Kidney beansAbout six months ago I was diagnosed with Third Stage Renal Failure. A wake up call for sure and I flipped of course because I am not the stoic sort. Please do not think bad of me, yes I grew up with Love Story too, I just do not want be the one saying long goodbyes. I know God is in control and in the end I have gotten used to the idea. Here is a little of what I have learned.

My husband and I had travels to do, so just yesterday was my first visit with the doctor who specializes in kidneys a Nephrologist.

What Is a Nephrologist?

“A nephrologist is a medical doctor who specializes in kidney care and treating diseases of the kidneys. The term nephrologist comes from the Greek word “nephros”, which means kidney or renal and “ologist” refers to someone who studies. Nephrologists are also called kidney doctors. Nephrologists are educated in internal medicine and then undergo more training to specialize in treating patients with kidney diseases. They commonly treat chronic kidney disease (CKD), polycystic kidney disease (PKD), acute renal failure, kidney stones and high blood pressure and are educated on all aspects of kidney transplantation and dialysis.”

For years I have been visiting the Virginia Mason Urology clinic, in Seattle Washington. Actually it is called the Urology and Kidney Transplant Department, Thoughts of dread swelled the first day I saw that sign. I was shocked to see the sign actually, I was not really thinking that there was such a strong connection between urological woes and kidney disease. “No dialysis or kidney transplant for me!” has been my mantra. Being real I need to know that even though it is unlikely it is possible for anyone with urological problems to end up with kidney disease.

My kidney woes likely started many years ago when I was living undiagnosed urine retention and then years following with back to back balder infections. For that part of the story check out my book, Beyond Embarrassment: Reclaiming your life with neurogenic bladder and bowel.

So yesterday was my first appointment on the other side. I was ushered to a different waiting area across the hall and observed several patients in wheel chairs. My stress level was a little high, but it did not come through with my blood pressure because that morning I participated in a over the top exercise class. Remember that physical exercise is good for blood pressure and high blood pressure is not good for your kidneys.

When I finally saw the doctor, he smiled, “ummm, your tests look pretty good.” I was thinking “If I have third stage kidney failure stamped on my chart, “How good is that?” Let me tell you what I learned from my doctor. He did not think I should even be there because usually he does not see patients until they were fourth of fifth stage.

I can live a long time this this condition. I am not sick yet and dialysis at fourth stage can be led off for many years. I walked out of there with a lighter step and will continue to be careful. Stay off the Advil, eat fresh fruits and vegetables. I do this anyway because it helps me with my neurogenic bowel.

All and all whatever looms in the future I will try my best.

How do you deal with difficult situations? Do you have a kidney story to tell? Please share.