Kidney Disease Warrior

When I began dialysis, I was in for a fight for my life. I acquired pieces of armor to help me.

Fight of my Life

I earned a helmet by thinking of and using ways to help myself.  Body armor came through my research, reading, and work I do within the dialysis community. The medical team is a sword to fight my kidney disease. Family and friends are a shield of support.  Power ups to my entire armor strengthen me.  I put this armor on to fight kidney disease every day.

Mental Challenges, Staying Positive Helmet

The helmet I wear helps with mental challenges end stage renal disease brings.  ‘I dialyze to live; I don’t live to dialyze’ is my mantra after twenty years of dialysis.  Things that make me happy have become a priority. I throw prayers to the universe. Getting out of the house with family and friends helps when the same four walls close in. Sometimes taking life one second, one minute, one hour at a time is all I can do to fight. 

Learn and Share about Kidney Disease and Dialysis

The armor that protects my body is made up of the things I do to learn and share about renal disease and dialysis. My knowledge comes from research, reading, and talking to people. I enter the RSNhope.org essay contest every year. My blog http://lifeonthelist.com is about being a permanent dialysis patient. I visit websites and Facebook groups to talk about patient experiences. I am an administrator for Ihatedialysis.com. I became a ‘subject matter expert’ this year in my dialysis center working with ESRD Network #18 to disseminate information to patients. 

My Medical Team is my sword

I use my medical team as a sword in the battle against end-stage kidney disease and dialysis.  I attend every dialysis treatment scheduled. I stay for the hours I am on the machine. I tell the center doctor about any problems concerning dialysis. We work together to solve problems. I go to my medical appointments outside the center. There are six doctors on my team. I try to see each one at least every six months. I take my medication as prescribed and pay attention to the side effects.

My family and friends as a shield

The shield I use to protect myself in battle is my family supporting me.  My sisters help whenever I call for a ride to dialysis. My family comes to sit with me when I am in the hospital. I get hospital psychosis sometimes and their visits help me to stay grounded. They bring meals to my house when I am ill. We celebrate holidays by sharing the cooking and cleanup. We take trips that get me out of the house.  They allow me to lean into their strength.

Love is a power-up for me to use.

My husband is my strengthening power, ‘a power-up’, to my armor. He is the biggest and best support in my life.  My husband chauffeurs me around to run errands.  He takes me to dialysis and arranges the nest in my chair at the center before I sit in it.  He helps me believe I am beautiful even on my ugliest days.  He puts up with my mood swings.   When I need someone, he is always there.  This man is the love of my life.

My advice is to put on the armor you use to fight kidney disease every day. Have ideas and plans that help with your disease. Communicate with other people on dialysis to share stories and get information.  Go to your dialysis and doctor appointments. Gather a support network of family and friends.

Put on your armor each day
Be a Kidney Disease Warrior

Armor on! Ready! Set! Fight to Live!  Dialyze to live, don’t live to dialyze!

How Positive Thinking Can Improve Your Life

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty kind of thinker? The answer you choose can make a difference in the quality and length of your life.

Seeing the glass as half-full means you tend to have a more positive outlook, and positive thinking can enable you to live a better life than average. That’s because a sunny outlook can improve your life in many small ways.

For example, being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and knowing that a difficult period will eventually end can help get you through a rough day, week or year.

Here are some other ways positive thinking can improve your life.

Positive thinking can bring you to see the end of the tunnel you might be in.

It Can Reduce Stress

When you’re in a stressful situation, your gut reaction can be one of either optimism or pessimism. By definition, if you’re optimistic, you have hope and confidence about the successful outcome of the situation, whereas if you’re pessimistic, you have a tendency to believe that the worst will happen.

Worrying is a form of negative thinking. That kind of thinking and lack of hope can lead to unnecessary stress. And the more you worry, the more stress you place on yourself. Switching your attitude and eliminating negative thoughts can keep stress at bay. If you can feel confident that things will be fine and if you can feel more positive about a situation, then you will feel less stress.

“If there is no solution to the problem then don’t waste time worrying about it. If there is a solution to the problem, then don’t waste time worrying about it.” – Dalai Lama

It Can Decrease Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression

Similarly, positive thinking can lower signs of anxiety and depression. When you feel anxious, you feel worried, nervous, or uneasy and when you feel depressed, you have feelings of dejection, sadness, or despondency.

