I want to tell about how a renal Patient can live a fulfilling life.
I remember very well the day in which I started dialysis. It was the 19thApril 2017. I want to the surgery room to place a catheter and, right after that, I started dialysis. It was a 3 hour treatment. I guess I didn’t even talk a lot about it because I was in denial. It isn’t easy to accept and I remember calling friends and family to understand if anyone had a blood type which was compatible with mine. A compatible donor didn’t appear and, instead of that, 10 days after that, Guilherme was born. The greatest love of my life was there, in my arms, with a little more than 3Kg. I remember thinking: Now it’s for you that I choose to live. Those were the 10 days I needed to understand that now, I needed to understand: Everything. How everything worked. And I started interesting myself on the disease and about the whole process of dialysis itself. That was the moment in which I decided that the disease wouldn’t be stronger than me, and that’s why I want to share with you the four steps which I’ve given to be where I am today: happier than ever, and living the dream of a lifetime.
1stStep – Cutting with the attitudes that aren’t good for us
At first, we all think: and now, how will others start seeing us? I had a medical report claiming my 71,4% of incapacity. My body felt so tired after treatments that I’d spend the day after always either sleeping or laying down. I found myself looking at the mirror and feeling sorry for my own self. I was only 28 and I’d have to stop working and spend all my time hooked up to a machine. These are the words that our brain processes and that make us complain about everything and with everyone around us. These are the words that, in a split second, make us believe that nobody will ever love us and, in that moment, we lose the notion of the true value which we have. This is where I feel the first battle takes place: cutting with the attitudes that aren’t good for us. Starting to understand the disease and the treatment is very important to that mentally we start to digest the fact that this process, the treatments, is what allows us to keep living. We can only be truly happy when we understand that dialysis isn’t something bad. On the contrary, we are fortunate enough that these treatments exist, which allow us to continue living with those whom we love and to continue doing the things we enjoy. Only in that moment will we be able to give the next step. Now, I am more thankful for all the good things and I stopped wasting my time complaining and suffering.
2nd Step – Recognizing our capacities.
What am I good at? What do I really love doing?
I’d opened a tourism company in February 2017, and, for the first time in my life I was working for myself. It was never anything I’d planned, but just something that ended up happening. I’d invested a lot of money in order to pursue something I really liked, and really enjoyed doing. “But, if in those days after dialysis I’m so tired, I will I be able to work at all?”. This was making me become extremely demanding on myself. More than what was actually possible or that what I was able to do. I have to tell you: I lived in a constant state of unsatisfaction because I wasn’t able to achieve the things I’d proposed to myself. It wasn’t an easy process but I started understanding that the simples way would be to set clear achievable objectives. First, I tried to understand what my qualities were, as a professional. Then, I understood that days would come in which I would necessarily feel frustrated, hence lowering my expectations when I knew, upfront, it would be harder for me to achieve my goals. From that moment on, everything changed. I realized that the days in which I had dialysis would be my days off, and that the days without treatment would be my “best” days, those in which I would need to work twice as hard to compensate for the ones I “lost” resting. This made me feel bumped up with energy, and going off to work with a sense of purpose, available to approach my potential customers with a reinvigorated spirit. Ah, and I sold much better. By then, the goals I’d set for my company’s success started to become visible and everything went much better.
Not allowing ourselves to accommodate is super important, in order to live a life in which we are happier and available to what the day-to-day throws at us.
3rd Step – Keep focused on the present
Many of us project things for the future. It’s something normal and we should do so. However, we can’t forget that our life is happening now.
We should look at plans we set, with other eyes, in order not to fall into the trap of failure which may lead us, once more, into denial. Keeping focused in the present makes each second of our day count and thus we avoid wasting hours (and days) annoyed with ourselves and with those around us.
If we keep focused in the present, and if we understand that life is now, whenever we achieve a goal which we had set, we’ll enjoy it as a victory to savour e, as a consequence, we’ll feel happier. Thinking “I’m good in what I do” gives us a sense of well-being and of love even in the simples actions of our day-to-day life.
4th Step – Accepting one’s self, fail, learning with one’s mistakes and always being grateful
Self-acceptance only lets us see how we can restart. This is what Dialysis is: a restart. Life’s re-learning, with something that allows us to keep on living. To get rid of that feeling of inferiority comparing to other people who don’t have to go through the same process we have to go through, and of “having to spend our days hooked-up to a machine”, is half way there to becoming better people towards our own-selves. That will influence our day-to-day enormously. Whether at work, with our family, or even in simple situations, such as driving our car in the middle of hectic traffic. Since the time we’re in treatment ends up taking away more time from us than from people who don’t need it, we have to grasp the time where we’re not in treatment and live it at 200% of its intensity!
To live is to make mistakes, but it’s also to make the best of them. We should all make the most of our limitations in order to become better people and to inspire other people with our examples, instead of thinking we have the right to complain about everything around us, just because we may feel less than the rest. We aren’t!
Being grateful is just the best feeling we can have. For the simple things, but also for the things that were harder to get and which gave us a fight. By being grateful, we’ll be telling ourselves: I’m a winner and this disease won’t be number 1 in my life. This is how I feel now: a winner. Are you available to be a winner too?