Stephen’s Story

Hi my name is Stephen and I am the new Administrative Assistant at DPC. I have a very personal connection to kidney patients as my father was on dialysis for many years. With this blog, I want to share my personal experience in the hopes that you will in turn share yours! I will also try to answer frequently asked questions when I receive several on the same topic.

This month, I want to talk about staying active. I understand the tendency for kidney patients to feel discouraged when it comes to staying active. I might feel exhausted after work, but I know my post-work stupor pales in comparison to the overwhelming exhaustion you all feel after a particularly rough dialysis treatment. However, the mental obstacles to staying active are really the same for all of us, kidney patient or not.

It’s important to come to terms with what we’re really willing to do. If you’re too tired after dialysis to go and exercise vigorously, don’t feel obligated to do so. Get started by doing what you can such as going for a walk on your day off. You can work up to a jog if you want to, but never let the prospect of jogging become so much of a disincentive that you don’t end up exercising at all.

My father was a realist when it came to exercise. He was in and out of the hospital frequently when I was growing up. Aside from ESRD, he had other complicated autoimmune problems. When he would come home after particularly lengthy stays in the hospital, he was very weak. On top of that, he still needed to dialyze three times a week. As you can imagine, getting out of the house and exercising was incredibly daunting for him. For weeks after his first extended stay in the hospital, he talked about going to the gym and getting strong again, but the difficulties associated with getting to and from the gym at the time were enough of a deterrent to keep him sedentary.

He realized that getting all of his strength back at once wasn’t realistic for him. Instead, we would go on short family walks on his non-dialysis days, even if they were just to the end of our long driveway. After he gained enough strength doing this, we would eventually go a couple miles.

Aside from the benefits associated with his renewed strength, my father also found that these little bouts of physical activity had added benefits for his dialysis treatments. Namely, he could shed off a little liquid through sweat so he wouldn’t have to take as much off during dialysis.

You and I have both felt just like my father at some point. We all know that we should be getting a little physical activity during the week, but it’s easy to set our goals too high and discourage ourselves before we even get started. But after gaining realistic expectations of what we’re willing to do and taking that first step towards becoming active, it becomes much easier to take the next step after that. I hope to hear about all of your exercise stories so please comment below.

My friends and I trekking around Alexandria, seeing the sis and burning calories

Comments

  1. Good point, Stephen! I needed this! Tomorrow, on my “day off” I will start! TY for the push.

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