Wednesday, November 21, 2012

West, Meet East

I'll never forget the day my brother Rob channeled his inner Mike Rowe.

Now, these two men will never be confused. Rowe is the host of the Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs, a show that profiles laborers and some of the greasy, grimy, and sometimes disgusting jobs that are necessary in our economy. My brother has the personality to host his own TV show, but all of that mess and dirt? Not a chance.

Hint: This is not my brother.

One day, Rob was telling me what he would do if he lost his job. He listed job after job that he would happily take -- all "Dirty Jobs" worthy -- if it meant providing for his family. I vividly remember our conversation because A.) he's not Mike Rowe-ish and B.) he was so earnest. He meant every word.

Mostly, though, I remember the conversation because I couldn't relate. I couldn't comprehend the drive and motivation to provide for a family. To feel a sense of obligation to others. To be willing to try new things and let life take me down a different path.

I used to think that the reason I couldn't relate is because I didn't have kids, and if I did, well that would change everything. Those kids would be the reason I would push and push and not give up. Those kids would make me scratch and claw and fight like crazy.

Turns out I was wrong, again. Having kidney disease has made me realize that I do have someone to fight for: ME. Somewhere along the line I lost sight of that. The disease has motivated me and awakened a resilience that I didn't know I had.

I do have an obligation, and it's to myself. And I owe it to myself to do whatever is necessary to feel better. That's why I am now embracing alternative medicine. I started supplementing my traditional western medicine treatment plan with a more holistic approach and now see a doctor who uses acupressure and focuses on my body's energy channels. It sounds kooky, but it's working. I've had several treatments and have noticed an improvement in my overall health. I don't feel so tired (the brain fog has lifted), and my stomach issues have subsided. I already knew that my body responded well to acupuncture, so it's not that surprising that the acupressure is working.

My favorite thing about this treatment is that it's drug free and doesn't interfere with anything that my U-M doctors are doing for my kidneys.

It feels good to be able to take care of myself this way. I can't control what's going on with my kidneys, but I can step up and do whatever it takes to keep myself as healthy as possible. 


  1. Another wonderful post! You are such a great writer! I am glad you are finding some help with alternative medicine. Keep fighting, girl! xoxoxo

  2. Thanks! I'm getting very good results and am encouraged by how much better I'm feeling lately.