Story Time Saturday: Year of Changes

Hey Lovelies! It’s me again, finally! And in case you were worried that I was sentenced to a life where technology no longer existed, that was certainly not the case at all. A few things have changed since my last post, and as I sit here, writing this post, I know there are more changes to come (in a good way).

Grandpa’s Death

gramps

On December 4, 2016, I lost my grandpa. He was 91-years-old, still in his right mind, and had this certain sense of life about him. My grandfather, Joseph, was a Reverend for many years. He was the kind of man who believed in letting the Lord heal him as opposed to relying on doctors and medicines. He knew the Bible like the back of his hand, even when it wasn’t in front of him. More importantly, he was the kind of man who didn’t fear death. The day before his passing, he told my Grams that he wouldn’t be with her much longer. He even gave her Christmas money for my sisters and me to buy Christmas gifts that would allow us to remember him.

As stubborn and stuck in his ways that he was, he always meant well. He wasn’t just someone I saw on holidays and special occasions; I saw him every day. Because aside from him being my grandpa, he was also my next door neighbor, my Pastor, and the man behind the inspiration of my name (my parents thought I was going to be a boy). Because we were fortunate enough to have him until the age of 91, each day gets a little easier in knowing that the Lord only takes the best.

In Sickness & In Health

Photo Mar 09, 10 45 00 PM

If you’re new to this blog, you should know that I’m a renal failure advocate. However, if you’re not new here, it’s no secret I’m always preaching the importance of taking care of your kidneys. It’s also no secret my dad was diagnosed with renal failure six years ago and taking dialysis three times a week. But what you don’t know (unless you follow me on Instagram) is that on January 5, 2017, my dad had a heart attack.

I remember getting a call from my older sister who explained he got sick on his way home from dialysis. Luckily, he spotted his brother along the way, flagged him down, and his brother was able to get him an ambulance. On our way to the hospital he was at, my Uncle called. He said my dad had a heart attack and they were going to fly him to a heart hospital. To this day, I can still hear and see the plane taking him away. They ended up doing a stent for one side, but because dialysis had calcified his veins, he was going to need open heart surgery. The day of his surgery was scary due to a number of reasons.

Fast forward to today, he has fully recovered from his triple bypass, back to his normal activities, and giving us all a run for our money. He was in the hospital for a total of 11 days, and my mom, the epitome of Superwoman, was there the entire time; never leaving his side. With God’s will, my parents will be celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary later on this year, and to this day, they still stand by each other’s side in sickness and in health. That’s true love, y’all.

Revelation

Needless to say, with everything that went on, I stopped blogging, writing, and pretty much everything. My day would consist of working, sitting with my bedridden Grams until her sitter showed up, and passing out on the couch from exhaustion until it was time to do it all over again the next day. But it wasn’t healthy. I was suffering physically and mentally. For the longest time I felt like I needed to dedicate all of my spare time to Grams, to ensure she was okay, even when I knew she was in good hands with someone else. But my family helped me understand that I needed to take care of myself as well. I noticed when I started making my writing a priority again, I was no longer suffering from chest pains or miserableness. I was waking up a happier person, and believe me, I’m no morning person. Sometimes you just have to learn to make some time for you; even if it’s only 30 minutes.

With all of this being said, I’m starting the blog up again (thanks for the encouragement, Mom), focusing on my writing, and making room for some much needed ME TIME.

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Awareness Tip #6: Education

Good morning, lovelies! As National Kidney Month comes to an end, I thought today would be the perfect day to share my final tip of the month; education. They say knowledge is power, right? Then what better way to gain knowledge by educating yourself? Although I have been sharing many awareness tips, there are still so many signs and symptoms to learn. Pay attention to simple things such as your urine output, listen to your body, and more importantly if kidney disease is something that runs in your family, get a kidney screening done. Just because National Kidney Month is coming to an end, it doesn’t mean that we can stop educating ourselves, or ignoring what our bodies are trying to tell us.

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Even though my blog will be returning to its regular content (with updates to come during Spring Break), I will still be sharing updates occasionally on my fundraising. Every penny counts, so I ask that you continue to consider donating here to help kidney patients around the world.

Awareness Tip #5: Living with Sick People

Good morning, lovelies. I know it’s been a while, but I’ve been busy with work. On top of that, I’m battling the cold from hell. I’m coughing, throwing up, my body aches, and I’m exhausted. It’s not just me though. EVERYONE in the house is sick, except for my dad. This situation leads me to today’s tip:  living with sick people.

When my dad was first diagnosed with renal failure, he was advised to stay away from sick people because his immune system was weak. Eating protein became a necessity to build up his immune system. The flu shot also became a necessity; not just for him, but for the family as well. And for a wuss like me, the flu shot wasn’t an option! Because I’m deathly afraid of needles, I always requested the mist; until last year. I faced my fears and got the actual flu shot. I also got a shot yesterday, so I guess you can say I’m starting to face my (needle) fears.

