Tuesday, July 3, 2007

i'm going under

this will be fascinating. i'm going to have a retrograde endopyleotomy. told ya. fascinating.

here's the deal: born w/ one kidney, it's a mess. when they found that i only had one, they said it looked blocked and that i needed a procedure (not as neet as the endo . . . huge incision. that was 15 years ago). i shopped around for doctors who didn't think that i needed the procedure and found them (the kidney *function* is pretty good, they said, and still do). but i can't help thinking that i need to fix it "for real" and that maybe function will improve, or at least not degrade with time. so now, years later, it seems time to correct the problem, especially as this is my one and only precious kidney. essentially, the problem is that it narrows where it connects to the ureter, pressure builds; it's ultimately not good, and i worry about it all the time. the narrowing of my ureter is a bit higher than the one in the photo; see in the photo a gradual tapering from kidney to ureter? mine's not like that. picture instead an overfull balloon on a very tiny string. we're going for something closer to that gradual tapered look (it could be as simple as a haircut!).

i need to schedule it for a time when i can take just a few days (recovery is, luckily, supposed to be pretty fast). not sure when i'll do it. first, a check w/ my nephrologist and maybe a test or two.

fascinating, right?



chris said...

that is pretty interesting.

you allow yourself to publicly discuss/explore the body - your body in particular (e.g. by talking about your brain surgery and now your kidney) - in ways that i don't read about elsewhere. what's up with that? is there any underlying academic/research interest taht you have in the human body - tied, perhaps, to performance or materiality or film or acting or something else? or, do you just not mind discussing such "personal" things?

(as i compose this comment, i can't help but think about a great article i'm finishing up - "Merleau-Ponty, the Elusive Body and Carnal Sociology" by Nick Crossley - that you might enjoy. why? b/c he fleshes out some of M-P's major ideas about the false mind-body divide that philosophy and psychology and sociology and...have been living with ever since Descartes. not that you've expressed interest in M-P, but with your talk of brain and kidneys and the fact that each can be touched on in this space of public intellectualizing makes me think that...)

at RSA a few weeks back there was a group of us discussing a number of things that academics typically avoid talking about (i think i posted something about this convo). our bodies was one of those things.

oh, and good luck w the surgery, btw.

chris said...

so as not to sound like a weirdo to the reader unfamiliar with my r-s, i posed the above questions b/c of the nature of my interest in the way academics talk about and avoid talking about our bodies. we talk about issues of embodiment - i.e. socially inscribed ideologies and ways of being, but we don't talk about our physical, moving bodies. disability studies is one of the few areas of study that, in various ways, tries to take on this issue. but it's hardly mainstream.

whew. okay, that's enough outa me for tonight.
good luck with the knives and the kidney and all.

foucaultisdead said...

Luckily, as Alan Johnston has just been released, a slot has just opened up in my prayer schedule...

More seriously, I hope everything goes well.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

thanks, Chris, for the reference to M-P. thinking and talking about our lived experience (bodily or, well, "otherwise") has always been my concern. the serious intellectual work on the body? i haven't taken that up to a great extent; in many ways, i think it's because of my own (selfish/self-centered/freaked out) concerns for my own, personal body. so, to spend my time on theoretical bodies seemed/seems sometimes, well, (and it's not, i realize) trivial.

whether or not we cop to it, our most intesnely theoretical work is ultimately speaking to our experiential/perspectival relations in/to the world and each other. otherwise, why bother? i'm being horribly reductive, but i'm also not fearful of doing so at this web space because it's certainly not the most deadly serious of sites. as my profile info suggests, i'm into pleasure, and i like to think about how we imagine/structure and respond to "managed pleasure" (nod to the holiday), which seems to me related to issues of representation (what isn't?). so i intentionally created a sort of casual space because i want to talk about things i might not take up in a more formal writing space. because life's too short (please to excuse the cliche), and sometimes i think that my life may be short. so.

why did i specifically divulge this about *my* body? for one, i LOVE the childish image from St. John's . . . seriously, that renal system image looks like something i drew in 1st grade :)

more to the point, it's helpful to release it (body talk/body worries), even if only to an imagined audience of puzzled (academic) readers. it's helpful to release it because it *does* remind us of our bodies, our selves (ha); nothing in the world so sensitized me to others than my brain tumor. i began to look at everyone/anyone and wonder, "i wonder what's wrong w/ her?" (as in, if it could happen to me so seemingly out of the blue . . .). i release it because i've been dealing w/ the stress of preparing a presentation for an audience of Important People and the added worries of the body have been too much.

this is no heavy thinking here; dealing w/ the body is the most clumsy and basic work in the world (unless you're a physician/surgeon-- oh, a good one . . . i pretty much owe my life to people who think of bodies absent souls or selves (so include medicine in your list of disciplines harking to Descartes) . . . my brain surgeon was intensely steadycalmandcool (exactly what i needed) but didn't exactly come across as a human being concerned for me (although he certainly was); i understand the need to create that distance. it's maybe a similiar rationale casting agents deploy when they want to validate not shaking hands w/ actors auditioning for parts in their projects.

