Positivity, the “P” in my PKD! The power of positive thinking has no limits! Every morning when we wake up, we have the choice to be positive, happy, and grateful or to get up on the other side of the bed. It amazes me how our mood in the morning seems to lay the path for the rest of our day.

My husband Noah and me

Whether it is health issues or other challenges in life, we all have the choice of how we will handle and deal with things. With all that I have endured and will continue to the rest of my life, I have two options, either to be bitter or to embrace it. I only see one option and that is to embrace it. I have never been bitter or negative about the hand that has been dealt to me, because quite frankly there isn’t anything I can do about it. So instead of focusing on the negative, I chose the positive. I use what I have been through and the knowledge I have gained to educate and inspire others. It has a boomerang effect and inspires me immensely.

I credit why I am still alive today because of positive thinking. On some of my darkest days when I spent a year in the hospital, like when my family was told to come to my ICU room to say their goodbyes, I never mentally gave up. I never thought I was going to die. I firmly believe that if I would have mentally gave up, that my body would have followed suit.

I know it is not easy for everyone to be positive. We all have off days, as do I, but I believe with all of my heart that a positive frame of mind is more powerful than we give credit to. I try my best to surround myself with positive energy and hope this blog will encourage you to do the same.


What helps you to remain positive?


  1. Helen Weinberg

    Positive thinking is the best medicine. 20 years with a cadaver kidney and going strong. Just turned 62, got my teeth straightened (it took a year) and bought a bicycle. WOW. Yes, there were dark days, many of them, but underneath some deep sadness, I felt that there was going to be great days ahead. Just watching the birds, squirrels and flowers blooming in my garden is inspirational enough.


    Valen, you are such an inspiration to me! Thank you for sharing, it makes a difference in just reading it 🙂

  3. Ron Somerhalder

    Hi Valene,
    I just streamed your webinar hosted by the PKD Foundation last month. Indeed, all your learnings are “down to earth” reminders and very encouraging. Thank you for all your service to date and at such a young age!

    Your commented goal of being the oldest kidney transplant patient is a challenge. I am 67 and had my donor related transplant 21+ years ago. I hope you win but in the mean time I’ll give you “a run for your money”.

    It seems to me 3 important helpers are: 1. Maintain medication protocol to the “T” even after feeling good post transplant, 2. Moderate and good suppliments (ie. Vitamin C, CoQ10, fish oil, Vitamin D, comprehensive vitamin), 3. Regular doctor visits with self health responsibility.

    May you and your husband live a happy, safe and healthy life.

  4. Valen Keefer

    Wow, Helen, congratulations on 20 years! Hearing your story gives me hope that I have many more years ahead with my kidney. I share your same thoughts that the simple pleasures of watching birds, squirrels and flowers blooming makes me happy. We have so much beauty that surrounds us and I believe after going through so much, we have a greater appreciation for such things like flowers blooming. I wish you many many more healthy years and look forward to staying in touch through this blog and having all of us inspired by your success of 20 years and going strong.

  5. Valen Keefer

    Thank you for your constant support and amazing friendship Miss Trinity Walker! 🙂

  6. Valen Keefer

    Thank you for your kind words of support.
    Aww that is so fabulous…21 years! I love to meet people like yourself that are doing so well.
    Your 3 important helpers are so vital and thank you very much for sharing them with all of us. I hope you will continue to share advice with us all.
    I wish you all the best…here’s to many many many more healthy years. I look forward to hearing from you again.

  7. Christine

    Thanks Valen!
    It’s so wonderful to know that there are other people out there that can see the good, even when the worst is staring us in the face. Thanks for sharing…i’ll keep you in my happy thoughts!

  8. Angie

    I found out when I was 22 that I have PKD and like so many others I have several family members (on my fathers side) with PKD. Most of them don’t discuss it tho. Anyway when I first found out, I had a hard time dealing with it. As I began to not focus on my illness and redirect my thoughts towards work and things I wanted to accomplish, PKD didn’t occupy my thoughts as often. Now 23 years later I have lived a good life with ups and downs I am still striving to live life to the fullest. I am 23% function and will be going for Transplant testing soon. I have no intention of letting this slow me down, I have already discussed this with my boss and we have a plan for my absence and my RETURN. And Valen like you, I love the outdoors and hiking. Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. Elaine Ryan

    People like you keep hope alive!! Attitude is everything. After 20 years of knowing about my PKD I have learned to live with it! My new kidney is almost 13 years old and hanging in. At 62 I am now taking care of my 3rd grandchild. Some days I’m exhausted and a little worrisome, but I always bounce back. We have to learn to accept our human nature and live life to the fullest . I never said “Why me?” because I thought “Why not me?” everyone has to bear something in life. Thanks for listening.

