Monday, June 11, 2012


I attended a class today called "Taking Control of Kidney Disease." It was offered by Davita and led by a nurse and a registered dietician at a Detroit-area hospital. When I registered, I was told that there are typically 5 to 15 people per session, and that family members were welcome.

As excited as I was to take the class, I was worried what I would find when I walked in the door. I was afraid that I would be the only one there alone. Seems like I've used the word "alone" a lot lately. I know I have a big support circle, and a close family, and tons of great friends. So I'm not sure why I keep thinking that I'm in this alone. Yet I pictured a room full of people with CKD flanked by their loving families and me -- off in a corner -- fending for myself. (Am I dramatic, or what?)

I was wrong, as usual. There were only two people in the class -- me and a woman who was about 25 years older than me. I have a nephrologist at U-M. She has a family doctor who isn't answering her questions and is reluctant to refer her to a specialist.

The material was solid: ways of coping with CKD, understanding lab results, dietary guidelines, questions to ask your health care team. Stuff like that. They gave us a nice health diary where we can keep a record of our journey with CKD. The dietician reviewed my most recent lab work and offered feedback on my situation from a nutritional standpoint. And I learned about some new websites, like KidneySmart, that can help me learn to live with this disease.

My fears were silly. The class didn't expose me as being alone. Instead, the class showed me that I am VERY on top of my health care. I am in control. I have an incredibly smart nephrologist who is closely monitoring my health. I have some challenges, sure, but I've also done a lot to educate myself about CKD.

I'm so glad I went to the class. It wasn't earth-shattering information, but it was validating. And who doesn't enjoy a little validation?


  1. YOU GO GIRL!! I am so proud of you for taking control of your situation (as much as possible) and getting reassurance that you are getting good medical care. The other patient is really floundering unnecessarily, what a shame. Keep up being a strong advocate for yourself!! xoxoxo

  2. Good for you Darcy! It always feels good to know you are doing the best you can do for yourself. Keep it up my friend!