I wanted to share Nikki's story with you to show that PKD is not just a disease that affects a person's kidneys, but is also a mindset and a way of life. Since the year 2000, Nikki has struggled off and on with her health as a result of PKD. Growing up Nikki knew little about PKD, only that her father had a kidney disease and died at the age of 44. When she was diagnosed, she was terrified to know she had what her father had and could possibly die at an early age. Fortunately for Nikki, there has been much more research to learn about this disease to help find treatments and hopefully a cure one day.
When a person is diagnosed with PKD, they are catapulted into a whole new path of life. They now have to get genetic testing, visit the nephrologist, monitor blood pressure and kidney function, get periodic ultrasounds to monitor kidney cyst growth, and try not go crazy with all of the numbers of lab results or blood pressures going up or down. Then there is the genetic component. If a person is diagnosed then which type of PKD do they have, PKD1 or PKD2? It matters to know which one because each has a different onset of end stage renal disease (kidney failure). Nikki has a strong family history of PKD, so her disease was able to be diagnosed and monitored early. If a person diagnosed with PKD decides to have children, there is a 50/50 chance their child will have PKD. As a result, 2 out of 3 of the Smith children have PKD.
So what is a person to do? Live life according to the statistics and their lab results? A person cannot change their diagnosis, but they can change how they respond to their diagnosis.
PKD will Not Beat Me
Life is a precious gift. We may not always get to choose to have good health, but we can sure choose to enjoy the life we have.
Nikki has found ways to adapt her life to still enjoy it. Everyday she is discovering the 'New Healthy.' She has altered her diet to less meat and more veggies and it has lowered her blood pressure drastically. Adapting healthy lifestyles of living such as eating right, exercising, spending time with her family and friends, and her faith in God, can make a heart happy. There are many ways to fight PKD and having a Happy heart is good medicine.
March is National Kidney Month. For more information about PKD and how it affects you go to www.pkdcure.org. Be Kind to someone with kidney disease! Leave your comments below!