Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Post 4 of 5: That Was Helpful

Post 4 of 5

Fourth question:

“Do you need help?”

It depends how you define need. 

But before I go into that, I’d like to address the whole issue of charitable service. This is going to be a bit long and rambling. I’ve been developing my thoughts on this subject for at least a decade, but the last couple years have given me an insight into the position of the person in need of service.

Several years ago, a young man shared a quote in Sunday School, which changed the way I saw people and service.  It comes from this article by Rachel Naomi Remen, M.D., and I highly recommend that you follow the link and read the whole thing. Twice. I have extracted the key ideas:

Monday, July 27, 2015

Post 3 of 5: The Problem of Pain

Another question I often get is,

"Are you in pain?"

I usually say no, because I assume that they're referring to my kidneys, and it's not as though I had cysts or kidney stones. But kidney disease aggravates any other conditions you have and also causes new ones, many of which do cause pain. So yes, I am in pain most of the time. 

I have scoliosis (always have), so most days I have mild to moderate achiness in my back, neck, head, shoulders, and ribs, which occasionally becomes acute; I also have frequent stomach aches and heartburn/acid reflux; periodically, I get excruciating intestinal cramps, leading to bouts of vomiting, after which it takes me several days before I am able to eat normally again, which in turn causes weakness and sometimes potassium deficiency. I also get migraines, which often come in clusters and which also cause vomiting. (My stomach is so sensitive now: I think that I've thrown up more times in the last four years than in the rest of my life, combined.)

Post 2 of 5: The Transplant Question

Post 2 of 5

An understandably common question I get is,

"Any progress in getting a transplant?"

For the last year I've had to give the same disappointing answer: "No, first I have to get some genetic testing done to see how aggressive my disease is, because I have an autoimmune condition; they won't want to take live donors if the kidney isn't likely to last long." 

The testing was originally supposed to have been done by New Year, but come March, I still hadn't even gotten approved to have the samples taken, never mind getting the results. Finally, in April, I got to do that, and the report came on July 6. All I could tell from the technical, sciencey language was that I did have several abnormalities, but not the ones they might have expected to find. But on July 21 we had my annual visit to the transplant clinic, and the doctors there evaluated the report.

Post 1 of 5: Questions Answered... Thoroughly

Hi, everyone; sorry it's been so long. My laptop broke and we still haven't replaced it, and it's no fun writing anything long on a tablet or a phone, especially when the stupid predictive text always chooses the wrong word (I swipe "sincerely" and it gives me "Shively"???) and auto-"corrects" things that are exactly as I intend them to be!  But I'm doing it now, for you. Don't mention it. 😊  

In addition, I've been sick and tired and also on the road a lot. Like a lot a lot. I did compose drafts of posts two or three times, with photos and everything. But I never finished them, and by the next time they were obsolete. Well, one of them might still be helpful; I may post it belatedly.

I'm here to give an update on my health and related factors. I want to preface this by saying that I am generally happy with my life and pass most of my time doing things that I enjoy. I'm going to present a pretty miserable picture of my physical condition, but I'm not miserable (except in moments of severe pain or sickness). My physical condition is only one aspect of my experience of life. I consider myself very blessed!