Kidney Stones Not Stopping Stephanie Pezzullo

Stephanie Pezzullo isn't letting kidney stones get in her way. Photo: www.photorun.net

American runner was treated at a Charlotte, N.C. hospital this week.

(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.

NEW YORK — For American Stephanie Pezzullo, the days leading up to Saturday’s Oakley New York Mini 10K have been — lets just say — a bit rocky. On Monday, the 31-year-old began feeling pain in her lower abdomen. Little did she know that the pain would turn out to be four kidney stones.

“I was in pain all Monday and Tuesday,” said a now upbeat Pezzullo, speaking with <em>Race Results Weekly</em>.

Soon the irritation would travel to her lower back. That’s when it really began to gain her attention.  On Tuesday, the former Penn State University soccer player thought it could have been a tweaked muscle.

“I never really have pulled a muscle like that before, though,” Pezzullo said.

After a hard workout, Pezzullo went to get a massage. While the masseuse was working on her back, the pain became even more noticeable.

“She [the masseuse] was massaging my lower back area and something just happened,” Pezzullo said. “One of the stones had gotten loose. I didn’t know at the time though, and I drove home.”

Still pondering what the pain could be, Pezzullo eventually drove herself to a hospital in Charlotte, N.C. While in the emergency room, the news came.

“I thought maybe they’d say I had a kidney stone,” Pezzullo said with a smile growing across her face. “Well, they [the doctors] came back out and said ‘Holy! You have four!’”

Doctors had found a total of four kidney stones — which the Mayo Clinic defines as small, hard deposits made of mineral and acid salts — inside Pezzullo.

For an athlete set to race in a matter of days, having four kidney stones would seem to be a huge problem, especially considering the extreme pain known to occur when they pass through your system. But for Pezzullo, it didn’t hinder her plans to come here, the same city in which she won the 2011 Emerald Nuts Midnight Run.

“I wouldn’t want to miss a chance to be back [in New York] just because of some stones,” she said with a smile.

Pezzullo was offered strong pain killers, though she declined and chose to take ibuprofen instead. She was given an IV drip to help pass the stones; eventually, two would pass through.

“The other two, we don’t know,” Pezzullo said, again laughing. “They could still be in there. However I am not in pain so it is not going to be an excuse or anything like that.”

Though she missed a bit of training, Pezzullo is confident the kidney stones will not deter her in Saturday’s race, which takes runners around a loop of Central Park.

“It’s my last race of the season,” she said. “Really I have nothing to lose. I’ll try my best. No excuses.”

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