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A person's abdomen is shown with two kidneys. One of the kidneys has a beautiful flower sprouting from it and thriving.

The Thought of Mortality and Transplant

This is a bit of a dark and dingy topic, but to be completely honest, it is a thought that crosses your mind as your kidney function starts to decline, especially the closer it gets to 0.

Dealing with end stage kidney disease (ESKD) is a scary thought. Going through it feels like a typical day and it doesn't feel as bad.

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Living with CKD is draining

I initially thought my kidney function would never decline to this point. I thought I was the exception, as I think a lot of us would think until it actually happens. Since going through ESKD, I have started just accepting where I am at, and to be honest, I don't really have a choice.

There are definitely times where I think, maybe I should've tried this, or could do this to try improve my kidney function, but it becomes draining trying over and over again to see no improved results. Especially when doctors don't believe you can improve your kidney function. It feels like you just got to let it happen and roll with the punches.

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Starting dialysis

I noticed once I started dialysis the thought of mortality occurring a lot more. Before starting dialysis, my kidney function was losing at least 1% function each month. Then going on dialysis and having this realization of "wow, if I didn't have this therapy or opportunity for transplant, I could potentially be dead within a year."

It is really strange to think about and it can make me quite sad, if I think about it for too long. Luckily for me, during transplant prep, they get you to see a psychologist, and if you're not dealing with everything you're allowed to see the hospital psychologist. This has been a massive help.

Even if you are dealing okay with everything, sometimes talking to a psychologist, who has heard about it from others in your position can act as a sense of guidance and support through out the journey.

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On the flip side

Although it is quite a sad scenario to think about, at the same time, it can be empowering. Having that opportunity to have a life saving therapy and use someone else's organ in your body?!?!?! That is pretty awesome, but also super strange to think about.

You're given a second chance at life. For me, when my kidney function was getting into the ESKD stage, my brain started going into tunnel vision, focusing on surviving. But as soon as there was a transplant assessment date in sight, it was like my mind started to open up again as see all the possibilities the world has to offer. Similar to when you grow up, you see more opportunies.

I'm 24, and been on dialysis for 2 months and I do have some days where I think about my mortality, but more days where I am excited for what the future holds. There are so many aspects of kidney disease to deal with, decreasing in stages, symptoms, diet changes, dialysis, finding a donor and then transplant. It is best to take it one step at a time.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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