a thank you note to kidney stones…

IMG_5253Not so very long ago, my father, whom I more commonly refer to as “Daddy,” was diagnosed with kidney stones.

Now, I’m no doctor, nor do I play one on tv, so you’ll have to forgive my simple assessment and description of the situation. He had big fucking kidney stones. Not the kind you simply pee out and watch for in a strainer. The big grown-ass variety of kidney stones that require surgical intervention. His kidney stones were like the size and shape of a kidney.


Because of the big-ass kidney stones my dad had to go under the knife. Or at least the modern equivalent there of. He went under the laser to get rid of those rocks and give his kidney a fighting chance. And you know, at the time, that seemed like a really big deal. A really annoying annoyance. And he and my mom handled it wonderfully. It was a surgery sure, but it was still in and out of the hospital in one day. He had to rest a bit but as far as surgeries go, easy-peasy.

And you know, that was that. Once we figured out what had been causing problems I stopped thinking about my dad’s kidneys. I think that’s pretty normal. I mean, you don’t obsess over your dad’s kidneys on a daily basis right?

So a few weeks later when my dad called and asked if we could have lunch—him, my mom, my brother, my sister-in-law, and me—I didn’t think anything of it. We’re a pretty close little family, they want to have lunch whenever they’re in the neighborhood. Plus it was a super busy work day. I’m sure I was all tied up with stuff and things and thinking about WordCamps, WordPress, and people.

So it stands to reason that I was not thinking about my dad’s kidneys. I was thinking about work and maybe iced tea and my favorite salad rolls.

Why would I assume that after buying us all lunch my father would lean against the table, look right at me, and tell us all that they found something? That those kidney stones weren’t the real problem? That, suddenly, my not obsessing over my dad’s kidneys would take a complete 180? Flip a bitch, as it were?

My dad had kidney cancer.

Whoof. Even though I’ve known for a couple of months, I need a minute. So go ahead and take a couple of deep breaths. Don’t think about cancer. Or about peeing through a strainer. Or about how hard it is to get your tongue comfortable in your mouth once you start to think about it.


Let’s make this about me for a moment. My dad just told me he has cancer. I was just sitting there minding my own business. It’s not like I did something awful and my dad was like “I HAVE CANCER AND YOU SUCK!” I was devastated. I listened. I hugged him. I smiled at my dad. I probably acknowledged the existence of my mom, brother, and sister-in-law. Maybe. And then I excused myself to head to the bathroom. Partly because I wanted to splash water on my face and hyperventilate in private but mostly because I wanted to text my guy to meet me at home because WHAT THE FUCKING HELL MY DADDY HAS CANCER and I was not okay.

But life is life. I took the day off work and freaked out a bit. My parents went on a cruise that they lived to regret. And minutes and hours and days continued to pass. It was all relatively normal. But for me punctuated with some intense anxiety.

Let me let you in on something that some of you probably know—and the rest of you have totally figured out. I’m a daddy’s girl. I love my dad. We had our problems when I was a kid—I was an asshole and so was he—but I am so happy and fortunate to have an amazing dad. Some folks think it’s awful. Some folks think it’s quaint. I don’t care either way.

Back to the story. Back to what this was all leading up to. Back to today. Today, my dad had his kidney removed. You see, when a kidney has cancer—and again I’m not a doctor—that kidney is fucked. It’s just shitty now. It’s just a kidney that is going to continue to be all gross and cancery and the only thing to do with it is to cut it out.

And that’s why I’ve been a little distracted lately. And short. And distant. And spacey. But not why I’ve been unpleasant. That’s just a normal part of my personality.

So when I say that my dad had to go under the knife today I mean it more literally. Today they IMG_2200cut him open and took out his kidney and poked around in his guts a bit. And he’s okay. He was surrounded by family who loves him. He had a kick-ass surgeon with cool hair. He had nurses with purpose and personality. And he had his Android phone to text and call people. Which, honestly, I don’t really get. I mean, wouldn’t you want an iPhone in this situation? But whatever.

I feel like I should have something to say now. Something to wrap this up and display an acidic wit. But really all I can do is feel thankful for the amazing people in my life and for kidney stones. Thank fuck for kidney stones. Because without that fucked up shit, we would have totally missed some really really fucked up shit….

And for the record, fuck cancer.

9 thoughts on “a thank you note to kidney stones…

  1. ServerPress Marc says:

    I lived 44 years before I discovered I was born with a single kidney. How did I discover this little tidbit? You guessed it: kidney stones.

    The point I am.making is, and I am sure the docs told you, a person can live a long and healthy life with only one kidney.

    Best of luck to your dad. I suspect that if the cancer was limited to the one kidney, he’ll be just fine!

  2. JJJ says:

    Get this man an iPhone already; hasn’t he suffered enough? Also, glad you’re all gonna be alright, just as soon as he gets that iPhone.

  3. Wendy says:

    So sorry, Cami. Hugs to you, your dad, and your family. Been through cancer with my mom and it’s not easy, to put it lightly.

  4. Darnell says:

    F…orget cancer! I am all too familiar with both kidney stones and dads with cancers. It sucks, but friends and family have the ability to love you they difficult times. I pray he is well on his way to recovery at this point.

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