How To Stay Positive

Breaking Through

How do you stay positive?  Especially when there is no logical reason to be.

This is something that has been on my mind over the past week.  I received a call from the Transplant Team concerning my recent labwork.  My creatinine level (which measures kidney function – the higher the number, the lower the kidney is functioning) has risen to 1.9 and they are all freaking out.  They want to do an ultrasound and kidney biopsy tomorrow to figure out why the creatinine is rising.  This has bummed me out because:

  • the last time I had a kidney biopsy (January 2006) I was admitted to the hospital for 3 days
  • it hurt like you would not believe (literally, the biggest needle I’ve ever seen, poked through my body into the kidney several times as the doctor extracts kidney tissue.  And I have to be awake because I have to hold my breath to keep the kidney from moving.)
  • my body may be rejecting the new kidney

So how would I stay positive in all this?

Make A Decision And Manage That Decision Every Day

Some people say making the decision is the hardest part.  I disagree.  Deciding to do or not do something isn’t necessarily easy, but definitely not the hard part.  The hard part is every moment, every day after that decision is made.

If you decide to: lose weight, stop drinking, quit your job, etc. that is awesome.  I honestly want you to succeed in whatever you decide to do.  The rub is every day after.  We must manage and protect that decision, and that is when it becomes unbearable sometimes.

We have to protect that original decision, esp. when: people make it difficult to keep that decision, when we don’t feel like keeping the decision,  when it seems easier to just go back to the way things were.

I decided when I first went on dialysis in 2007 that I wasn’t going to be negative about it.  I felt myself becoming depressed and I knew from previous experience I didn’t want to drive down that road.

Being in and out of the hospital, the drama of hemodialysis, the daily pain of kidney deterioration and other side effects of FSGS, etc. made that decision practically unrealistic.  Some days were better than others, some days just plain sucked.  But it got easier to manage that decision as time went on.

Protecting the Quarterback

Imagine our big decision is the quarterback, and the football is our life.  The decisions we make either advance us or hinder us.  The other team tries to take down our decision so we can’t advance.  So what can we do?  Enter: The Offensive Line, the daily regulation of our decision.  The offensive line protects the quarterback, keeps him safe.  Touchdown!

The offensive line is how we stay positive.  We protect the big decision, which in turn will bring us closer to our goals and victory.

Getting Up

Whatever your decisions may be, you can stay positive as you manage it.  Yes it is hard.  Yes, the offensive line doesn’t come through and the quarterback gets sacked.  So we get up, and try again.  No quarterback gives up.  You get up and get back in the game.

You may slip, you may have a setback, you may lock yourself in your apartment and play video games because you feel so bad physically and emotionally you don’t want to see anyone (I did that waaay to many times).  It happens.  We get up.

I’m choosing to get up.  I have to be admitted tomorrow after the biopsy, then a couple days recuperating and waiting for the results.  Six months ago I received a kidney transplant, there is a potential it isn’t working well.  Am I scared, yes.  Am I worried, sure, but I’m choosing to get up.  How do you do it?


[photo by StuSeeger]
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  • Great post and inspiring words today, Jermaine. Dan & I are standing with you in prayer. Thank you for your insight on staying positive, which I agree is such a tough thing to hold onto once the decision has been made and you’re left standing to weather the storms. Love this: “The offensive line is how we stay positive. We protect the big decision, which in turn will bring us closer to our goals and victory.” Your strength in all of this is inspiring. Hang in there, my friend….!

  • Hey Katie,
    Appreciate the prayers and the comment. I like that image of weathering the storms. We get drenched, we get hammered by the wind and rain. Yet after the storm…the sun comes out, the birds sing, that after the storm smell is drifting through the air, and a rainbow comes out to play. You can’t experience all that if your in the house scared of the storm.

  • Jermaine you have no idea how powerful that post was. This is such an inspirational writing for those that face the truly tough decisions in life! You have such courage. I will be praying for you and Steph!!

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