In honor of National Kidney Month, I want to take this month to share my experience with kidney disease and faith in hopes that other kidney patients will know they are not alone and that God still walks beside us.
Until two and a half years ago, I didn’t think much about organ failure. I wasn’t concerned with these bean shaped organs called my kidneys. Kidney disease happed to older people or people with diabetes. But then I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease.
For over a year prior to this, I suffered from various ailments but couldn’t find a root cause. I had pancreatitis twice; my thyroid levels dropped; I was malnourished; I had trouble with circulation; I was always tired and sore. I visited a variety o doctors before we figured out what was causing all these problem related to my endocrine system: my kidneys.
I was diagnosed with Chronic Nephritis. This is a kidney condition where scar tissue has replaced the filters that take the protein out of my waste. My kidneys were functioning at normal level but they weren’t purifying like they were suppose to. The scar tissue was caused by an anti-inflammatory reaction to a sickness when I was little. The recent string of illness was my kidneys telling me to pay attention.
I did a battery of test including a kidney biopsy which, though scary, was probably the coolest medical test I ever had to do. They medicated me and did a local anesthetic but I was still awake and got to watch the TV video feed of them actually sticking the needle in my kidney and then got to see the same kidney pieces.
For the first year after my diagnosis, I struggled. While I won’t need dialysis till sometime around the age of 50, I have to make some life style changes. I need more sleep now instead of running of that college student sleep schedule. My water intake was substantially under par. I had to do better about taking care of myself while I am sick.
While these are small things, any changes of life style is hard. It took the events of this following story to realize how serious little things are. One of my close friends went with me to see 100 Monkeys right after Christmas in 2010. We had dinner before the show and I had one nonalcoholic drink while we waited in line. In the past, I would have been set until the end of the show and a late night meal. This time I all most passed out in the middle of the crowd. And this dear friend had to help get back on my feet so to speak. Now I take bottled water with me anytime I will be on my feet, hot or moving around for a long period of time. I get extra amounts of sleep. I keep all my doctors appointments and make work come second to those life saving appointments.
I struggle with the idea of having to manage such a severe disease as it progresses on the future. But I have no once blamed or cursed God for this. I have done rather well accepting that my body is not invincible and I have to take care of it. I often pray that he will help give me strength when I get down or that medicine will continue to advance. I know that he watches out for me because this situation could have been a whole lot worse. He’s behind me every step of eh way.
Kidney Facts: 1 in 8 Adults are diagnosed with Kidney Disease
Alabama has the 5th highest occurrence rate in the United States