bad decisions (3)

Being diagnosed with PKD has, in many ways, been a blessing. Not all the ways, but many of them.

For a long time, I felt like I wasn’t giving my body what it needed nutritionally speaking. Feelings of lethargy and general slothiness were common. Sure, I’d go to the doctor from time to time and mention it…but the answers I got were usually along the lines of “you probably aren’t getting enough sleep”, or “eat more fruits and veggie.” These answers missed the mark.

With the diagnosis came a turn to Google to learn the “do’s and don’t’s” relative to kidney health. I plan on engaging a nutritionist to really dial this in – but with the basic knowledge that my kidneys do well with some foods and not so well with others has been a game changer.

Until Friday. We were in Seattle for a couple of days, and eating out is something we enjoy doing while on the road.

Friday, I decided it would be a cheat day of sorts. My uber supportive wife, Theresa, said she felt like Cheesecake Factory. I thought I’d get a salad, and all would be well. Then the menu came. Nobody gets a salad at Cheesecake Factory.

I had all the things. Buffalo wings for apps, baja tacos, and a few bites of Mrs. Williams’ chicken tenders. And the cheesecake. Ermegersh.

Friday afternoon, as the sodium, sugar and protein worked its way through my little kidneys that could…I wanted to curl into a ball and croak. Energy was completely gone, patience had evaporated, reason in thought was a thing of the past.

Fast forward to Saturday. Home. And the Jack LaLane power juicer (which has become a staple in my daily walk with this). A cucumber, carrot, celery, apple and lemon juice was the first thing I made. I could literally feel my body come into normalcy as I threw this thing back the way a college kid shotguns a Keystone Light.

I recently celebrated my 38th birthday. With a little seasoning has come a maturity and desire to think beyond a couple days from now – particularly relative to my health. And now more than ever I’m realizing that if I put junk in, I can’t expect to get anything less than junk out.

I guess the moral to the story is this: eat good stuff. All the time. Listen to your body’s cues and follow its lead.

generational (2)

When I was 7, my grandpa Ollie died. Mind you, I was 7. I knew my grandpa was dead. And I knew that my dad was devastated. I remember him talking about “kidneys” and how his and grandpa’s weren’t all that strong. But I didn’t really get what was going on, or how that time would have a life long impact on me. My kids.

Fast forward about 20 years, and my dad was on dialysis. He had been fighting polycystic kidney disease for about 10 years at this point, and he was sick. Really sick. I was devastated…but he told me, I think to comfort me, “don’t worry about me”. In my mind, I went back to how devastated he was at the loss of his dad. My grandpa. How could he tell me how to feel when he had so openly grieved the loss of his dad of the same disease? It felt like a double standard, but on hindsight…it was his way of helping me through it all.

11 years later, at age 37, I was diagnosed with the same disease that had taken my dad and my grandpa. To say that fear gripped me was an understatement. Newly remarried, responsible for the emotional well being of 6 kids. Mortified to the core.

The tricky thing about polycystic kidney disease is that it’s genetic, and generational. We learn how to deal with it from those we love. Those that I knew with it were dead.

Through a lot of prayer and conversation. Seeking. Googling. Doing all the things I knew how – the words “my dad’s story isn’t my story” finally started to sink in.

So begins the journey – to let my story be different than that of my dad and my grandpa’s. This little blurp is about that today. I don’t know who’s going to read this or when, but if you’re at some point dealing with a multi generational booger, pick that sucker. It doesn’t belong with you. It doesn’t belong with me.

here we go (1)

November 13th, 2017. Sitting in Dr. Barnett’s office – I learned that I had polycystic kidney disease. The same disease that took my dad and my grandpa from me.

I was shocked. Scared to death. But I learned…this isn’t a death sentence. It may just be a key to life.

This blog is about my journey. It’s less for you, more for me. But I think that will become for you. Does that make sense?

So…come with me. Let’s endeavor to see what recovery and fullness of life might look like. For renals.