Turning off the negative thoughts going through your head and replacing them with positive talk can leave you feeling safe and less worried.

“Don’t worry, be happy.” – Bobby McFerrin

It Can Boost Your Immune System

Thinking positively not only offers you a mental boost it also gives you physical benefits as well. Researchers have shown that happiness can boost your immune system.

If you’re in a stressful situation, thinking optimistically can boost the cell-mediated immune response in your body, whereas thinking pessimistically can weaken your immune system.

“The most powerful force to maintaining a good immune system is the power of positive thinking and not allowing yourself to be unnecessarily drained emotionally by worries and fears.” – Frederick Lenz

Go up and Never Stop!

It Can Prolong Your Life

Negative emotions are natural, but if prolonged, your risk for developing disease can increase.

Looking at the effects of negative thoughts on your immune system again, you can see that a weakened immune system can raise your susceptibility to contracting an infection which can lead to illness.

 Also, a study in the Women’s Health Initiative showed a link between optimism and health. Optimistic people tend to engage in positive health behaviors such as staying active, avoiding smoking and following their medical advice. Living this way can lead to a lower mortality rate.

“I have decided to be happy because it’s good for my health.” – Voltaire

It Can Attract Other Positive Thinkers

No one wants to be around a Debbie Downer for too long. If you’re typically a happy and optimistic person, others with a similar disposition can find that attractive.

And keeping Negative Nellies out of your life can help prevent others from bringing you down.

“Like a magnet, we draw in what we constantly think about. If you’re always thinking positive, happy, joyful thoughts, you’re going to be a positive, happy, joyful person, and you will attract other happy, upbeat, positive people.” – Unknown

Final Positive Thoughts

Now that you know some of the ways positive thinking can improve your life, do you see the glass as half-full or half-empty? Or at least how changing the way you see things could benefit you in multiple ways? Let me know in the comments.

Everything is going to be alright!

What is one thing you could do to change your way of think to a more positive one?  Can you commit to do it for a week? 

I am positive you will enjoy my monthly newsletters. 

Sign up at https://katherineesoto-author.com

References:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/positive-thinking/art-20043950

2. https://www.livescience.com/8158-optimism-boosts-immune-system.html

3. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/the-power-of-positive-thinking

Christmas Thoughts

The packages have been ripped open. Under the tree sits the cat enjoying the sunshine, or else looking at the rain we presently have with a very dirty look. The tree looks a little lonely without its pile of presents under it. Christmas Day was fun filled for us. We have our older daughter, her husband, and our granddaughter, who is 3 and a half, over for Christmas lunch on Saturday.

Our Christmas happened early over the weekend before Christmas Day. We had lunch here at our house, along with the ritual present giving. Marilyn and Mom were here, too. Marilyn is a best friend of ours. She is adopted family. Mom is my mother. Our get togethers are always busy and fun.

I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted at the Christmas parties I attended. I am happy to note I continue to lose weight over this holiday season. I am watchful about what I eat. At the two parties I ate what I wanted and was perfectly happy to have one plate. I enjoyed dessert but it was not a pleading necessity in my brain. At the Christmas party we attended on Sunday I had one plate of food and went back for one bite of the delicious cheese they had. Then it did not matter. I was satisfied with what I had to eat. This is way different then other years. Other years I would surf the food table regularly eating the entire time I was at the party. What a relief to not have the worry of food in the back of my mind at a party. Now to collect myself before Tuesday my birthday celebration.

The new year looks bright to me. My book editor sent me the creative editing idea. I am editing and rewriting piece s of it now. I have added a new character into it to add some suspense into it. She is Grey’s counter part and protector. I have to tell her back story, too. It should make for an interesting story.

Have a happy week before New Year’s. Saying goodbye to 2019 is bittersweet. I learned a lot this year and my creativity has been off the charts. I will post some pictures of my art on this post.

Renee Fisher and Co Interview

I was interviewed by Renee Fisher on her Facebook site and Zoom about writing with a Chronic Illness on Thursday, October 24, 2019. It was great interview and we reached many people.

