I was reading an article by ESPN.com columnist Scoop Jackson and was struck by his lede:
"Journeys. If we are honest with ourselves, we know that they never
really begin where we think they begin and they hardly ever end when we
think it's the end."
Jackson was writing about "Benji," a compelling 30 for 30 documentary on
the life of Chicago basketball star Ben Wilson. (I highly recommend both the article and the documentary, by the way.) Jackson's sentiment about journeys had me nodding up and down in complete agreement. We really don't know where our journeys begin, and we rarely know or recognize when/if they're complete.
I often think about my journey with kidney disease. When did it begin? Was it the day my primary care doctor first flagged the blood in my urine? At the time, kidney disease wasn't suspected, since I didn't have any protein loss.
So was it a few months later, when the protein loss appeared?
IgA nephropathy can be familial. Was I born with this?
Here's another theory: The antibody IgA (Immunoglobulin A) is found in the body's mucous membranes (respiratory passages, gastrointestinal tract, saliva, tears). It is thought that the body may produce too much IgA when fighting off an infection. IgA nephropathy sometimes appears after a major illness. Did my journey start in 1997, when I had a serious infection that left me hospitalized for eight days? Did that trigger my disease?
Or did my journey start the day I finally admitted I had kidney disease, stopped feeling sorry for myself, and started being an advocate? Was that the beginning?
All of this musing has led to an epiphany of sorts: IT DOESN'T MATTER. It doesn't matter what caused my disease. It doesn't matter how it ends. What is most important is the here and now. My journey is my journey. I don't have to figure out what it all means. I just have to trust. And live.