For more than a decade my identity included surviving cancer. I thought of myself as a Prostate Cancer Survivor.
For more than a decade, I’ve experienced multiple reminders, every day, that I’m living without a prostate so that means I’ve had a minimum of 7,300 reminders and that doesn’t include thoughts the cancer could return.
If you add those thoughts in, that means I’ve been reminded about life without a prostate and/or prostate cancer over 10,000 times in the last decade!
For five emotionally painful years I lived with the identity of an “Impotent Man”
I HATED that identity. I wanted my wife of thirty years to leave me so she could live with a “Real Man” that was fully functioning.
A Penile Implant took away my identity as an “Impotent Man.” I was overjoyed to shed that identity.
My journey with Chronic Kidney (CKD) Disease began when I was hospitalized with Sepsis.
I began with Stage 4 which is severe kidney damage.
Out of the hospital I did everything I could to regain kidney functioning. My efforts were fruitful. My GFR rose to Stage 3a-mild to moderate kidney disease. From my perspective life returned to normal. I thought my experience with CKD came to an end.
However a month later my GFR dropped by 16%. I went to Stage 3B which is moderate to severe kidney damage.
After my Nephrologist was informed of my current GFR, life was changed. I was told not to eat red meat. To avoid salty foods, and reduce sugar intake.
This meant saying goodbye to steak, hamburgers, fries, pizza, frankfurters, pastrami, deli meats, donuts, pancakes and syrup, all alcoholic beverages, and more.
Thankfully it didn’t mean saying goodbye to Splenda!!
Once I received these restrictions, I found myself craving everything I was told to avoid! To date, I haven’t given in.
Since it is now necessary for me to drink water all the time, and watch every that goes into my mouth, I rarely get a break from thinking about CKD.
With Prostate Cancer there was the fear of reoccurrence, which most PC patients (including myself) initially think about multiple times a day)
With CKD that’s the fear is that a falling GFR will result in total kidney failure leading to dialysis.
I think about kidney failure and dialysis A LOT. It involves three days a week, 4-5 hours a day in a treatment center. That’s NOT what I want for my life!
In my mind, I’ve assumed a new identity. My identity as a Prostate Cancer Survivor has taken a back seat to my new identity…A person living with CKD.
I’ve discovered the difference between identities that change with medical circumstances and an identity that NEVER changes.
As a Christian, my identity encompasses all the abundance of being a beloved child of God, and a citizen of Heaven.
That remains unchanging, which I now appreciate more than ever…an unchanging identity!!
Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote an award winning comprehensive guide to the physical, personal, spiritual, and relational issues, every man, and couple, will face before and after prostate surgery. The title of their book is:
After four years of coping with erectile dysfunction after double nerve sparing surgery, Rick & Brenda decided to share their experiences with devastating effects of erectile dysfunction; which led to a loss of self-esteem, and marital conflict.
They shared why they chose to seek professional help to save their marriage. They also provided a detailed account of how and why Rick went the penile implant route, and how that changed everything. This is a life changing book. Don’t take their word for it, read the Amazon reviews.