My companion for life: Dialysis

Sara Ammar was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) when she was 32 years old. Ever since she has been writing a blog to spread positivity about living with CKD. She shares her experience of going through hemodialysis over the last four years and how she has learned to be grateful for what she has and to treat herself from time to time. She may have one reason to be sad, but a hundred other reasons to be happy and she focuses in the latter. 

I can never forget that day when I had my first renal function test (RFT), and the results showed failure on a major part. I went to the lab to collect my reports where the lab technician took a look at them and inquired, “These are yours??”
“Yes,” I replied
“Your kidneys are failing?!” I still don’t know whether this was a question or statement.
“Excuse me!! Allah forbid. ..what are you saying!”
“Oh sorry…if you were offended..I’m so sorry”

I showed him another lab slip and he told me, “yes you have to submit 24 hours urine test. Drink lots of water or else you will be considered a D-I-A-L-Y-S-I-S patient”.
At that time I had an urge to punch him in the face. Why? Because he said it. He said the dreaded word. The word I didn’t want to associate myself with. Not at all.

A few months passed and my dialysis started. Yep. You heard it. I heard it. And it is OK! The start of my dialysis was a sort of a blessing in disguise. I became more thankful to Allah for what I have; for my life, my partner and my kids.

It changed my perspective on life. I decided to be my kids’ hero!
Strive for them, live for them, be healthy for them because they look up to me, and they should see me as a strong mother. I may have ONE reason to be depressed, but a hundred reasons to be happy! I just need to focus on those hundred reasons!

It has been 4 years now and with the ups and downs, I’m doing well. People often ask me, how long does it take the body to get used to dialysis? It is very simple. Your body doesn’t need to get used to dialysis, your mind needs to accept that dialysis is the treatment that is giving you life. Just like you would take medicine for your flu and cough daily, similarly, you need to get dialysis three times a week (or as advised by your doctor). And yes, dialysis is a lifestyle where you are in the driver seat. You should know your body like no one else. And your body will respond to you. Set up a meeting with your dietician and understand your eatables and non-eatables. Don’t cut out the not-allowed food completely, have it once a week. Give yourself a treat sometimes. Enjoy that time. It is not the end of the world! It’s the start of a new lifestyle with you in charge.   

A disease comes with its pros and cons, and I am not interested in the cons! I know that one of the pros is that it comes with an extended family of well-wishers, people like me, struggling like me, people I can relate to, people I can get motivation from, and some of those people for whom I can be an inspiration! I call them my dialysis family. I meet them every other day. I know when they had a bad day. I cheer them up and tell them about my bad days. One old-aged lady told me her secret for a healthy long life with dialysis. And I helped a young boy come out of depression. 

For everyone out there, count your blessings! Count them each day, every day. Say “Alhamdulilah” (Thanks to God) as many times. And remember to count those things that may seem small for you but are of great importance to others. My list for today is…

  • Saying I love you to my kids
  • Hugging my kids
  • Glass of water
  • Able to do my work myself (I have bad days)
  • Playing with my kids
  • Having a loving and supportive family
  • A slice of high-potassium fruit (not allowed to dialysis patients)

I hope I’m able to spread positivity around. “You are responsible for your happiness!”

You can read Sara’s blog here