Learning to Embrace My Illness…..
Having kidney disease has not been an easy journey and truthfully I am not sure if embrace is the right term, but I have come to accept it. Kidney disease has taught me to deal with things differently, especially with challenges that may arise in my life. I have learned patience, learned that the best thought out plans sometimes fail, learned to cry when I need to and have learned that it’s okay to ask for help. Trying to be strong all of the time can wear on your mind, body and spirit. It is unimaginable to think that you can endure this journey alone without support.
Having kidney disease has taught me to look at things differently, through a different filter. After being diagnosed, I remember not telling everyone that I had kidney disease or that I was on dialysis. Being 18 and trying to find out who I was paired with having a chronic illness was a lot for me to handle at that time. Although I knew it was nothing that I did to develop chronic kidney disease, I still felt awkward and a little embarrassed. Looking at me you wouldn’t be able to tell that I had a catheter in my abdomen, but to me the whole world could see it. I wasn’t thinking this catheter is keeping me alive and well at that time, I was more concerned about what someone else may say if they knew.
It wasn’t until after my initial kidney transplant that I realized that I would always be a little different from everyone else. I didn’t have a hidden catheter but would need to take daily medication for my kidney. I was simply trading up to a different form of renal replacement therapy, which yields a better quality of life for me. I have learned to love being different from the rest, in fact I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have learned that having kidney disease tells a lot about me but does not define me. I have come to realize that we each carry something that given the option to choose would not carry it. I am quirky, different and will always be a kidney patient, I am fine with that and embrace my differences.