I received an email from a friend of mine last week. It was in response to my story about being dialysis free for a year. It was a very touching email about family and kidney disease. It gave me pause and prompted a few thoughts of my own.
Today, my wife reminded me two years ago (when I was laying my game down quite nicely in wooing her) I told her I was scared I wouldn’t live long enough to see Cadence born. And here I am, sitting with my wife and 8 week old daughter.
I think about mortality at times. I think about how, on average, a kidney transplant lasts 14 years. Or how my life expectancy could be diminished due to the strain of hemodialysis on my heart (not to mention how it drains the bones).
I think about how Kidd Rokkney (what I call my 3rd kidney) may fail- then going back on dialysis and what that would mean.
I think about not being able to walk Cadence down the aisle and leaving my wife a widow, Cadence fatherless.
The only way I can keep from going down the oh so slippery slope of despair and depression is this: hope.
Hope to be present, stay in the moment, and enjoy the time I have now.
Hope to not just work on a legacy through writing, but to be a man of character my family can be proud of.
Hope to interrupt the sadness and uncertainty to reframe my thoughts.
Hope that, when I do eventually pass on, God is with me and I’ve tried my best to live a life of faith and love for self and other people.
Hope that all the sleepless nights, hospitalizations (17 times either in the E.R., having an outpatient procedure done, or admitted since Jan. 2006), blood and tears, it may not be okay in the moment. But it will be.
The best thing Professor Kidney Disease taught me is to hold on to hope. Even when it’s unreasonable and difficult. Even when it seems so much easier to let the disease have me. (There were a few long nights back at the old apartment I thought about this.)
I may not have much say in my mortality, but I do have a choice to lace up my shoes and run with hope, through the rain and rainbows.[A special shout out to C.B. and Jonathan Fields. Thanks for the inspiration and sharing your story.]
[photo by Sangudo]