Thursday, April 17, 2014

#1611 - On Offspring

We get a lot from our parents.  Not just our genetic makeup, but our values and traditions.  Our self-esteem and our value.  They help us gain confidence an set the example for how we should live our lives.  I've been thinking about my mother a lot recently.  Especially since I started counting calories and working harder on living a healthier life style.

My mother was diagnosed with diabetes in her 40's.  By her 50's, she was suffering from peripheral neuropathy and could no longer wear the heels she so loved because of the danger of falling.  But her shoes still defined her style that was anything but sensible.  She started to develop diabetic retinopathy that caused her to quit driving for fear of being in an accident because of her sight problems.  And, around the time I was going to graduate from medical school, she was told her greatest fear.  That she was going into renal failure and should start planning for dialysis.

We talked at great length about what this would mean, and she asked me what it would take to stay off of dialysis.  I talked to her about medications that would help to remove the buildup of impurities and electrolytes (especially potassium) in her body.  I talked about low protein diets and drinking plenty of fluids.  I talked about exercise and doing whatever the doctor told her to do.  She went to her kidney doctor then and told him in no uncertain terms that she did not want dialysis, and that she was willing to do whatever he told her even if it included killing puppies, making them into milkshakes and drinking them on a daily basis. (Momma and I have a warped sense of humor)

He laid out a pill regimen (about 9 different ones) and told her that they would check her blood on a regular basis.  And so it went.  From 2003 to 2013, she continued the plan.  You couldn't get her to take a bite of anything that wasn't good for her.  She's a low meat, water-drinking, no sweets seriously disciplined patient.  And, her kidney function didn't worsen.

Over the last 6 months, however, the doctor told her that he's starting to see some changes in her lab work that concerns him again that she might be approaching the need for dialysis.  Again, we talked about it, and she says she doesn't want it.  Her kidney doctor told me to talk her into it.  And, I told him I have to respect her wishes.  I am sad to think I might lose her sooner without it, but proud and supportive that she wants to live life on her own terms.  Like she has always done.  And which inspires me on those days when I just want to throw away my salad and have a stack of pancakes, or french fries, or a Starbuck's caramel macchiato or any of the other 100 foods I love that I can't have right now.

If a woman can be so disciplined and focused that she has literally willed herself and her body into staying off dialysis, I know that as her offspring I have that within me too.  And, together we'll conquer any challenges that come along.  For hopefully many years to come.

Happy Birthday, Momma.
I love you and am inspired by you daily.

2013 A to Z Challenge Post:


betty said...

Happy belated birthday to your mom! I absolutely love her though will never meet her this side of eternity, but I love that she knows what she wants and is willing to live on those terms, no matter how sad it might be and I absolutely love that you support her wishes, no matter what that means down the road. She is a great testimony that one can work proactively to improve their health, no matter how bad the numbers might look at any given time.


Anonymous said...


your not alone... My father developed kidney failure due to Lupus attacking his kidneys and was on dialysis from 2009 to 2013 when he passed on. Its not pretty coming in there and seeing them all hooked up with these huge needles. I can remember one morning ( he did TUE, THURS, SAT) and had to be there at 7 AM for 4 hours of dialysis and they had to stick him 5 TIMES... He screamed and yelled. And there was nothing my mother could do but stand there and stick and stick until they hit a vain ( he had like 5 heart attacks) and real bad circulation, lost a leg, and was going to loose some toes, and suddenly died on Sept 22, 2013. He got to see his 65 birthday on 9/11.

hope your mom makes the right decision.


Anonymous said...

oh and happy birthday!

-- Christopher

Anonymous said...
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