When I was 25 I was diagnosed with kidney disease. I was told I would likely need a
transplant within 10 years, put on medications and given a kidney friendly diet to follow. For anyone who has kidney problems, you know that the kidney friendly diet is kind of a weird one- limiting protein and vegetables somewhat, eating white bread and pasta, not many beans and nuts. Like I say it’s a little weird. It’s also low sodium, which was initially a problem but I got used to that over time. The idea is that you limit what gets filtered through the kidneys so that they don’t have to work quite so hard. I’ve basically followed the diet over the last 22 years, have definitely had some cheat moments (I even ate whole wheat sometimes!). I’ve maintained an otherwise healthy lifestyle which includes exercise, yoga, meditation and no drinking or drug use. When I first heard the news I was quite distressed, unsure of what it meant for my life, for my daughter, my career, but then nothing really happened. All in all having kidney disease has kind of been a walk in the park for me. I do blood work regularly and go into the kidney clinic every 6-12 months for a check up.
This week my check up was different. There’s been a change to the kidney function and I’m actually down to 17% function. This time at my appointment I was told it’s time start finding out which people are willing to be tested for donating a kidney to me and to start thinking about options for dialysis in case I don’t get a transplant in time. I knew that I had lost some function over the past several months, but I still feel good. Maybe a little more tired, more headaches, but still teaching yoga, doing that yoga massage and carrying a full time day job. I should be tired, right?
This news freaked me out. Am I afraid of dying? No. What I fear I think is losing control over how I want my life to look. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to transition into doing massage full time now. It’s very physical work and my body doesn’t seem to be cooperating with me. I wonder if my guy will want to stick it out with me if I become sick. I wonder if he would stick around out of some sense of obligation – even worse! I wonder if I’ll be able to travel the way I want to. Will I stay strong and otherwise healthy? There’s a lot of questions about how much control I’ll have over my future. Then I remember I never really have control, do I? We make our plans and goals and then we set them free to the universe. Often what comes to us takes a very different shape, but it’s often for the better.
For now I will work at staying in this moment where nothing has really changed from the beginning of this week to the end even though everything may have changed. For now I’ll keep doing the things that I enjoy and not worry about losing them. I’ll stay focused on my health as opposed to the disease. I’ll continue my spiritual journey of finding love and compassion for all including myself. I will even love my kidneys for keeping up for so long.