Living My Life on My Terms, Honorable Mention, 20th Annual Essay Contest

by Rolanda John

Living with chronic kidney disease has been really challenging, but since I have been doing it for so long it has just become second nature. I have been living with the disease for almost 15 years. I was diagnosed when I was 6 years old. I did receive a transplant when I was 12 but it failed four years later, so I had to go back on dialysis.  

When I was younger, I did not mind having to go to dialysis because I knew it was something I had to do. But as I got older, it really bothered me because I could not do the things that my friends could do. I became depressed when I was in high school due to the fact that I could not really participate in a lot of the activities that my peers were doing. One major example was that every year my high school would take students to the Six Flags amusement park for a “fright fest.” I was never able to go because something always came up that made me unable to go. I remember one year I was so excited because I could finally go on a trip but then I got sick, and I was not able to go. So, at that time I was very discouraged because every time there was something that I wanted to do my kidney problems would get in the way of me doing it.  

Since I am older, I try to schedule things around my dialysis, and try not to be too discouraged because these things are not in my control. I have learned that life is too short to let something like dialysis control your life. That is why I schedule my treatments in the morning so that I can have the rest of the day to myself. I like it that way because in high school I had my treatments after school and that was more convenient for me then. Now that I am older, I like it in the morning. Another way that I try to lighten up my situation is that I go on short trips with my friends and family. For example, my dad and I went to Kalahari a couple of weeks ago. It was fun! I still had to be mindful of my catheter and make sure not to get it too wet. If I did get it wet, I had extra supplies to make sure that it remained dry to avoid an infection. I have learned not to let dialysis or my kidney problems affect me anymore because I know that there are people out there who have it worse than I do. I cannot complain too much. I just try to live my life and have as much fun as possible, and be as safe as possible.  

It is funny how this essay is named surviving tough times, but I have been surviving all my life. 

I have been dealing with a kidney failure all my life I’ve just gotten better at dealing with it. It took a lot of learning, but I think I got the hang of it now.




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