I Will Survive – Honorable Mention, 8th Annual Essay Contest

By Terri Waddell

I will survive

I love music. Music has always been an important part of my life.   It has helped me to deal with all of the situations that have occurred in my life, both good and bad. So it just seemed natural that I would again turn to music to deal with one of the most difficult situations that I have ever had to deal with during my life; kidney disease and dialysis. When I was pregnant with my third child I started having problems with my kidneys. By the time my daughter reached two years old, I had end stage renal disease and was starting dialysis. The music that I listened to has taught me many lessons when it comes to dealing with dialysis. However, there are four songs that I feel have taught me the most important lessons in regards to dealing with chronic kidney disease and dialysis.

The first and most important lesson that I learned is that I Will Survive. This is a song by Gloria Gaynor. I know that in the song that she is talking about a man, but so many of the words paralleled exactly what I was feeling at the time. The song starts out saying “at first I was afraid, I was petrified”, which was exactly how I felt. I was so scared that I would not live to see my three children grow up. I was afraid that my whole life would change. There is another part of the song that says “it took all the strength I had not to fall apart”, and it also says ” I used to cry, but now I hold my head up high”. Those words definitely described me when I first found out that I had kidney disease. I was just trying to deal with things and not fall apart. I did cry all of the time, but I now know that I can deal with this kidney disease I hold my head up high. The most important lesson that I learned from this song is that I will survive. As long as I continue to follow my doctor’s guidance and come to dialysis regularly I will survive and thrive.

The second lesson that I learned came from two songs; We Are Family by Sister Sledge, and I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends by the Beatles. I found out how important the support of my family and friends has been throughout this process. In the beginning I was sick and spent a lot of time in the hospital. My family would take my children and make sure that they were well cared for when I couldn’t take care of them myself. My friends would not only encourage me, but they would come over and help my children and I.   They were willing help do the things that I could not do at the time. I do not know what I would have done without the love and support that was shown to me by my family and friends.

The last lesson that I learned was the importance of my faith as I have gone through this journey. The song that reminds me of this is called Never Would Have Made It Without You, by Marvin Sapp. The song says “I made it through my storms and my tests because you were there to carry me through my mess”. I know that God has carried me through, and that without Him I would not have made it. I have seen all of my children graduate from high school, and now they are working on accomplishing their goals. I am so grateful that God has blessed me, and I know that it is Him who has kept me. Just like the words of the song I can say that “I’m stronger, I’m wiser, I’m better much, better. I made it. I don’t know what the future holds for me but right now I can say that I never would have made it as far as I did without God in my life.

So these are the lessons that I have learned through songs. They have helped me to deal with my kidney disease in a way that has been positive and uplifting. I am sure that I will have many more challenges throughout the rest of my life and there is one thing that I can be sure of; music will continue to help me through the challenges that I will face in my life.