My latest blood work has revealed that I dropped another percent of my kidney function. I knew before I saw the numbers that it had decreased. I can always feel the difference at least for a little while. I usually acclimate to it and start to feel normal again, but I wonder how low the function can get before I’m just exhausted all the time.
When the nurse practitioner told me the results she said “your creatinine is up, but the percent is pretty much the same”. When I was around 20% function if they had said 18-22 was ‘pretty much the same’ I would have agreed. Now it feels like I don’t have any room to play with. Once I got under 15% and was identified as being in end stage renal failure, every little bit started to matter to me.
Yet, I still look healthy. I can still work out pretty hard. I still work full time and teach my yoga classes and do a little bit of massage work. Unfortunately I can only work out a few times a week, not the 5 or 6 I used to do. I don’t really do much cooking for myself anymore which means I’m not eating as healthy. And I go to bed at about 8pm now. So, yes, I’m still doing all the things I’ve always done, but I am paying a price. Every day I debate going to a modified work schedule. And every day I decide against it. I know that I need to look out for myself right now and that my health needs to be front and centre. And yet it’s so hard to stop doing what I’m used to doing. I wonder if I’ll get depressed. And then I remember the stress of my day job and wonder if I’ll actually decompress. Why is it so hard to figure out what would be best for me right now? And why I am so resistant to start dialysis? I guess there’s a part of me that is still resisting being a patient – you know, the kind that all the nursing staff get to know because you’re there so much. I’m resisting spending so much of my life hooked up to machines and being poked with needles. Even if it is short term. And yet, some day I’ll need to give in, accept what cards I’ve been dealt.
The goal in treating kidney disease is to keep your kidneys as long as possible. I’ve done that. But 25 years of keeping my kidneys functioning has taken a toll on me. It’s taken an emotional and psychological toll. I’m not sure that researchers and doctors factor that in when deciding what’s best; that their patients are living in a space where they’re constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.
When I look only at today, I see the strength that I displayed during my workout at lunch time. I see the never give up attitude that has kept me going. And I see the exhaustion setting in at 3pm when I know I still have to work until 4:30 and then go on to do a massage at 5:30. I know intellectually I’m doing too much. But my heart wants to keep doing the physical work that I love so much. How can I still have it all?