Dialysis days with my sister

**To some, this may sound repetitive, some of it is…..

My younger sister was told in March 2012 that she was in end-stage heart failure and end-stage kidney failure. Her doctor talked to her about a machine that would help her heart pump (LVAD–I think was what she was referring to?). He also told her she would need a heart/kidney transplant, and the LVAD would buy her some time. A double transplantation of heart/kidney isn’t performed many places, but I did my obsessive Google research and was ready to take her off to where she needed to go.

With tears welling in my eyes, I talked to my doctor about donating one of my kidneys, but at the time it was less than a year after my cancer diagnosis/surgery–wouldn’t you know–a person who has had cancer can’t be a donor unless they have been 5-years cancer free.

After her doctor gave her — and us — much hope, it all came down to the fact that her health was too poor and she wouldn’t be considered a candidate for the LVAD or for the heart/kidney transplant. She couldn’t even make it on the kidney transplant list because her heart wouldn’t have survived the surgery. Her doctor told her it was just a matter of time.

She died in March 2013.

During that year, we talked a lot about life. We talked about her mental state and what it was like to know that her days were limited. I was so fortunate to spend time with her during her dialysis appointments (4 times a week for 4+ hours each time) during a visit to the Seattle area. You know, she was working full-time as well. She was going to go to work the day she died, but she didn’t wake up.

Her words, it is what it is, will always stay with me whether I recall them when I need them or not.

My youngest sister has lived with Multiple Sclerosis for over 30 years. She is in constant pain, but she lives in spite of her disease. She can’t control her progressive disease, therefore—it is what it is.

Chronic anxiety and depression is something I have been fighting against. For me, there isn’t a cure—just management. I will have bad spells and I have to tell myself it is what it is instead of being mad at myself for being depressed again. I have to ride it out the best way I know how, which is usually through humor. Dr. Chill is one smart cookie and has given me the tools and the insight I need to endure.

it is what it is

 

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About April

I'll come back to this when I find out who I really am. I've been through some extremely rough patches but they have made me a better person. I blog if my brain is functioning first thing in the morning.
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24 Responses to Dialysis days with my sister

  1. Bugsmetwo says:

    My husband has a mug I have him recently that says “It is what it is” because those are his words to live by always.

  2. I’m so sorry about your sister. I have to remind myself that often — it is what it is. I actually had a mug with those words on it. It was my favorite but sadly it got knocked off the table a few weeks ago and shattered. Oh well…it is what it is. March is hard at least for me with depression. It seems like it’s at the very worst this time of year. I am ready for sunshine and warmer days!

  3. aviets says:

    Thank you for sharing all this again. You really struck my heart today. I hate that you’ve had so much pain to deal with, but I’m so thankful for your wise perspective and your winning attitude. You are an inspiration, friend.

    • April says:

      I hate repeating, but apparently I need reminders. All that pain? It has only made me stronger–even if I do have bouts of what I perceive as a weakness–depression.

      • aviets says:

        I get that. I have often thought that even though I hate a lot of the stuff I’ve had to deal with in my life, I can be thankful for it too. It made me stronger, and it also gave me TONS of empathy for others. I can so easily see how some of the crap I’ve had thrown at me could have turned my life into a complete disaster.

        • April says:

          Great learning experiences—some just don’t need to be so difficult to learn from. I’m not stupid or anything. 😀

  4. mewhoami says:

    It is what it is – a statement that a good friend taught me. Sometimes that’s exactly how we must look at things. I am so sorry for the loss of you sister. Time does make coping easier, but it certainly doesn’t take away the pain. I lost my step-father in March 2013 as well. I’m glad that your sisters have both taught you to do and the live the best you can with what you have. No matter what, we always have things in life to be grateful for.

    • April says:

      We do–and I’m also sorry for your loss. My sisters have been great examples that I haven’t been paying attention to.

  5. Elouise says:

    Heavy stuff, no matter how you look at it. I think writing about it as often as needed is a great way to stay connected and grateful for what we’ve learned from those we love. Thanks, April!
    Elouise

  6. Gallivanta says:

    Brave, brave sisters, all of you.

  7. Glynis Jolly says:

    It’s so difficult to take life as it is. We’re told that we can make so much of our lives, that we can reach our dreams. When it come down to it though, life is going to be both good and bad, and we really don’t have any control over it at all. All we can do is have control over our reaction to it. My saying (not original by any means): such is life. ❤

  8. I appreciate what you and your sisters are April. The “It Is What It Is Sisters” seem to have taken on quite a bit and handled it deftly.

  9. It is what it is… Thank you Ms April for this reminder.

    • April says:

      Finding ways to accept what our struggles are may just make life a little easier. That’s what I’m working toward.

  10. I’m happy that you have this good doctor April.
    You do carry some luggage as you need to work with, even it is painful. Your sister was very lucky to have you.

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