It’s Kidney Health Week next week. And this time last year, I wrote a post about my kidney health journey so far.
I’m not going to say all the same things again. Instead, I’m going to write about what it feels like to know that your kidneys will fail you one day.
It might surprise you. Because here goes: it’s fine.
It’s fine. It’s really fine.
It’s a little weird. I’m not going to lie. But it’s been part of my life for so long now that it just… well, it just is. It is what it is.
I have polycystic kidney disease, and one day, my kidneys will fail. And knowing about it is oh-so-much better than not knowing about it would be. Of that I have no doubt.
I had an appointment with my nephrologist recently. I came home, and my friend looked at me and asked how the appointment went. I replied with a thumbs up. “All good! Gold star!”
I wasn’t ready for her reaction. She sprang up, with tears in her eyes, and launched at me. “Really?! That’s so good! I can’t believe it’s all over! Oh, Em!” Cue all the hugs.
And I had to clarify. Gold star doesn’t mean all clear.
Gold star means we’re managing it well. Gold star means we’ve slowed the deterioration. Gold star means my blood pressure is looking good, my blood tests were clear, and the signs that my kidneys are worsening did not reach the levels my nephrologist had predicted at my last appointment.
But they’re still getting worse. Because that’s how it works.
I feel great. I really do. I’m still young (I can hear the young, beautiful creatures of the world giggling at that, but it’s all relative). I’m still fit and, apart from this pesky little ‘my-kidneys-don’t-always-work-properly-and-I-have-cranial-aneurysms‘ problem, I’m healthy. Very healthy, in fact, because I’m doing all I can to manage, if not negate, the pesky little ‘my-kidneys-don’t-always-work-properly-and-I-have-cranial-aneurysms’ problem.
But not everyone can say the same.
#IKidneyCheck because that’s the best way to manage my polycystic kidney disease. #IKidneyCheck because the health of my kidneys affects more than just my kidneys. It affects my blood pressure. It affects my head. It affects my life, and the lives of those nearest and dearest to me.
And you should kidney check, too. Here comes some begging. Oh boy. Hold on to something.
Please – PLEASE – if you have any concerns about your health – ANY CONCERNS – whether it’s about your kidneys, your heart, your head, your toes or just a vague feeling that’s something’s not quite right – go and see a doctor.
Please – PLEASE – if you or anyone in your family has a history of kidney disease, stroke, high blood pressure or heart problems – or if you have any more of these risk factors – go and see a doctor.
Please – PLEASE – if you haven’t seen a doctor for a while – if you can’t remember the last time you had an appointment – go and see a doctor. Book an appointment right now. I’ll wait here.
It’s Kidney Health Week next week. Visit your doctor. Read up about the fantastic work of Kidney Health Australia, and make a donation if you’re able. Wear red. Follow the #KHW16 hashtag on social media.
And take care of you.
Have you visited the doctor recently? How is your kidney health?