One of the things that constantly goes through my mind now that I’ve been dealing with this disease for, goodness, 18 years now is I always say to myself I wish I could go back. If I could go back to the day that I was diagnosed, what would I do differently? One of them is I would absolutely change my mindset. I know I was an 18-year-old kid and that can be a difficult thing to do. But I wish I would have taken it more seriously. And by taking it more seriously, I mean I would’ve really educated myself on the disease so I understood. I would’ve made sure I ate what I was supposed to. I would’ve made sure I drank enough water. And I would’ve made sure I took care of my mental health with it better, because it was one of those things where I didn't really have anybody to talk to about it and that led to a lot of frustration and that led to a lot of me closing off a lot of relationships that I have. So, I would’ve not been afraid to talk to somebody about that. And I think that changing my mindset would’ve perhaps slowed the progression of when I needed dialysis and ultimately when I needed a transplant.
Looking back at my journey and realizing how much time I spent being so negative with myself, I really have the ability to look back now, and if there’s one thing that I have learned about who I am as a person through all this is that I'm very strong and I'm a fighter because I never looked at myself like that. I saw myself as invaluable or weak. For the first time I look at myself in the mirror and I say, God, you’re strong. Like you did that. Don’t let anybody tell you you didn’t. Don’t let anybody tell you that you failed. Don't let anybody tell you it wasn’t a big deal, because it was. And you should say you’re proud of yourself. And I do.
Want more? Get new stories straight to your inbox.