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.
I went for my yearly check-up yesterday. When I woke up in the morning, I had this feeling something bad was going to happen. I couldn’t tell if had to do with my doctors appointment or something else. I prayed for peace, for health and for everyone I knew just in case something was happening to them. Still nervous, I headed to the doctor.
Going to the nephrologists always scares me. For the last year, I have been stable and today’s appointment continued that tread. I have good kidney function and my creatinine levels were the lowest ever. But sitting in that office always reminds me of those first two visits. They were the scariest doctors of my life.
When I first went to see my doctor, we had no idea what we were dealing with. I was alone due to my work schedule, and was sitting in a room of “informational” posters. This one talked about kidney function and its levels. That one talked about how long patients live on transplant. Another about the wait list on organ donation. They were scary. Were my kidneys not working? Was I going to need a transplant? Was I going to die? My doctor sent me off for several test include the biopsy, imagining, blood, and 24 hour urine test. Then came the diagnosis visit.
I remember it vividly. Two of my close friends and my parents went with me and the nurse had to chide me on my number of guest. In the end, my best friend and my mother went back with me. I remember not saying much but Kelly and Mom talking to me about skipping the transplant list and what new recipes we could come with they were kidney healthy. But my heart seemed to start when the doctor opened the door. My doctor was nice and very quickly reassuring. All I heard: No need for transplant or dialysis right now, but probably sometime in the future. Medication should fix it. Lots of babble about number and looking up my diagnosis.
Mom and Kelly had questions while I tried to process this information. Since then I have looked up and asked question on my own. I know now that what he told me that day was true and that I could trust my doctor.
I had many conversations God. Thanking him for blessing me because my disease could have been so much worse. Praying that he would help me find peace with this situation. I have asked for strength to deal with the daily challenges though many are only minor. But most of all, coming to peace with knowing how I will die. Sure, I could still get hit by a bus tomorrow or medical science could totally over come organ failure. But the reality of the situation is this: My life expectancy is a lot less than it was three years ago. But each day I get up, live life, thank God, and know that I could have been worse and that I could have died yesterday. That really gives me perspective.
As of now, I still don’t know what that ominous feeling was about. Maybe I was just scared of what the doctor would say. But in the end, God only shone a light on me.
Kidney Facts: 26 million people in American have chronic kidney disease
More than 70,000 Americans a year dies from kidney disease