I’ve received quite a few notes from people saying they enjoy Doug’s story but want more detail on what Doug’s dealing with. I wish I could boil it all down to a simple statement that explained without overwhelming, but I’m not good enough to do that. In lieu of that, I come with a little insight into what Doug faces every day, and I’m not even going to cover his type 1 diabetes.
Frequently, I’m asked how Doug is doing, and my standard reply is, “He has good days and bad days.” Candidly, the good days are not that good, but they are good enough to keep going. Added to that is the fact that dealing with kidney disease is complicated. For those who have wondered how wonderfully we are made, you have only to start trying to do manually what a normally functioning kidney does with ease. The complex functions with body chemistry that it performs are stunning, and it’s not even the most sophisticated organ we have.
One of the first things I realized about compensating for the kidney’s lack is we had to throw aside the conventional wisdom about healthy eating. For instance, dark, green leafy vegetables must be ingested sparingly; otherwise, the blood potassium can become elevated to a dangerous level. This is due to impaired kidneys no longer filtering appropriate amounts of potassium out of the blood as it was designed to do. And a dangerous level of potassium creates an imbalance of electrolytes, which could in turn lead to a heart attack. So we are now on alert to the potassium levels in foods.
Some high and very high potassium foods:
Greens (Spinach, Turnip, Mustard, etc.)
Beans (Kidney, Lima, Navy, Pinto)
Peas (Split, Black-eyed)
Corn on the Cob
Of this list, I would say probably 98% are favorites of Doug’s. He’s not a big fan of greens except for spinach. The fruit he only ate on occasion, so it wasn’t as difficult to give up. But tomatoes, avocados and broccoli?! Yeah, it was tough. Oh, he can eat these, but it’s in such small amounts that it can serve as a temptation to have them.
All of this and much more is part and parcel of dealing with Chronic Kidney Disease Stage 4 (CKD 4) — one step above dialysis which is Stage 5.
This post started out as something else, and maybe I’ll get to what it was tomorrow. Also, I will do more of these types of posts as I go along, but I’m not going to inundate you with them because quite frankly, Doug reads this blog, and he doesn’t need to hear this drumbeat here as well. Plus, people just don’t want to hear about chronic disease incessantly. Doesn’t matter how well-intentioned they are about wanting the knowledge, it can wear people down to face something like this day in and day out with almost no light at the end of the tunnel. I would daresay most people cannot handle it. I’m not sure I could. And on that note, I have to say how much I respect Doug for not only handling it but doing it with such graciousness and care for others. What a testament to the Lord at work in his life.