maybe doing more intellectual work on the body is called for. you may be right. for now, i've got a narrative screenplay in the works, and it certainly goes there (albeit obliquely, i hope).

thanks, Chris, for writing, and for sharing your concern ;)

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

thanks, foucaultisdead (speaking of bodies, that salutation feels pretty odd) . . . for writing and expressing concern. i'm glad to hear that Alan is well.

i've been enjoying your posts about all those bands :)

dhawhee said...

yah, it is actually pretty fascinating (as Chris says). And a propos of Chris's comment about scholars not discussing their bodies, Virgina Woolf's essay "On Being Ill" makes a similar complaint(I've been reading around for my chapter on Kenneth Burke's hernia operation). After going on a bit about people love to write about goingson in the mind, she observes "But of all this daily drama of the body there is no record." There are some other killer quotes there that I'll probably blog about pretty soon, as a warmup to finally writing the damned chapter. :)

I also agree that yes, you should take care of that kidney.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

i think i may have read that essay. now, i'll have to add that to my (new & growing) list.

thanks for writing ;)

chris said...

at times i feel a bit hypocritical for not making/being more visible with my own body. it's probably an oversimplified way of addressing the silencing of bodies, but if i could get over my nerves i would post images of me body-building, refereeing, and other such bodily things. half-naked pics of a muscled body, though, carry quite a bit of baggage. for instance, despite my work with student-athletes and my experiences as a student-athlete i find that even *i* have stereotyped moments. while at RSA i had just such a moment while working out in the rec center: a large group of football players came in and started being "meat-heads." the thing is, football players' ways-of-being within such contexts as, say, a weight room include all kinds of socially mandated behaviors - some that are essential to maximizing bodily performances (such as the yelling that occurs while lifting large amounts of weight - they're not just doing that to "show off"). and so i think to myself that by including images of my own academic body engaged in "meat-head" activities that maybe i can disrupt the types of stereotypes that i'm (sort of) addressing in my research.

"our most intensely theoretical work is ultimately speaking to our experiential/perspectival realtions in/to the world and each other."
i couldn't be an academic if i was unable to work with and theorize about my experiences and perspectives. i'm not overly brainy, but i am able to call on and employ my unique experiences in a way that allows me to carve out a lil space to participate in ivory-tower convos - not very eloquently sometimes (as my chair has pointed out to me recently), but participate nonetheless. and in ways that at least a few people seem to be interested in.

oh and, yes, release... ah, release...

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

nicely done.

i loved your pics from Rome. i can see that you're "sporty," and i think that's cool. i'm not asking here for any ripped body-images, though ;)

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

one more thing: this post has received more replies than any of my other posts. and most take up intellectual concerns and do not merely (although there's nothing "mere" about it) offer expressions of compassion/concern. so, that's interesting (to bring the convo -- as you say -- back to the beginning).

foucaultisdead said...

On the number of comments - don't take it as a reflection on what people want to read. I read and enjoy everything you post, but usually feel that I would be posting a comment for the sake of doing so. Wishing someone well when they are facing the prospect of surgery is an opportunity to let the writer know that she has readers and that these readers care.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

oh, how nice. first, though, i *really* was not commenting upon a lack of readers but actually taking note of the response rate regarding a post on the body. yes, i take into account that there are some very nice people who are wishing me well in this specific case, but then there's also this opening to talk about the body, and people seem to want in, so i thought that worthy of reflection. whatever the case, i appreciate the comments (and well wishing) ;)

dko said...

Actually, in reading these comments, I was surprised by how (over)intellectualized they are -- whereas, my first reaction to your post was deep sympathy and certainly an understanding of your need to "release" it to a community.

In our tendency to immediately theorize/intellectualize bodily frailties, the mind still rules over the body through the suspension of emotional responses. Beyond the mind/body split is the mind/emotion split.

I would recommend "Too Close to the Bone" in *Carnival, Hysteria and Writing* by Allon White, if you have not read it already. Work in emotional ethnography takes up these concerns, as well.

Best wishes and prayers.

bonnie lenore kyburz said...

i don't mind theorizing this, but it's true that the release was/is the thing.

keep in mind, i'm almost 100% sure i'm going to do this, but there are other opinions and tests, so maybe talking it through -- however it's done, in whatever terms -- is very helpful. i have to figure it out; meeting w/ my nephrologist next week to compare his vision w/ my urologist's.

the main thing is (relevant to the writing here) is that having readers express concerns is monumentally assuring. priceless. i'm so grateful for your comments (and prayers).

i will look for the book upon my return home. thanks :)

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