The Adventures of Kidney Boy

A Journal About Living With End Stage Renal Disease. Dialysis. Transplants. Love. Family. Friends. The Unsung Donor. This is my life, from the end of a needle to the bottom of a pill bottle.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

A solitary Christmas

 For the past decade or so, I'd always write some kind of post/missive about how lucky I was and how much I enjoyed the holidays - memories of the past, and the promise of the present.

This year was so much different - this year was the first in 14 years I spent apart from my wife.  And I must be honest here, it hurt so much more than I thought it would. I really struggled to get through the season.  I'd come to associate this time of year with family and love - and how lucky I was to have her and later our children in my life.  But with Covid keeping me apart from my extended family, and the dissolution of my marriage keeping my family separate.. it's hard.  I wish I could fully enunciate how sad my soul was this year - and how much I struggled to keep it together, keep it merry and fun for my kids, and try my best to feel what cheer I could of this season.  We'd arranged it so I'd have the kids the day before Christmas Eve and most of Christmas Eve day; I'd bring the kids back to her the evening of Christmas Eve and they'd spend Christmas Day with her and her family.  So Christmas happened on Christmas Eve in my house.   I'd wrapped a few presents I'd gotten, and my parents brought some over that they got.  I made sure to stuff their stockings full of little gifts and candy.  I put on Christmas music in the morning and they excitedly opened presents... We played with toys.  They seemed to have fun; my parents came over and gave them gifts. But for me, there was a joy missing. My wife brought a real love of Christmas into my life,  and always seemed to bring the joy of season into our house. That was missing in my life this year, and it was sorely missed.  After I took the kids to her, I came home, and saw some of the Christmas Carnage - wrapping paper, toys strewn about.  Half eaten candy laying about. Christmas Music still playing - I noted my stocking.  Lovingly labeled "Dad" just sitting there, empty, devoid of anything where in previous years it overflowed with gifts.  Christmas Day, I spent alone. A lonely man, in a cold lonely house. No presents to open.  It was really difficult, and probably the lowest I have ever felt.  Losing something like that in your life is so hard.  The little things you used to have in relationships mean so much more when they're gone.  I hope the coming years I can re-find my joy of the season.  This year, I had a lot of sorrow in my heart, and that's hard to live with.  But I'm trying to focus on the good in my life. It's hard, and I'm gonna need a minute to indulge and acknowledge the sad before I move on to a new life in 2021.  I know this year has been hard on so many.  I just pray that the next year is better for all of us, and we all find just a little bit more happiness in our lives.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Dealing with Sadness in a time of Great Salvation

 So, I'm four weeks out from my transplant.  I haven't sat in a dialysis chair in four weeks.  I feel better - different every day.  The fog I lived in is lifting; my brain/mind seems to be gaining some clarity and my mental acuity seems sharper.  Dialysis brain is a real thing - it makes it hard to concentrate and focus.  I've been living in that fog for two years - and for years before that, I was living and dealing with a failing kidney.  I was looking at past labs starting in 2015, and it showed clear decline then - I went back on dialysis in 2018.  It's been a rough last five years.

And, I wasn't always at my best, and for certain my life suffered because of it.  And I'm dealing with a great amount of sadness and regret at how much I've lost and how I have to live with that now.  And now I'm on my way to a new way of life, a new health and eagerness.... and everything that mattered to me, everything I wanted to get better for.... is either gone or irrevocably changed.  

This month, the holidays, are tough.  I'm dealing with so much inner turmoil, and of course my emotions are amplified by the larger amounts of prednisone they have me on post transplant.  The truth is I have a lot to deal with - getting my life back on track. Personally, financially, work-wise... everything.  I'm 42 and rebuilding it all again.... but I have to decide what the the hell I even want to build at this point. I have the feeling the next few months are going to be interesting as I discover myself again - maybe try some new things, maybe seek comfort in familiar things... also, I need to take rest when I need it and let my body heal.

I'm just so... I don't know. I can't quite find the words. But I know I am dealing with a deep and intense internal sadness and conflict right now, and wrestling with that is difficult.  But I have done this before. Somehow, I'll go on, and maybe be better than I was.