Baby steps

Pro tip: Fiber & protein are easier than you think to increase intake. Smoothies, pies, &  casseroles are all dishes you can easily add protein or fiber to without any fuss.

I can admit it. My numbers are pretty awesome. I keep referring to myself as the anti-kidney patient. I like to think it has to do with the control over my diet I’m exerting. When I say diet, I don’t mean that I’m being excessively restrictive. I mean I’ve made adjustments to my food intake to manipulate my blood work.

My first outpatient day in the dialysis center as when I first met my nutritionist. Armed with the results from my blood workup, she told me my numbers were surprisingly good. My phosphorus was so low, I was encouraged to add a glass of milk a day to my diet. My albumin wasn’t too bad and I was told to keep up the vitamin D intake. So, even on HD I was phenomenally lucky with my diet.

My healthcare team has been such a help. The best thing about having to be on dialysis is that I get to meet with a nutritionist once a month. If I’m finding it hard to work in more protein or less phosphorus, my nutritionist can help me figure out what to adjust to change my numbers. PD allows you to have a significantly less restricted diet than HD. Don’t forget, I’m kind of slacker too. My albumin is slipping. I blame myself, I’m fickle – I get cravings for different foods and go on long jags of eating certain foods. I can’t seem to balance out adding leafy greens and protein. I’ll make vegetarian lasagna and forget to have protein with it. This is why I tried adding whey protein powder to the sauce. I can’t have soy, so whey it is and you don’t notice it mixed into the sauce. I don’t consider it a full replacement, it’s just so that I’m actually getting in some additional protein with the lasagna.

Have I mentioned how much I love to cook? It’s a lot easier to monitor your intake of certain vitamins & minerals when you do the cooking. To simplify things, I make a large batch of something and freeze most of it in single serving portions so all I have to do is thaw and reheat if I’m too tired or busy to actually cook. It also works great for lunches at work. Right now I have a freezer full of roasted chicken, lasagna and collard greens. I also freeze raw meat in single serving size portions so I can use it to make whatever.

Sometimes it’s the illusion of control that helps you get through.

Why so long, man?

I’m a slacker. I can admit it. That might also be a lie. I’ve had a lot going on. I was working and dealing with roommate issues. Then I was moving to avoid roommate issues that turned into losing a friend. In addition, I’ve also lost a job and been fighting with unemployment because my former employer didn’t have an account with unemployment. It’s taken 16 weeks of nearly daily interactions with unemployment agencies in 2 different states. Oh, did I mention I’m still looking for work? Let’s call it a hiatus.

Anyway…

After that first trip I’ve returned to my parents house to visit maybe three times. It is much simpler to fly than to drive. Driving home would stress me out because I was rushing to get to my destination so I could hook up for the night. Flying, I’m all for it. I get a wheel chair because that machine is far too heavy to lug through an airport. Airport employees have been nothing but kind and courteous.
It is still a hassle. And I feel like kind of an asshole. Even though I know I cannot carry my machine through an airport, I guess I feel guilty because I can carry it to the car. Now, when I say that, what I mean is I have to sit there panting and exhausted for 15 minutes before I gather the energy to walk back to my apartment to get the rest of my things. The best term to use here is that my guilt is actually vanity. A voice in my head keeps telling me I can push through, at the cost of possibly really hurting myself. This is stupid. No matter how strong I want to be or think I am. I have limits that are stricter than before. I have to practice more patience with myself and remember that getting my strength back is still taking more time.

Pro tip: Let people help you. Let them carry the machine or assist in putting it in/removing it from the overhead bin. You don’t have to let it make you feel weak or sickly.