Her Story: Living With Chronic Kidney Disease

Her Story: Living With Chronic Kidney Disease

 

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Living with Chronic Kidney Disease was definitely the biggest shock to end 2016. Even with two grandparents sadly passing away in the same year, the morning I got told was a very chilly memory. 

It was sort of one of those surreal experiences that you weren’t sure if it was a dream or not, but when your mum comes to talk about this article and the next she’s found online you realise - “great this is my life from now on”. 

But it was a slow process that showed early signs. The summer before, I had 3 urinary infections before they eventually realised I had a kidney infection. Then I started losing lots of weight (in the wrong season mind you), then silly stuff that people wouldn’t notice. I now have false eyelashes as my real ones all fell out; my nails break or fall off completely; my skin chips and there isn’t enough Neutrogena in the world to save it. All stuff that makes you feel quite less feminine. I put it down to being stressed with Uni and work, but in the months coming up to Christmas, I felt unwell far too often and would get sharp pains in my body. It would even get to a stage that every weekend an hour before work, I was struggling to go in. So I guess these little signs were there that you would never even think would be symptoms for a kidney disease. 

I remember then I started googling, which I know is never what you should do because before you know it, you have stage 10 ‘I’m gonna die right any second’ disease. But joking aside, I was going home for Christmas and decided to get checked out. After a couple of blood tests and MRI scans, I had Chronic Kidney Disease, or CKD. To be honest, I really didn’t have much notion about the disease and perhaps a lot of people do but it was a real change to my life. I have subsequently became celiac and lactose intolerant (as well as already being a vegetarian), and I must admit, meal times are no longer fun; no salt = no cinema popcorn or crisps or basically anything. But it is helping because I was very much noticing shortness of breath and chest pains from simple stair case walks. Don’t get me wrong I’ve always being a healthy person, so to find out that because one of my kidneys is failing, suddenly I’m required without choice to make dietary requirements if I want to stay at stage 2.

But that’s something I’m struggling to deal with everyday. Sometimes I have those mornings, when my body starts bruising because my muscles are so sore and I just cry. Other mornings, I tell myself to put a brave face on and try to not let it keep controlling me. The sad part is it can control you. I’ve noticed at times it’s stopped me from hanging out with friends because I’ll need time to myself. While God knows I love to cry, I need to eventually come to grips that this is my life now. It’s a process, and although I might wish I could rewind time, everyone comes to grips with life changes in their own time.

So I guess I’ve written this article as a means of escape, as I’m not sure if I’ll ever be comfortable with the idea that I’m a CKD patient, and being perfectly honest, not all my friends know. It’s hard because what I’ve found so far, once somebody knows, you get the sympathy look and while I appreciate people’s love and care, I just want to be treated as the same me before my life changed in December 2016.