When living with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) it is very easy to become consumed with your daily struggles of survival and completely focused on a Kidney Transplant while forgetting to focus on LIVING. A staggering 4,500 "good candidates" die every year waiting for a kidney transplant. So ask yourself, "What if your transplant never comes?" You must not allow your just desire to receive a Kidney Transplant or fear of never obtaining one to control your daily life. The idea of living the rest of one's life on some form of dialysis is understandably daunting and very frightening for some, but continuing to LIVE (rather than merely exist) is exactly what you need to do for your mental, physical and spiritual well-being.
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Perhaps the most difficult aspect of ESRD is the loss of your perceived identity before becoming sick. Sometimes it is difficult to feel good about yourself or others as you struggle to find a new self-image. With these challenges it is no wonder that you may find yourself experiencing high levels of anger, fear, helplessness, hopelessness, resentment, depression and damaged self-esteem. However a Kidney Transplant is no panacea and if these issues are not confronted head on now, you will have to deal with them even if you should happen to actually receive your desired Kidney Transplant. You have many tools at your disposal that will help you cope more effectively and achieve a higher quality of life. KidneyBuzz.com encourages you not to see this as an issue with a quick solution but instead a continued process of self-reflection and improvement. We are here for you every step of the way!
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Create a new personal definition of health. Being healthy does not necessarily mean there is an absence of illness. It means being as complete as possible and living life as fully as possible in spite of the hand you have been dealt. Healthy living is when you embrace all your experiences both positive and negative to find peace, balance and contentment in the midst of ESRD.
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Life is comprised of many preconceived and often unconscious expectations and assumptions that define the way you may think life is "supposed" to be. Do not blindly accept these default assumptions, instead redefine your "truth." When living with ESRD you often are no longer capable of living within normal definitions of energy, health, happiness, and more. Your inability to accommodate the norm can cause more damage to your already impaired health. Begin to practice Cognitive Reframing by examining what unconscious expectations you have internalized that no longer work within your current circumstances and redefine them. This will require challenging the way things are "supposed" to be and you should start with your definition of healthy living. Recognize what the limits are in your life and live within them rather than resisting them. Have realistic expectations for yourself based on your condition. Allow yourself to make modifications, substitutions and adapt to your special needs.
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The point here is that life is too short to wait around for a kidney before you resume LIVING. Do not let your fear of dying or not receiving a kidney prevent you from enjoying life because ultimately no one knows when their call will come. Some will wait several days, weeks, years and others will wait for the rest of their life. One of the toughest things ESRD patients have to do is prepare for life and prepare for death at the same time. So, at this time you should try to focus on living each day to its fullest. None of us knows what life will bring, all we know is that we have today and we have hope for tomorrow. All we can do is try to be the person we want to be today and help our love ones to prepare to face tomorrow. Remember what is really important in life: love, family, friends and spiritual fulfillment. Take calculated risks and allow yourself to live in spite of ESRD while at the same time honoring your limits.
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