Other Aspects of CKD Treatment

Friday’s blog went by the wayside!  While I was well aware it was new year’s eve, in my mind that made it a weekend.  I blog on Tuesdays and Fridays, so why would I blog on a weekend? Of course, it slipped my mind that I hadn’t blogged yet late that week.  Honestly, folks, this lapse in logical thinking has absolutely nothing to do with CKD.  It’s just the way my sometimes illogical brain functions.  We had a wonderful new year’s eve with friends in from Florida and their mom/mother-in-law: quiet, just the five of us but good eats and good company.  I hope yours was as much fun whatever you did and that the new year brings you health and lots and lots of fun.

This is the image that appears on the cover of the book, “What Is It and How Did I Get It?” upon which this blog is based.  I actually took real kidney beans and arranged them in the shape of a kidney.  What I didn’t know is how hard it is to find either dried kidney    beans or a can of solely kidney beans where I live, so I bought a can of mixed beans and picked out the kidney beans one by one.  Not the most pleasant experience, but I like the results.  The book should be available this spring.

Now, we were discussing otheraspects of CKD treatment. There is a psychological trick to remembering to take your prescribed medication [for CKD or other ailments] in the proper quantity and on time.  When it’s prescribed, ask exactly what it is for and what it is supposed to do.  The simple act of  remembering this discussion, picturing your doctor possibly pointing at a diagram, picturing yourself possibly watching your doctor’s face, and hearing the words said at the time will keep the medication –  and the proper time to take it –  in the forefront of your mind.

All CKD patients want that cure, that miracle that is going to rid us of CKD.  As of now, it doesn’t exist, so be leery of any product that promises to do just that.  Remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it is.  I noticed overuse of the following words in the advertisements for such products: secret, breakthrough, quick, guaranteed.  My initial reaction is, “Yeah, right,” before I navigate away from the site or turn the page in that particular magazine.

On the other hand, complementary and alternative medicine may be helpful.  Holistic medicine includes the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.  It seems to me that your nephrologist also deals with the physical, but who is tending to the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your health?

Some people may prefer to have a therapist or psychologist tend to their emotional state. Help in any of these areas can only be welcome. Although they are not the kind of treatments taught in medical school, some hospitals and insurance companies do cover these alternative or complementary medicine practices.  Check with yours to see if the mental, emotional or spiritual help you want is covered.

Then there’s preventative medicine, which is what your nephrologist will probably encourage you to practice anyway.  This is the kind of medicine in which you, the patient, are educated to prevent more health problems [renal diet, exercise, etc.] rather than just treating symptoms you already have.  It also gives you the information you need to stick to your guns when a physician who doesn’t know you is trying to prescribe something you know will do further damage to your kidneys.

You’d be surprised at what was once considered alternative medicine.  Once practices have been proven both effective and safe, they become part of mainstream medicine.  These include osteopathy [an overly simplistic explanation would be the joining of medical practices and chiropractics], chiropractics, acupuncture, acupressure [more commonly referred to as acupuncture without the needles], diet, hypnosis, music, art, visualization, relaxation, massage, vitamins, and meditation.  http://www.nccam.nih.gov. is the nih part of the address. That means the National Institute of Health, and it’s a government site.  This may help you decide which of these disciplines interest you.  As usual, check with your nephrologist before you act on your decision.  You don’t want to start something that might either be harmful or undermine your treatment in a way you may not have thought about.

There’s also help of another sort – psychological.  This doesn’t necessarily mean heavy duty therapy.  I’ve found online chat rooms and message boards by entering CKD in a search.  I’ve already mentioned that I’m not the joining kind, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t get some comfort from lurking on these sites.  I’ve found answers to questions I didn’t know I had until I read them.  I also was able to identify feelings I had been vaguely aware of when I found them being discussed on message boards.  Sometimes, lurkers – people who observe rather than participate – are invited to join the conversation. Other times, you’re left alone until you feel you can join in or leave the site.

There are also live support groups for those who want the eye contact, the hugs, the chance to read body language.  Your nephrologist or your local hospital can help you find such a group or you can find their locations by surfing the web.  Support groups may also lead you to come to terms with the fact that, for the rest of your life, you need to declare your CKD for most life and insurance policies. A note on Twitter:  I see that they are beginning to include support groups, but as of the printing of this blog, I haven’t seen any for CKD.

Until Friday (no, really, I mean it),

Keep loving your life.

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