Cheers to Today

Worrying can be a natural part of a day for some people, whether they are completely healthy, living with kidney disease, or living on immunosuppressant medicine. From stressing about waking up on time, taking all of our medicine, tackling the to-do list, enduring dialysis, finishing a work project, waiting for the call that a transplant match has been found for you, or squeezing exercise into your hectic schedule. We all have different lifestyles, things that make us tic, different concerns. Some of us have every-day worries, while others have life-threatening anxieties.

These past couple weeks I have seen the worry on my parents’ faces that I saw growing up. We have triumphed over uncountable health hurdles together and it doesn’t take much to have those memories flood back into our minds. Sometimes giving us strength, while other times concern. With the complications I have had this year, it is easy to let our minds go on a tangent of skipping to the future and then wondering if things will be like the past struggles.

“Wear your tragedies as armor, not shackles.” -Anonymous

When living with PKD, a disease with no cure, there are very valid concerns. If we will follow the same family history as previous generations, if a kidney transplant is in the near future, if we passed the disease on to our children. I have taken a positive approach to dealing with these natural worries by obtaining as much knowledge of the disease, being aware of my body, aware of my health, seeing a nephrologist regularly and remaining determined to beat PKD.

“When odds seem against you keeping moving forward and remain focused. Focus is the key to your victory.” -Anonymous

Valen-tealight candles

There are some days where this is not any easy feat, but this week I was inspired, reminded how beautiful life is and the power of positive energy. My dear friend, Denise DelGrosso Gilliland, visited this week and shared a touching video. Her prayer group, “Tuesdays with Mary,” recently prayed for me. Denise lit tealight candles that were in the shape of ‘Valen’ and placed on a green and blue poster board in honor of Donate Life. I was overwhelmed with emotions as I watched the video capturing Denise saying a prayer for me along with the women in attendance expressing beautiful sentiments.

During that two-minute long video, my worries vanished. I was living in the moment. I felt at peace, yet very determined to get well and confident that I will. As scary as today, the future or unknowns in life may seem, it is natural to worry, but important to understand that all we have is this moment right here and now, which we should try and make the most of. The key lessons I have learned is to not dwell on my health issues or let worry consume me. Whether today consists of small or big worries, today is a new day – let’s treasure it!

“Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory.”
-Dr. Seuss

How do you cope with worry in your life?

10 Comments

  1. Jackie

    Thinking of you sister and sending you strength! You inspire me!

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Jackie/Sweet Sister,
      Your support and friendship means so much! Thank you!!! Big hugs to you and your family.

      Reply
  2. Kathy

    I trust that God will handle it. It’s the only way I find peace.

    Reply
  3. Gill

    I allow myself to worry for enough time to process the information, and see if there is an immediate solution. If it’s not something that can be fixed straight away then I focus on the here and now, and don’t let myself worry about the ‘what if’s’.

    As my Mum has always said, “Worry is a destructive emotion”.

    Get well soon Valen! Sending lots of love and prayers your way xx

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Gill,
      This is fantastic advice. Thank you for sharing and for your prayers and well wishes.

      Reply
  4. Maciej

    I try to focus on things that I feel or know that depend on me and my actions.

    Two big smiles for You!

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Maciej,
      Beautiful sentiments. Thank you very much for sharing your words of wisdom. Smiling big…thank you so much! 🙂

      Reply
  5. Emily

    Valen – I just started reading your blog. I think I’m around your age (31) and was diagnosed when I was 25. My GFR has just started to noticeably decline and I briefly went into panic mode. I waited weeks to tell my mom (a transplant recipient) about my health concerns. But through my commitment to have an open and transparent relationship with my mom where we tell each other about our health (and exercise together via Skype almost every day) I decided to tell her. Seeing her not worried was such a relief to me. I think dealing with worry is is really about empowerment through communication – and as we approach National Kidney Month I struggle with whether to talk about this disease via FB and potentially grossing people out/appearing to seek sympathy; however I also realize that without advocacy and awareness we will make no progress. Thanks for being loud and fearless on behalf of all of us. You inspire me.

    Reply
    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Emily,
      I appreciate you reaching out as I enjoy connecting with others my age. I am 31 too. I am sorry that your GFR is starting to decline. I am grateful to hear that you are so close to your mom and have that support system who completely understands what you are going through. I hope your mom is doing well with her transplant. Your comment ‘dealing with worry is really about empowerment through communication’ is such a wonderful way to look at things. Talking openly about what you are going through is such a personal choice. If it would gross someone out then they are not a true friend. Sharing my story and helping others has been a wonderful source of therapy for me and gives me purpose for all that I have endured. Thank you for your kind words. I will do my best to continue to be “loud and fearless.” 🙂 You take care of yourself and follow your heart when it comes to going through this PKD journey. I’m here if you ever need anything. If you are on Facebook, I am listed as Valen Cover Keefer if you want to ‘friend’ me. Wishing you all the best!

      Reply

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