That wasn't always the case. When I was first diagnosed in 1997, I was terrified. I remember asking my doctor if I needed to get on the transplant list, and he said we were nowhere near that. I remember obsessing over how I may have caused it. Did I drink too much pop? Was it from all those years of smoking? None of my thinking was healthy.
I felt sick. And by that I mean I felt like a sick person. I had to be on medication. I had to get blood drawn and tested regularly. I was high risk for health insurance. There was something wrong with me.
Don't we all have something like that? Maybe it is an illness you struggle with. If so, I understand. Or maybe you have failed at something important. Or are stuck at a weight you aren't happy with. Or were criticized as a child, or abused. Maybe someone left you or died.
In my darkest days, I believed all those things made me who I was, and I was stuck with that. Then I learned a huge lesson. My identity is not my illness. Or my failure. Or my weight. Or the abuse I suffered. Or my losses.
My identity is not touched by those things. I am the unbroken, whole person I was born to be. Right now, with these kidneys, at this weight, with my past. These things don't define me, I do! The biggest lesson I will ever learn is to remember who I am.
I may have CKD, but when I am 85 years old they will have to do my dialysis treatments around my hiking schedule, 'cause I'm not stopping. I know who I am and I have already overcome illness, failure, weight, abuse and loss. The path to overcoming these things is not what we think. I can't control or change any of it. But at any moment, I can be still and remember who I am. And so can you. That is the ultimate healing.