It is surprising how many people are living in Australia with a chronic disease. For some, their situation is evident when you look at them and hear them talk about their daily struggles. For others, like me, with a chronic kidney disease, it is not so obvious. For me, I think I look like everyone else my age, ageing and moving a bit slower.
I know I am one of the lucky ones who discovered some 20 years ago that I had kidney issues. With the help of a wonderfully experienced nephrologist, I have been able to live a relatively healthy life, helped along by a handful of pills morning and night.
It has come with a lot of changes in lifestyle. Diet is the main one and one I struggle with every day. Some drugs are appetite enhancing, and that comes with putting on weight, and that comes with the dreaded diabetes.
It’s a vicious circle when you look at it; your diet is low sodium, low potassium and low sugar, which doesn’t leave you with a lot to choose from. Every health professional I see says the same thing; it’s my kidneys that have to be my priority.
My nephrologist tells me I have to lose weight, and I agree with him, but that is always easier said than done. When I look at the diabetes site and what they suggest should be a healthy diet much of what they recommend is often high potassium, and so that advice falls on deaf ears for me.
I recently had a scare with my diabetes and woke up one night sweating, short of breath and feeling unwell. My blood sugar levels were far too high, and I knew why. Knowing the issue is a step towards understanding what to do and taking your own advice isn’t always easy. But a trip to my GP and a change in medication, along with vigilance on my part has resulted in my blood sugar levels going back to acceptable levels, to my great relief.
All the while there is concern over my kidneys and blood tests to determine how they are faring in the present health climate. Thankfully they are doing okay.
Living with a chronic condition is scary at times but knowing as much about your situation as possible and taking steps to stay on top, as best you can, does allow you to live a life like everyone else.