This month, I have been on dialysis for a year…I survived a year! Well, technically I have survived 4 years since been diagnosed with kidney failure but this last year I finally gave in and began dialysis treatment…and to be honest, it hasn’t been as scary as I thought.
Looking back, if I had known how much good dialysis was going to do for me and how much better I would feel, I probably would have started sooner, but then again, if I hadn’t done the three years prior to dialysis, researching and trying every alternative treatment under the sun, I would have always wondered…what if I could have reversed the damage done to my kidneys and avoided dialysis. So, looking back over the last 4 years, I have no regrets and know this is the path I am on and the journey I am walking right now. Yes, at times it seems like I am climbing the biggest mountain but as we all know, anything that goes up has to come down…so the awesome bum slide down is coming.
When I started dialysis last year my system was such a mess. My red blood cells had stopped producing, my iron levels were so low, my minerals were all over the show, I had high blood pressure, I was full of toxins and had severe edema (swelling from water retention) ….my body was shutting down!
Over the last year all of these have normalised thanks to dialysis and I am feeling the best I have felt in years! Yes, I have to go to a dialysis centre three times a week and have my blood pumped through a machine for 4 hours each time, but the benefits out way the negatives and most importantly, its keeping me alive!
In the beginning my blood pressure was so high that I used to experience migraines at every dialysis session, so not only was I on blood pressure pills, but I was also taking serious pain killers at least 3 times a week – a huge mind shift for someone who hates taking medication! Dialysis was the most debilitating thing in my life. Not only was I experiencing the migraines during dialysis, I would also wake up every morning with a headache as I was taking such strong pain killers so often that my body started getting use to them and so I would get a withdraw headache. This was my life and it sucked. I knew I had to do something about it as this was not working for me.
I was referred to a cardiologist and between him and my nephrologist,they prescribed 4 different blood pressure medications – one when I woke up, one at 10am, one in the afternoon and one when I went to bed! Not quite what I had in mind but after fighting them on it I agreed to it realising that my heart was now in danger and I couldn’t afford to mess around.
Soon enough my blood pressure started coming down and the migraines started to subside. I went back to yoga and started walking every day. The swelling subsided and I started putting on body weight (my diet was now “normal”, well as normal for someone with kidney failure considering the previous three years on the NO diet). I started to feel more human again and was able to confront everyday activities we take for granted, such as going for a walk, meeting friends for dinner, going to the movies, cooking, working at the office etc. I soon was back in my groove and dialysis was fitting into my life. I can happily say, I am now off all blood pressure medication and haven’t taken a painkiller in months.
This journey has certainly been made easier by my amazing support system. Constant messages, calls, visits, flowers, and just knowing I can call on them when I am having a down day, brings so much reassurance and upliftment to my life. Thank you to you all for being my guardian angels through this process. Below is one of the many encouraging notes I receive from the special people in my life, who I wouldn’t be able to get through this without. This one is from my Mum who is always there for me and encourages me to never give up.
Charles Dickens was a wise man. It’s all about attitude. If you stay light and positive and don’t get trapped in the doom and gloom of the situation, you will feel good and light and are able to confront life and move forward. Attitude is everything and its the way you look at things and approach life that makes the difference.
When I was young and feeling down about something, my Dad would sing the words of a song to me that would cheer me up and still to this day when I am having a moment, I hear the words to the song and they keep me going and I hang in:
“The sun will come out tomorrow!
So you gotta hang on til tomorrow, come what may!
Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow
You’re only a day away!”
So, I survived a year on dialysis and things are really looking up! My body is the strongest its been in a while and is ready to confront the next stage of this journey…the best is yet to come!