Overcoming Setbacks

There are things we can try to plan for in life, both as regular folks and as PKD patients. These can range from saving money to purchase a home, to preparing for dialysis and transplantation. Then there are moments that just happen; the times that are out of our control. We can plan all we want, but setbacks become a reality, like cyst bleeds and episodes of debilitating pain. Setbacks are difficult because they are unwanted, unexpected and difficult to prepare for.

Last week, I was sitting at my desk working on a project. I had my day planned with what I wanted to accomplish. Then, out of the blue, I had an aura that I was going to have a seizure. I instantly leaned back in my chair to brace myself in case the situation worsened. Fortunately, it did not. However, I endured the ramifications of this setback for the rest of the day.

My world instantly shrunk. Prior to this, I had the mindset that I could conquer just about anything. Once this setback occurred, everything on my to-do list vanished and I had laser focus on the incident. It scared me and the seizure aura caused my head to be completely foggy for the rest of the day. This may have been my body forcing me to have a day of rest.

Setbacks can force us to do things that we don’t want to. To deal with situations we would rather not. The important thing is how we bounce back from them. I listened to my body last week and rested for the day. However, I did not allow it to have a negative impact on the following day or week.

Pic to go with ending quote

Let’s learn from our setbacks, embrace them, endure them with grace and know that no matter how long they may last, we have the strength to overcome them.

“My body is the ultimate expression of myself. I train and learn more about it – more about me – daily.” -Marie-Agnes Gillot

What have you learned from your PKD setbacks and how have you overcome them?



  1. Vik

    Thanks for sharing and mentally preparing patients
    for setbacks that will happen.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Vik,

      You’re welcome! Thank you for reading my blog. 🙂 Hope your health is well. Take care.

  2. dominique

    thanks for sharing its good you know control for the most part by preventing most things from getting worse…i always wish you the best and may you have a carefree life to keep enjoying life to the fullest…hope you have meds to help with things like seizures from going into a grand mall…you are a great asset to us all…hugs to you and your family!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Dominique,

      It is always so nice to hear from you! I deeply appreciate your support, encouragement and friendship.
      I do take medicine to control my seizures, but breakthroughs can happen.
      As you know, when health hiccups arise, we must continue to fight and make the most of our days.
      I hope your health is well and you are doing great. Take good care and have a wonderful weekend. Hugs!

  3. Karin

    Hi Valen,
    I had a setback last week when I received my latest lab and test results. In the last year, my kidneys stayed steady in size for the first 6-months and grew during the other half of the year. I’m participating on a medical trial and there are up and downs. I took it really hard! I splurged on 3 Costco -size chocolate chip cookies to drown my sadness with a glass of dairy milk. These foods aren’t part of my daily diet for sometime now. I do love chocolate but avoid it due to the caffeine. The next day, I forced myself to put this obstacle behind me and to keep at it, pushing forward once again. I owe it to myself.
    Thank you for your honesty and hard work!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Karin,

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m very sorry you had this setback and how hard it was on you.
      Made me happy to learn you splurged and got something you love as a treat. You sure deserve it and treating ourselves every once in awhile is needed. I appreciate you sharing this. If we lived close, I would have eaten one of those big chocolate chip cookies with you and tried to cheer you up.
      So glad to hear that you quickly got yourself back on a positive path.
      Sending love!

  4. Karin

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words, Valen. You are so sweet!
    By the way, we live in Mission Viejo, California. So, if you are ever in the area just let me know. The cookies are on me!

    • Valen Keefer

      You are so welcome! 🙂
      Aww, that would be fun. I’m in northern CA, so if you’re ever close to Auburn, let me know and we will have a cookie date! 🙂 If you’re on Facebook, feel free to “friend” me – Valen Cover Keefer. Take care!


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