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What to expect, or rather my current experiences (symptoms) with CKD (2/4)

December 6, 2017

While I can't speak for everyone, I would like to share what my symptoms are and how they impact my everyday life. These symptoms are what I feel in my current condition stage 4, previously I had almost next to no problems coping with life.

 

1.) Headaches/Migraines - When your kidney(s) fail your blood pressure rises, this is because your kidney(s) are one of the major organs that help regulate your blood pressure. As the further you decline the more medication you are put on to try and regulate your blood pressure. All of this I think is what contributes to the situation. It's not really one of those headaches you can just take a Tylenol for either, it is a pounding that can stay with you from anywhere from hours to days to go away making life not that fun along the way.

 

2.) Loss of appetite (and/or nausea) - This is a feeling that comes and goes at weird times ( I would imagine it is relate-able to when women are pregnant).

 

3.) Muscle fatigue, pain, tightness, cramping, etc. - I used to be an avid gym goer (and with my educational background I think i did pretty well considering the cards that were dealt to me), when I hit stage 4 I started to get very fatigued physically and also notice problems breathing as well as a decline in strength (having to put my training on a hiatus certainly didn't help either). Going from a "gym rat" to not being able to perform like "my normal self" I thought I would try Yoga to stay active. At first I enjoyed that I still had an outlet to stay active, but even this low impact activity still posed some challenges. CRAMPING, ugh it's the worst! Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night because you had a cramp so you need to move/stand up? Well this is a whole new stage cramps can come in the legs, feet, hands, face, anywhere really. It's not just in the middle of the night either, you could be doing something normal in every day life and then BAM! a cramp that you are dealing with for 5+ min.

 

4.) Edema (fluid retention) - Hands, feet, and even my face could swell if I am not careful with my fluid consumption (which will eventually be even more strict on Dialysis). This can sometimes make even the simplest thing as writing a difficult task.

 

5.) Exhaustion/tiredness - I remember the days I was a "morning person", I could wake up around 6 - 7 a.m. perform all my task and relax at night heading to bed around 10:30. In my current state it is almost a monumental task to get out of bed at 8 a.m. and by 8 - 9 p.m. I would be tiered enough to go to bed again, I typically also have 2 - 3 naps (45 min -2 hours) scattered through out the day that my body just can't help to overcome. My only way I have currently found to help with this situation is by drinking caffeine/energy drink however this has a negative impact and if constant consumption is used to offset the effects it would further jeopardize my current kidney function.

 

6.) Anemia - There are various different kinds of anemia however in dealing with my kidney failure I mostly experience fatigue, dizziness/lightheaded (sometimes), my skin is paler than "normal", difficulty concentrating (really difficult as I am a college student), and the worse is "always" feeling cold. It can be 70-ish outside and people are wearing short selves and shorts, while I am in long pants and a light hooded jacket (happen just recently in fact). It definitely makes me feel insecure/like an outcast sometimes.

7.) Urination decline - As your kidney(s) fail your body filtrates less therefore you urinate less. But you still feel this sensation that you have to, it is to the least one of the most oddest feelings. It can also be frustrating and upsetting to the point of a breakdown. The reason for that emotion is the closer you are to the point were you don't (or hardly) have to urinate is one of the best indicators that Dialysis is imminent. I imagine that this point is just world shattering to anyone, as no one wants to be in such a vulnerable life changing situation.


         Someone may experience different/more symptoms then what I mentioned above. If they are on dialysis you might expect them to be even more run down just depending on how well they are responding to their new (or reoccurring) change in life. I would suggest just "being there" for your loved one or friend who is currently dealing with these changes in their life, you don't necessarily have to be an organ donor for them just a shoulder to lean on or a helping hand. Someone who can listen/help with somethings is always nice to have in your corner (especially in life changing situations). So here I am, sharing my experience/knowledge to better help others understand what someone they may know is going through. As well as reaching out my own hand for help from complete strangers (and even some friends that may not have realized what I was going through). While I may not have anything to offer in terms of financial compensation, I would be eternally grateful and willing to help my organ donor in anyway I would be able to in the future.

 

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Hattiesburg, MS, USA

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