  10. Valen Keefer

    Hi Christine,
    Thank you for your positive energy and support. PKD is not easy and I hope we can all help each other and that our support with strengthen each of us.

  11. Valen Keefer

    Hi Angie,
    I know many that don’t like to discuss their PKD, and that is why I try and use my voice as much as possible to gain awareness and provide hope.
    Keeping myself busy and redirecting my thoughts towards things I want to accomplish really helps me to not focus on my illness as well.
    I commend you for being proactive and planning ahead with your transplant. I look forward to hearing how your transplant testing goes. Good luck and keep that positive attitude going strong. 🙂

  12. Valen Keefer

    Thank you so much Elaine. Keeping hope alive is so important to me. Congratulations on 13 years with your gift of life. I love your positive outlook and agree that everyone has to bear something in life and the sooner we embrace our life the quicker we can enjoy our days. I wish you continued good health.

  13. Meredith Kernaghan

    Valen, I’m so very thankful for your blog! I was just diagnosed with PKD at 33 years old. My mother had it as well and since I lost her last year, I’m certainly wishing she was here with me in person for supper and love through both the lows and highs. But I’m lucky that I have a wonderful support system of friends helping me stay positive.
    Your willingness to share your experiences so openly and eloquently is such a service to the PKD community.

  14. Connie Moss

    Thanks goes out to everyone and the comments put forward on this page. I was just diagnosed this yr. I am 43 this year. Growing depressed. Because of your encouraging words. I feel a little better now. I was angry and “Why Me” feeling. Thank you. Please keep writing. 🙂

  15. Valen Keefer

    Dear Meredith,
    I am so thankful to have connected with you on my blog. I’m so sorry you lost your Mom last year, and am very thankful to hear that you have a wonderful support system to help you stay positive. That is so vital and I’m hoping this blog will be an additional support system for you to stay strong and positive on both the low and high days.
    Thank you for your encouraging words of support. I am so grateful to be alive and have the opportunity to share my story.

  16. Valen Keefer

    Connie, I am delighted to hear that the encouraging words on this blog have helped you to feel a little better. I hope we can help with you feeling angry and asking why me. We are all here to help and support each other as we are kindred spirits enduring the same thing every day. Sending lots of positive thoughts your way! Take care and keep smiling!

  17. adriana

    I continue to be in shock as I started reading your blogs from entry one (now that I discovered you via Christy Kapur WASH DC NATIONAL CHAPTER. I feel like I am reading my own mind, my own thoughts. I decided at age 20 that I would change the course of my future and PKD with health and positve thoughts. I am in my 40’s now and still in Stage 3. I do not know which part is luck or if my efforts help …I just know that I decided long ago I would have a better ending than my father did. I did survive a berry aneursym 10yrs ago in the brain and called it life changing in a positive way (what a way to deal with ‘vanity’…I never imagined I’d lose my hair or have tubes coming out of my head). I did lose my left hearing from the initial blow to my head while showering to go to work. That hasnt returned but small price to pay. I now understand you have been through SO MUCH so soon. It helps me to continue to be strong for what the future may bring. You are helping all of us in a major way. Thank you.

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Adriana,
      Thank you very much for your comment on here and on facebook. I saw your facebook friend request and when I went to confirm it, it would not let me. Then when I went to your facebook page it would now allow me to request you as a friend, so please try and friend me again. I am delighted to hear that you are enjoying my blog and hearing you say that I am helping in a major way helps give purpose to all that I have been through. I can’t imagine what you went through with the aneurysm and commend you for your strength and positive attitude. I hope you will continue to stay in touch. Keep that strength and positive spirit. Never lose hope!

  18. Vonnie

    I love your blog, I have started reading it having only found I have pkd in the last 4 days. It was found accidentally when I went for a scan for something else. I am 44 with no symptoms and having read your blog and the comments I know I am very lucky to not yet have symptoms. I also love the outdoors and will certainly be focusing on the positive as opposed to being down. I have had a few tears and they are now going to be packed away and I am going to enjoy my life. Will certainly be reading your blog more xxx

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Vonnie,
      Wow I am so thankful that you have found my blog so soon after being diagnosed. I am very happy to hear that you love my blog and am even more happy to hear that you are 44 with no symptoms. That is fabulous. And from one outdoor woman to another, I admire and commend your positive attitude for being so recently diagnosed. Life is so much better when we are in a positive frame of mind. Keep focusing on all of the good and living life to the fullest. So happy to know that you will be reading my blog more. I wish you all the best of health!


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