Worry Some – Hope More

Did I do something wrong that increased my creatinine? Why is ‘that’ number elevated on my blood work results and my doctor can’t find a cause? When the time comes, will I have a kidney donor?

When living with polycystic kidney disease, there is a lot that we can choose to worry about. Worry puts extra stress on our body. It prevents us from enjoying the moments where our thoughts drift away and begin playing the ‘what if’ game. It is important to find balance where we worry enough to be aware about things in life but not let it consume us.

“Focus on the fight not the fright.”
-Robin Roberts

When my mom was in her late 20’s, she visited a psychologist after her mom passed away from PKD. My mother was just 25 years old. After watching her mother endure so much from PKD, my mom was petrified after being diagnosed with the disease. She feared what her mom endured would happen to her right away. My mom’s psychologist gave the following advice, “Imagine looking out at mountains in the far distance. They represent the time in your life that you will not have health issues from PKD. When you become overwhelmed with fear and anxiety, focus on those mountains which are far away. You are walking toward those mountains. Focus on now, today. It will take years and years for you to get to those mountains. You have all of this life to live until you get to those peaks way out there and have to face PKD. Think of all of that life you have to live until you reach those mountains.” My mom is 58 years old and has not had any major issues with PKD. We are all so grateful. Her psychologist’s analogy was to give her hope.

There is a scientific explanation for hope. In the 1950’s Curt Richter, who graduated from Harvard University and went on to be a professor at Johns Hopkins University, performed a series of experiments that could be called ‘The Hope Experiments.’ This project consisted of two groups of rats. He placed one group in high-sided buckets of circulating water. He had them swim until they started to sink. The average rat swam for 15 minutes before they began to sink. He then placed the second group in similar buckets and had them swim. When they started to sink, he saved the rats, dried them off, let them rest and put them back in the buckets to see how long they could swim the second time around. They then swam for 60 hours; 240 times longer than the first group of rats. Why? They were given hope. The rats had the vision of what being saved was like and kept swimming towards it. They were given energy through hope.


You may find yourself living in fear and wondering when ‘it’ will happen. Wondering why you are being tested again. Why you are unwillingly putting your loved ones through stress. No matter what worry is on your mind, what you may fear, never underestimate the power of hope.

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, “I will try again tomorrow.” -Mary Anne Radmacher

How do you cope with worry and what gives you hope?


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