Growing Up With CKD
Last updated: May 2023
I was born with one left kidney that has chronic kidney disease. So, honestly, I've never known any different from the life that I currently live.
Life with chronic kidney disease
For me, I found out that I had chronic kidney disease when I was 2 years old. My only kidney was going into failure and the doctors did something to make it better. Since then, my kidney function has been slowing declining from stages 2 through 4 for the past 20 years of my life. During these years, I had 0 symptoms. Literally none. Okay... that is a bit of an exaggeration. But the only symptom I had was urinary tract infections (UTIs) which occasionally put me into the hospital. But to be fair, there were a lot of them before I was the age 12.
After age 12, I learned how to avoid them and manage them better through medication. Then the only symptom of CKD that I had was the paranoia of getting a UTI. Not to experience any real symptoms for years made it easier for me to completely disregard the fact the I had kidney disease over my teenage years and lead me to believe I could live like every other healthy person around me.
Pros and cons of not experiencing any symptoms
There are definitely pros and cons to not having any chronic kidney disease symptoms.
- Not in pain
- Live a relatively "normal" life
- Always in the back of my mind
- Anxiety about CKD popping up when you least expect it
- It became a massive built up thought in my mind that was never addressed
What I took from the above, was that the pros are more physical and the cons are more mental. It was a real mind game. My mindset was, “well my bloodwork says that I have CKD, but I don’t feel it or see it? So I must be okay.”
It's normal to think you're invincible around your teenage years and to some extent, you are. I am in my early 20s now with a kidney function of 15 and only now starting to experience symptoms.
Learning about chronic kidney disease
It it hard to grow up with a disease that you don't fully understand, especially when you aren't presented with any symptoms. It can make it hard for others to understand as well, especially if you lack the understanding of it yourself. As I get older, I understand it a bit more and bit less every day. But similar to when you grow up, you learn a bit more every day.
Do you have chronic kidney disease without any symptoms?