my cancer. So I understand. It’s no joke.
How likely is it that I’ll get another kidney stone?!
So, the fact that she went, you know, under and had a surgery at 80 is a big deal. The one thing that struck me in her voice was she’s like, “I’m drinking water.” Kind of like, you know, I’m hearing things like I don’t I think I’m drinking enough water. I’m happy. I’m drinking water. You know, there’s a lot going on with when she said, I’m drinking wine or I’m drinking a lot of water. Okay, so her question is, will she make another stone? How quickly will she make another one when it took her 80 years to make this one? Man, you could have made this stone in your 40s, just never passed. Could have been rattling around in there for a long time, just didn’t move. So it’s not like you just made it–most likely–it could be, though. You could have made it in the last year, but I don’t know. Beside the point, though.
I guess my point is, it doesn’t mean you just made it. It could have been there for decades. It just never moved. There’s plenty of people once have passed on, if you opened up their kidneys, plenty of people have kidney stones, they didn’t know because they never moved. There’s plenty of cadavers with a lot of stones in their kidneys. It’s surprising, but if they never move, you wouldn’t know. So just to be clear, we don’t know how long you had that kidney stone, but it did present when you were 80. So how likely is it that you’ll get another one? Well, research will show that typically, typically, on the average, which means there’s more time that goes in between and less time–between the first and second stone incident is about 10 to 12 years. Fifty percent of people will get the first one and then 10 to 12 years later, 50% of people will get a second one. If you fall into that category, then the odds are, you will get another one two years later.
As we age, our thirst lessens!
That’s what research shows, okay, but you could become faster, it could be longer. It could be WAY longer if you do the Kidney Stone Diet. So, Mary, if you follow the Diet, first of all, I’m going to ask you because we all know I’m going to have you had a urine collection? I would ask to get a urine collection. I don’t say that, you know glibly because your 80 and the doctor may be like, “She’s 80. She’s probably not going to make another one.” But I would get a urine collection to see, you know, why you formed that stone. So, there’s that. Maybe you didn’t drink enough. As we age, our sense of thirst gets lessened. So, many of my seniors will tell me, “I’m not thirsty.” Well, I’m not thirsty every time I’m drinking either, folks, but we still have to drink. I noticed that I have less thirst as I age. So, we still have to drink.
Now, Mary often was kind enough to tell us she’s only five feet. She weighed 125 pounds. Now, after watching her sugar and salt, she’s down some pounds. And, Mary, there’s a couple things I will tell you. I don’t want you losing more weight, so pay attention to that. Number one. You don’t have to be so restrictive. But, typically, when you do the Kidney Stone Diet, you will lose weight because you’re paying attention to added sugar, and salt. And, you know, your water drinking, pay attention to it. You will hear doctors generically say, “Everybody should drink 100 ounces of water.” Mary’s five feet! Where she gonna put 100 ounces of water?! So Mary probably doesn’t need to drink 100 ounces of water because she’s small. But we say at the Kidney Stone Diet, we want to see two and a half liters coming out of you to three liters.
Make sure you’re getting your urine collections, people!
I weigh 118 pounds, so maybe I’m going to drink a little bit more than Mary to get that. Maybe I’ll drink a little bit less if she’s eating more salt than me. It’s a whole– it’s a lot of different things. I like that you lost some weight if that’s what you needed to do, Mary. It seems like 115 would be a good weight for you, but you know I’d have to talk to you, obviously, I don’t know your how your bone frame is and stuff like that. If you’d follow the Kidney Stone Diet, Mary, you will probably not getting another stone for the rest of your life. Okay, so let’s put it that way. If you didn’t follow the Kidney Stone Diet, on average, people get their second stone about 10 years later, on average. Some people get it a lot quicker. The patients who were calling me they got a kidney stone.
Two years later, they got another stone. Some people one year later because they didn’t do the diet changes. They didn’t get a urine collection. They didn’t do the diet changes, because the doctor said, “Ah,we’ll wait for a second stone to get a urine collection.” You know how I feel about that, people. Why would we do that? Let’s get it right away, so we don’t get the second stone. That makes sense to me. But who am I? So get the urine collection, follow the Kidney Stone Diet, make sure that everything’s cool in your urine collection because, sometimes, there’s other stuff going on with you–not just salt and sugar–that can lead to a kidney stone. That’s typically high urine calcium. So you want to make sure that’s all cool. But, Mar, honestly, if you follow the Diet, odds are you’re not gonna form another stone, and part of the Diet is getting those fluids down.
The chances are low unless you have another medical condition. I don’t know your medical history that’s predisposing you to stones. I doubt it only because you’re 80 and you’d haven’t had any yet, but you could have other ones. Was there imaging taken? Are there other ones? I don’t know. So there’s lots I still don’t know, so I’m going to be careful what I say, but you will greatly reduce your odds of getting another stone if you follow the Kidney Stone Diet. Plus, it’s just a healthy diet. As you see, you already lost weight, so don’t lose much more than this, my friend, okay? So make sure you’re eating enough, too. Lots of times, people go through such hell with a kidney stone, that they take away a lot of foods that they don’t have to. So you can email me, Mary, at firstname.lastname@example.org and give me a little more info on you so I can, you know, I’ll let you know what I think. I just don’t want you losing any more weight.
God forbid, you got a cold or you got sick, and then you’re losing another five pounds with that. Then you don’t have a lot of cushion to play with. So that would be the first thing if I were talking to you on the phone, I would think about your weight because you’ve lost 10 pounds and I don’t want you to loseing more, if that makes sense. Just the fact that you said you’re okay with it makes me think that you’re thinking about that, too. I don’t know, but my spidey senses kind of tell me that. So, I’m sorry that you made a stone that’s very large. I’m super sorry you had to go through that stupid surgery. Follow the Kidney Stone Diet. If you need help with that, you know, send me an email. It sounds like you’re doing everything you can, though, to instill that you don’t have another kidney stone. I’m super proud of you for doing it because at 80, folks, she’s changing her ways. Again, people will come to me, “Well, Jill, I’ve been eating this way my whole life. How am I supposed to do it?” And I’m gonna say if Mary can, so can you. So God bless you, Mary, that you’re working so hard. I’m so proud of you. It takes a lot to change after all these years. So good for you.
Jeff Sarris: Yeah, it’s tough. It’s never easy to change. It’s always an uphill battle. But, yeah, she’s done great. And having such a large stone, too, is painful, emotionally and physically. Just the anguish that would go with such an experience. We just don’t want anyone to have to ever go through that if we can help.
Jill Harris: No, that’s scary that she went through that. That’s a very large stone. So, thank God that she’s done with that and over. Mary, get a urine collection, please. See if the doctor will order for you.
Jeff Sarris: Thanks so much, Mary, for your question. If you’re out there, and you have a question, the number is 773-789-8763. And we’d love to feature you on a future episode. And again, you can dive in everything Kidney Stone Diet related at kidneystonediet.com. You can get tons of free resources. You can find the email newsletter that Jill sends out every Sunday with little inspiration to stay on track, and all the premium resources as well. We appreciate each and every one of you who tune in and comment and have subscribed and shared the show. It means a lot. It really helps us reach more people and we just want to help as many as we can. I think this is 128 episodes in, which is mind boggling to me. It’s because of each and every one of us, so we appreciate all the help. With that, I think we will wrap and we will see you next week.
Jill Harris: Thank you, Mary, so much! Great question!