Living with a chronic disease

When my mother died suddenly at age 57 no one at the time said anything about her kidneys. I doubt

When my mother died suddenly at age 57 no one at the time said anything about her kidneys. I doubt if any of her doctors even knew she had a chronic kidney condition. We all knew 57 was a very young age to die.

My father in the emotion of the moment allowed the doctor to say she died from a heart attack.

In hindsight that was the wrong thing but at the time my father was so flummoxed by her sudden death he agreed to anything just so he could move on.

Over the years I have been diagnosed with a chronic kidney condition. After several biopsies and then a distressing series of drug tests to determine if my condition was genetic or viral, it turned out genetic.

I questioned my father about my mother’s health in the days prior to her death. From what he told me she displayed the symptoms of end stage kidney disease.

I should point out that my father died aged 90 with very good kidney function.

So it has brought about a lifestyle change. Not only do I try and stick to a low sodium diet but part of my treatment is a drug, which elevates my potassium levels. In effect I feel I live on a no food diet.

Everything you eat has salt in it and potassium in varying levels.

It is easy to become fatalistic when you are told you have a chronic condition, which at this stage is not curable. I determined however that I had a lot to live for.

My six children are amazing people; there are grandchildren, each of whom is growing into their own personality. I also have things I want to do, places to go and wonderful people to meet.

My children are all aware of my condition and aware that they need to pay attention to any signs of blood in their urine.

Awareness and the ability to manage it are all paramount in dealing with a condition that you can live with comfortably.

My goal along with my Nephrologist’s assistance is to save my kidneys and keep me away from dialysis. My issue is a protein leak, which is being treated with a combination of drugs and diet.

So far I am doing OK, my kidney function is below 50 per cent but like so many with kidney issues you often have no idea your kidneys are dodgy. Like my mother, if no one tells you then one day your keel over and that’s the end of you.

I have been lucky to be aware of my condition for the past 20 years and therefore I have been able to put in place management strategies.

I lead a normal life; if I didn’t tell you then you would never know there is anything wrong with me, well providing you didn’t look too close.

So along with all the normal things that go wrong as we age, slowing down, bits wearing out, not working as virulently as they once did, life is good, for I know it could be a lot worse.

If you know you have a kidney issue get it sorted out so you can manage it and lead a full and meaningful life.

Tell us, do you suffer from a chronic condition or know someone who does?