From Renee Fisher and CO

From Renee FIsher and Co. Renee said: I wanted to thank Katherine Soto once again for talking about Writing with Chronic Illness yesterday with us! My favorite quote from the call was “I’m going to do something worthwhile.” Like Katherine said, “Every day we can make the choice to get out of bed and write one word. One sentence. One page. One…”Today, if all you have the energy or strength to do is get out of bed—you’re not alone! May this be a community where y’all feel welcome no matter what you’re struggling with.Leave a comment and let us know how we can be praying for one another!— with Katherine Soto.

From me: I wanted to say thank you to everyone who attended and watched the replay. Thanks Renee for an informative and interesting interview. You can get a hold of me through Facebook.  Other links I mentioned were ihatedialysis.com –
facebook and forums, nadiacolburm.com for meditative writing. Remember you are the work in progress not your chronic illness.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing this interview.

Traveling on While on Dialysis

I have a few travel plans on my bucket list. For those of you who have no idea what a bucket list is, it is a list of things you want to accomplish or do before you end up as Stardust in the Universe once again. I have a list I keep in my head of places want to go. It takes time and effort to travel while I am a dialysis patient?

Where do I want to go?

Washington D.C. is a big one on my list. I love the history of our nation so the monuments and Smithsonian Museums would be outrageously fun to visit. I could get my history geek on at the monuments and historical sites. Then the science buff and more history interest, plus the artistic side of me would come out in the museums.

The place I have wanted to since fourth grade is the continent/country of Australia. In spite of the flat world people declaring Australia a hoax recently, I still want to go visit it. Steve Irwin’s Zoo, Urulu Rock, a real live operating sheep station, the Sydney opera house, the great barrier reef, and the outback are a few of the things I want to see. I love the idea of Australia. I headed tomorrow to see the outback area at the San Diego Safari Park- a new part of the park. I have to save a lot of money to do this trip.

How do I travel while on dialysis?

I have to make plans early and share them with the travel coordinators in my center and the company. I tell the travel coordinator where I plan to go and my dates and answer all of their questions about my dialysis. I also tell them I am easy about scheduling unless I have planned something for a certain date. Usually my vacations are loosely tied around the dialysis days and times so I need to know those to make plans. Usually they do not tell me my days so I loosely plan things around the days I asked for. Usually there are small problems, like not getting the information to me at the center level. I call the travel planners at the company level frequently to make sure my request has been seen.

So you have been on dialysis for twenty years, prove you’ve traveled.

I have traveled and what I mean by traveled a week or more to these various place: Oceanside, CA twice, Pismo Beach,CA once, Palm Springs,CA 3 times, Indio,CA once, Clearlake, CA once, Windsor, CA once, San Diego, CA three times, Bellevue, WA once, Tucson, AZ twice, Milwaukee,WI, twice, Oklahoma City, OK three times, Williamsburg, VA once, Lake Tahoe, NV twice, Las Vegas, NV, three times, Hawaii twice and other places I cannot think of right this minute. I have had dialysis treatments in everyone of these places. I find dialysis centers are the same for the most part. Safety precautions are the same. Some techs listen when you explain your preferences, some don’t. Nurses will give meds as needed.

Advice for those traveling while on dialysis?

Your prescription needs to be accurate coming from your home center. Bring what you need to survive a dialysis treatment-your nesting materials. Make your plans early and get them in at least a month or month and a half to your center and to the dialysis company travel people. Have firm dates for your travel. Be flexible in your dialysis schedule while traveling. Tell the new place what your needs are nicely.

Go and have fun!

Remember Dialyze to Live, Don’t Live to Dialyze!

Art Journal -Faces

4/27/2019

I am making an art journal this weekend and thought I would take you all through my process as I create it.  I have discovered that if I am creative in an art journal at least once a week I feel better inside my own head.

This piece I started by taping two pieces of art paper together to make them into a larger piece.  I used two pieces of yellow colored paper as my base.

Then I took my acrylic paints and put dots all over the pages in all sort of colors.

I pressed the pages together to make a paint collage all over both pages.  I took a plastic card and dragged it on the outside of the pages to help set the paint together.

I have a conglomeration of different colored paint on both pages.  Check the pictures out.

one of the painted pages.

Next I need to pick a topic for this art journal page.

I used a black marker to make faces out of the paint on my paper today.  They are big ugly faces looking to the side of the pages.  I colored in the eye pupil black.

I added black and white tape to the edges.

It has turned into an abstract piece named Faces.

Faces