Before I go any further, I would like to give a brief overview of what symptoms CKD might include.
According to the National Kidney Foundation:
What is chronic kidney disease (CKD)?
Chronic kidney disease includes conditions that damage your kidneys and decrease their ability to keep you healthy by doing the jobs listed. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in your blood and make you feel sick. You may develop complications like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage. Also, kidney disease increases your risk of having heart and blood vessel disease. These problems may happen slowly over a long period of time. Chronic kidney disease may be caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders. Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life.
What are the symptoms of CKD?
Most people may not have any severe symptoms until their kidney disease is advanced. However, you may notice that you:
- feel more tired and have less energy
- have trouble concentrating
- have a poor appetite
- have trouble sleeping
- have muscle cramping at night
- have swollen feet and ankles
- have puffiness around your eyes, especially in the morning
- have dry, itchy skin
- need to urinate more often, especially at night.
There are five stages of CKD, and I am at Stage four. My life is altered by my disease in many ways. The ability to care for myself sometimes feels overwhelming, and caring for two small children who depend upon me each and every day is a joy, pleasure and blessing; Yet, it also takes everything I have. When people ask how I'm doing; it's a question I can't answer properly. The pain never ends, the tiredness never ends, HOWEVER, My hope never ends either! My hope in the ability to make it through my day one moment at a time never fails me. I KNOW the reason I have hope is because of my faith in Jesus Christ and my Father in Heaven. I have been lifted up during really hard times, in ways that are only explained as miracles. I have been given strength during moments of weakness that feel to threaten my sanity. Another reason I have hope is because of the service people have given me and my family. Countless times, I've been served, assisted, loved, and helped. My heart fills with gratitude at the faces that fill my mind with their hands of mercy, love and service. I've truly been blessed with people around me in the last four years, as my disease has progressed to Kidney Failure, that have been the hands of Jesus Christ.
Living with a slow progressing disease is life for me. It's frustrating. I lose confidence. Scary. Painful. As much as I try not to let it run my life; I accept it, finally. I own my CKD now more than I ever have. I realize that I have limitations, yet, I try not to let those limitations hold me back from creating happiness for me and my family. I won't lie, some days are harder than others. My children watch more TV than I had ever "expected," Yet, it's been a blessing to have a way to entertain my children when all I can do it lay on the couch and watch with them. I always have viewed my life as if I'm in a boxing ring. I have my gloves on, my head gear, I've trained with a coach, I have him at my side encouraging me (Christ) and my opponent is life. I want to make it through this life, I may take some punches, I may take a lot, yet at the end of the day when I win the fight, though I may look bloody, bruised and beat up; I know My Father in Heaven will take me in his arms when my time comes to leave this earth, my pain and disease will be swallowed up in his power to heal. His love with shine around me, and because I tried my best to fight life in way that is acceptable to him; He will say to me: "You've done it, your trials are complete."
If you ask me "How are you doing?" Just know that every day is a battle. Some days involve more punches than others. Most of the time, I'm just holding my hands up trying to block the punches; and when I throw a few, it takes most of the energy I have to do so. That doesn't mean stop asking, it just means that I have more hard days than good days right now. I felt the need to get this off my chest today, and that's okay.
Thanks for reading my loves.