I’ve learned a lot from living with PKD since the age of 10. PKD and the health issues I’ve endured have taught me all facets of strength, emotionally and physically. I believe what we go through in our youth has a large impact on our future. We learn and grow from experiences. At times when reflecting back on our childhood, we say, “I wish I would have known then what I know now.”
Looking back on living with health issues as a child, I would have told my younger self:
- Although epilepsy was your first health issue to come to light at five years old, it will not be your last, and that is okay because you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way.
- Even though you don’t have many friends to connect with now, you are going to have an amazing community and circle of support when you get older.
- PKD and your other health issues will not define you.
- Living with kidney disease will be your strength, not your weakness.
- Even though you can’t play sports now because of your enlarged polycystic kidneys, your drive, competitiveness and motivation for life will come in handy in the years to come. You are in training to become a medical athlete!
- There are so many others living with PKD. You are not alone.
- You are here for a reason. Trust in this, as it will unfold as you get older.
- Although you had surgery in 8th grade to correct your severe scoliosis, that issue will reappear later in life. It is okay because, like always, you will find a way to use this challenge to help others.
- You will be a part of a “transplant” miracle when you are 19 years old.
- You will always be rich in love
- Your life will be extraordinary-extraordinarily challenging and extraordinarily beautiful.
We are always evolving, learning and growing throughout each phase of our lives. I’ve learned a lot from childhood to adulthood, and I know that pattern will continue. We have the choice to grow from our challenges and I’m proud of the woman that my younger self grew into. I’m not sure that I wish I would have known then what I know now. I might have been scared knowing all that I was about to endure in life and I might have underestimated my strength. I’ve learned the importance of living in the moment, trusting that everything happens for a reason, never losing hope, and remaining positive. Know that we are strong enough to battle whatever comes our way and that everything will be ok. I unconsciously believed and lived by all of this as a child and consciously do the same as an adult.
What would you tell your younger self?