Two friends are embracing in the center of the image. On the right a friend blows a kiss from a video call. On the left there is a dotted outline showing where friends used to be.

Friend or Foe? Navigating Relationships With Chronic Kidney Disease (Part 1)

Chronic kidney disease entered my life in my sophomore year of high school and I had never felt so isolated. I found myself not having the energy for the things I use to do which led to me not showing up for the friends like I did pre CKD. I experienced a lot of loss relationally and I like to believe about 50% of the cause was due to me not knowing how to talk about it and my friends not being able to understand. The other half was I simply didn’t need those relationships to progress where I was in my life then.

Blessings in disguise

All of the ended relationships felt like a loss to me at that time. Knowing what I do now, I can completely differentiate loss from blessings in disguise. The friendships that lasted through my diagnosis are still dear friends to me till this day that I am truly grateful for. If there’s one thing I wish I would’ve known to do is seek therapy as soon as I was diagnosed.

I think family therapy would have been useful to help myself and my parents navigate through my chronic illness journey. There were so many things we were in the dark about and I know my parents did the best they knew how. But had therapy been a part of the picture, I could see my support being quite different.

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People aren't always meant to be in your life forever

Some people are not meant to stay in your life forever. Some relationships are definitely only for a season and just because the relationship has ended doesn’t mean it is a loss. We deserve people who will stick with us when things get rough whether they completely understand our circumstances or not. You can learn a lot in a season. Just like a book when you get to the final page it is over. If you decide to reopen that book you will not be gaining any knowledge that you did not know. Even though it’s over it served its purpose.

Relationships can also suffer when you are actually in stable health as well. This is something I never could have seen coming. Some people get comfortable seeing you struggle because they feel you’re in a situation worse than them. When I received my kidney transplant, I was completely shocked to see the friends who stopped supporting me when I started to shine and when I started accomplishing goals I thought were out of reach.

Check out Part 2 of this series!

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