Confronting the demon within

Five years ago this month, I was hospitalized with congestive heart failure. In the end, it wasn’t a bad diet or poor attention to my health that did me in, but a build up of fluids that my heart just couldn’t keep up with.

Since then, I’ve (slowly) improved. My blood pressure is now a well managed statistic. My diet has improved, shedding bad foods as much as possible over the years. If I had to pinpoint one thing I failed to do consistently in the last five years, it would be being as active as I should be.

The move out to California has helped with that. The folks that cringe at the thought of sitting next to the fat guy on the BART, with their snide hateful stares, don’t understand that since moving here in July, I’ve lost over thirty pounds. I can feel it in my clothes, I can see it in my face.

Sadly, I can’t feel it in my step. Over the last five years, with as many improvements and changes my wife and I have made to our lives, one symptom  remains. I continue to have fluid build up in my body.

Most days, it isn’t that bad. Some days, though, it’s difficult to walk for the severity of the swelling. Lately, I have had a few more of those days than not.

Why am I sharing this? I, who does not share the intimates of real life? Because in a few weeks, I will be seeing a kidney specialist. I finally have a label for the box that the monster lives in, and rather than scare me, it gives me strength. I have a name for the beast, I know how wide and deep it is, what it’s breadth is. They say if you know the real name of a demon, you have dominion over it. I now know the name of this demon.

For now at least, the name it has been given is Stage One Kidney Disease. Some more tweaks to diet, more activity, and a bit of effort, and this is a beast that can be tamed. The kidney specialist will have more to say, of course, including whether he concurs with the diagnosis. What I’ve read so far (thanks to Dr. Google), the initial diagnosis not only seems right, but has been staring me in the face for a long, long time.

Thanks for reading. Now to get back to work. I have novels to edit, stories to write, not to mention a real life filled with work and kids and wife.