I know how important it is to keep people with weak immune systems safe, so today I’m sharing my knowledge. Here are five things dialysis patients need to keep near them when living in a house filled with sick people:

  1. Hand Sanitizer:  With everyone sneezing and coughing, hand sanitizer is an absolute must! For instance, my dad keeps hand sanitizer on him…he even keeps a bottle in his car.
  2. Lysol:  It’s important to make sure you Lysol areas where the sick people have been. For example, the sofas, bedrooms, the car, etc. It’s important to keep yourself healthy, and your loved ones will understand this whole-heartedly.
  3. Flu Masks:  These come in handy when you’re surrounded by people with the flu. Thankfully, we’re just battling colds here, but it’s always better to play it safe. These flu masks will help you stay protected, and keep away contagiousness.
  4. Minor Confinement:  It isn’t necessary to confine yourself completely from your family, but your health is just as important as theirs. My dad hasn’t really confined himself because he’s been playing Super Dad by driving us to our Doctor’s appointments, picking up prescriptions, cleaning, cooking, getting wet towels for us when we vomit, and he’s done all of this on his dialysis day. Did I mention he’s been a life saver?
  5. Cool air:  I know this is going to sound crazy, but keeping it relatively cold in your house is going to help fight off germs. Think about when you go to Doctor’s offices or hospitals. It’s usually cold in those places, so try to mirror that in your place.
As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.

Awareness Tip #4: ***** Day

Good morning, lovelies! I know my past few tips have been all business and NO fun! Well, today is going to be a fun day. Today’s tip is so good that I couldn’t even put it in the title!

Although I don’t suffer with chronic kidney disease, I understand the affects that it can have on you, mentally and physically. It’s a life-altering thing.

My dad worked outside, at the same job, for over 30 years. So having to stop working, and focus solely on himself and his treatments, was definitely a game changer for him.

You know what another game changer is? Having to change your diet in the blink of an eye. Especially if you’re a fan of foods that are high in potassium, phosphorus, and calcium. This leads me to my tip for the day:

Make sure you allow yourself a couple of cheat treat days every now and then. 

Now, notice I said a TREAT DAY and not CHEAT DAY, because if you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing, you’re not cheating; you’re treating yourself.

My dad learned about treat days very early in his diagnosis. How, you might be wondering. Because of his guardian angel of course. His older brother, Sherman, was on dialysis for about 9 years. When my dad got sick, my uncle was in the hospital as well (for non-kidney issues). They took dialysis together in the hospital, and made the nurses do double takes because they thought they were twins!

In the short time that my uncle was alive during my dad’s diagnosis, he taught him about treating himself, amongst other things. The last time my dad saw my uncle, he was taking his own advice by indulging in a honey bun. He passed away March 29, 2011, but his spirit still lives on to this day.

So, whether it’s indulging in your favorite meal, or snack, don’t think of it as a cheat. Think of it as a treat. Maybe you’ve gotten your report and found out all of your levels look good. Maybe you’ve finally reached your desired protein goal. Whatever the case may be, treat yourself. Your taste buds will thank you for it!

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Sherman & Ricky

As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.

World Kidney Day: Awareness Tip #3

Hello, lovelies. As promised, I am back with another kidney tip for y’all. Before I get into that, I would like to mention that yesterday made 5 years since my father has been sick. Today, which also happens to be World Kidney Day, makes 5 years of him being on dialysis. And just how is he celebrating this day? By being in dialysis, of course.

Photo Mar 09, 10 45 00 PM

Now, how about that tip? I thought about this long and hard. It’s like I have a lot of tips to share, but not sure which ones to share. I’ve already brought awareness to drinking more water (but less if you’re a kidney patient), as well as monitoring your blood pressure.

So without further ado, today’s tip is about medication. If you are a dialysis patient (or just for future knowledge), try to avoid medicine such as Aleve and Ibuprofen. These medicines, and more, damage your kidneys. My dad’s doctors have told him that Tylenol is the safest medicine for him to take. So, be mindful of the medicine you are taking.

Please talk to your primary physician to find out what medicine is the safest for you to take if you are on dialysis.

As always, please click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney disease.

 

Kidney Awareness 2

Hello, my lovelies. As promised, I am here to give you another tip about kidney disease.

MAINTAIN YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE

High blood pressure and diabetes are the two leading causes for renal failure. Because my dad doesn’t have diabetes, I can’t really give you much on that aspect of it. However, I can give you some insight when it comes to the high blood pressure aspect.

For as long as I can remember (and I’m 25-years-old), my dad always suffered with high blood pressure. He was also taking multiple pressure pills to manage his high blood pressure. He also suffered with White Coat Syndrome, which is basically when his pressure would rise even higher in any kind of doctors’ offices or hospital settings.

Fast forward to when he began getting sicker, but before his diagnosis, his pressure would be in the 200s.

Luckily, when he decided to go to the hospital that night, he wasn’t even feeling terrible. A miracle, right?

Anyway, it’s important to manage your blood pressure to avoid things such as a stroke or renal failure. My dad’s high blood pressure ended up damaging his kidneys.

Since his diagnosis, my father doesn’t suffer with high blood pressure anymore. At times, he has problems with keeping his pressure up.

You can’t expect dialysis to do all of the work for you though. Cutting salt out of your diet and paying attention to the amount of sodium foods have can help along the way.

Click here to learn about ways to help and donate to the many Americans whose lives have been impacted by kidney failure.