I suppose it’s human nature when diagnosed with a serious chronic illness to compare one’s self to others. Often I see posts in various renal support groups of patients stating that they feel family, friends, and work colleagues would be more understanding of their illness if they had cancer. Some even state ‘they wish they had cancer’ or other people state ‘at least you’ve not got cancer’. However, I recently had cause to reflect on these issues when sadly I received the news on News Years Day that a second cousin had passed away at the age of 47 years from a brain tumour. He has two young teenagers. The news came from his sister whom I keep in contact with. The news was even more sad because my cousin had already lost her parents when she was very young to cancer. Her dad when he was only 45 years old, Mum in her sixties, and her Uncle very young to cancer. To lose a younger brother must be devastating. Yes, renal disease has no cure, it can cause cardiovascular problems, bone problems, and nerve problems, to name but a few. It has life changing impacts, and it can be fatal if not treated. However, with good education from clinicians and other healthcare professionals to promote self management and patient compliance, in most cases it can be managed effectively. Most importantly we can be kept alive by dialysis or a successful transplant. I think also because there is very little awareness surrounding renal disease and kidney research, many people are not aware of the impact it has on an individual’s life, which can lead to sweeping statements about the disease to the affected person. This further impacts on that person who is already feeling like their world has caved in.
Any serious chronic disease is terrible, but I know that I’d rather remain in my shoes, and stick with the Devil I know.