Sunday, April 1, 2012

Learning to Share

Getting the news that you have a serious, potentially fatal illness – like Stage IV kidney failure, for instance – can be a senses-shattering event. I remember when I was hearing about my Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) diagnosis for the first time, there was a moment where the doctor's voice morphed into the teacher from the Charlie Brown cartoons: "Bwah-BWAH-bwah-BWAH-bwah-BWAH."

The initial reaction for most of us, I believe, is to want to internalize and hold all the scary details inside. Still, once you come to grips with the reality of your situation, you've got to tell somebody about it. For comfort, for advice, for the illusion of control – if nothing else, so that someone will know what's happening to you and where to look should you drop off the grid for a few days.

Despite what you read in this blog, I find it hard to talk about myself and my illness. Maybe you would, too. Recently I was asked by the "Live Now: Rethink Kidney Disease" website, for which I am proud to serve as contributing editor, to write a piece offering suggestions on how to share the facts about your CKD with others. I'm guessing some of the advice could translate to any other disease, or simply to bad news in general.

I would reprint the piece here in its entirety, but then you probably wouldn't visit the "Live Now" site and they would stop paying me. Hey, Mama didn't raise no fool!

So here is the link to the article, and I hope you find something of value in it. I even interviewed other people for their insights, so it's not only me babbling. The piece is called, appropriately, "Telling Others About Your Chronic Kidney Disease".