Friday, October 12, 2012

The ups and downs of blood pressure

For whatever reason, it wasn't until this past week that I started to really recognize that my blood pressure must be fluctuating all over the place each and every day. The main thing though is to make sure that my blood pressure don't start trending too high.

Having this kidney disease, my blood pressure is something that I have to be careful of on a daily basis, making sure that I don't allow myself to become too stressed or overly excited. After I recently did one of my online radio shows on Wednesday, I noticed that when I took my blood pressure that night that I was actually in the 140s when I typically am in the 110 or 120s. On Thursday night, I had to move a few things around and once again when I took my blood pressure at night before I got on my treatment, I was running at about 140. I did some breathing exercises and brought it down to 130 before I went to sleep.

An option for me to not have to watch my blood pressure at all would be to just use all of blood pressure medication (I have 3 types). The problem with that and the reason why I've brought myself down to taking just one medication daily is because the medication actually does damage to your kidneys over time. If I ever want to hold out for the hope my kidneys might improve, there is no way that I could continually take 3 medications multiple times each day. Sometimes when it comes to medication, you have to consider that.

Here I am talking about being in the 140s when I was in the 200s when I was first diagnosed. All I know is that I certainly don't want to be there again.

With us living in stressful times, where especially in American, we work ourselves to death, it might not be a bad investment to get yourself a blood pressure monitor and periodically check where you're at. 


Friday, October 5, 2012

A date with Cedars-Sinai


It's been months in the making but earlier this week I was able to confirm an appointment for December 3rd when my first evaluation to begin the kidney transplant process at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center will take place. With the ultimate goal being for me to get a kidney transplant (unless by a miracle from God, my kidneys recover), this is the news that I've been waiting for and I'm looking forward to starting this whole process that will hopefully have me end up on a Cedars-Sinai kidney transplant list and ultimately be able to receive a kidney transplant. I've heard from a number of people that Cedars-Sinai is one of the best when it comes to kidney transplants and I'm glad my health coverage allows me to visit them.

This week, I visited my primary care physician and updated him on all that has been going on lately. It's been a weird a few weeks. About 10 days ago, I got an infection at my exit site and I believe it was because I accidently laid on it. With my catheter, I can't ever lay down on my stomach, I can only do so on my side or on my back. So up until today, I have been taking antibiotics for it. The pain is gone and there is no more fluid coming out the exit site, so I think the infection has been dealt with. By the way, the antibiotics really do not have a nice smell at all.

The weather has been cooler yesterday and today but when the temperatures were over 100 degrees last week, it was really tough. I found myself drained just going outside to feed the dogs or refill their water. And while I feel good most of the time, those moments where I feel drained don't feel so good. I'm not one to complain about it but I did want to share with all of you that there are times when I feel really tired and I'll probably sleep for 3 hours in the middle of the day. Doesn't happen all the time or even most of the time but it happens. Just comes with the territory I guess. But I am so happy to be alive and to be able to do as much as I do that I can't complain about it.

This weekend, I'll be spending time with the family and working on both shows I'm doing on Blog Talk Radio. These shows and maintaining the websites that go along with them definitely keep me busy. I've got ideas for both shows that I will implement in the coming months. Looks like the cooler weather will continue so get out there and get some sunshine if you've been staying away because of the recent heat wave. I know I will. I need the Vitamin D!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Is it time for your check up?

With experience comes wisdom and while I was a person who held to the belief that you only should visit the doctor when you know that something is possibly wrong, after what I've went through, I want to pass on that if you haven't had a doctor visit in a while, you may be long overdue.

I totally get that for some of us, going to the doctor causes all sorts of discomfort because of the fear that something may be wrong. None of us wants to get bad news when we go to a hospital, eye doctor or dental office. But if something is wrong, how can it be remedied if you don't even know it's there? And if you do receive less than favorable news, visit another doctor (if you can) and see if the results are still the same.

Men especially (me included) like to live by the creed that if we can still function as we normally do, then everything must be okay. But that is not always the case. This isn't to scare any of you who are reading this but it is to inform you of the importance to really know how healthy or unhealthy you may be. And with that information, you then can make the choices and take the steps you need to in order to better your health the best that you can.

I believe in a day in which we consume genetically modified food, have chemical trails left in the sky, take vaccines that actually work against our immune system instead of strengthen it, etc., we need to stay on top of our health the best way we can. So if you are reading this and you know deep in your heart you need to visit your doctor, please do so soon.

Have a fantastic weekend everyone!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Health coverage active again

Thank God, as today in the mail I received information on my COBRA health benefits and my health coverage is now active again after a few weeks of waiting for all the processing to go through.

When I left my former job on July 31, I had to apply for COBRA--a continuation health coverage that you apply for when you are no longer working for the company you originally received health coverage through. I made sure I had stocked up on my medications because without my health insurance being active, I would have had to pay full price for them. The DaVita clinic was nice enough to still allow me to have my appointments and Baxter still delivered my dialysis solutions even though my coverage had not be reactivated. I am thankful to the social worker, Adriana (same name as my wife), because she really helped me to get the application in and worked with the American Kidney Fund so that my premium would be paid.

So now, my coverage is active again and I have the exact same benefits I did when I was working. This means that my co-pays on my medication will be the same and I will be able to see my same primary doctor. And with my coverage being active, I called Cedars Sinai Hospital and informed them about the news and now the process for obtaining a kidney transplant will soon begin with an appointment with the medical center in the near future. God is good.

These days I'm feeling pretty good and I just stay busy. My project, Sports Inboundz.com, is coming along well and I'm looking forward to the new day and time change for The Sports Inboundz.com Show beginning this Tuesday at 7 p.m. There are other shows that I will soon be producing for my BlogTalkRadio channel, which you can access by clicking HERE.

Have a great weekend everyone and stay cool.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The need for normalcy

Getting diagnosed with a disease that you never had to live with before can be devastating. I can't really think of another way of putting it. In just one moment your whole world changes and you're left to cope with an unwelcome visitor that may one day be cured or decide to stay for the rest of your life.

As I stated in a previous post, while we can not control everything that happens in our lives, what we can control is how we choose to respond to it. A person who is diagnosed with a disease can continue to live life the best that he/she can or that same person can fall into depression and give up all hope. Sometimes you find yourself battling between the two.

One of the ways that I've been able to cope with my kidney disease is through staying busy and living as similar as I can to the time before this diagnosis. Depending on the disease you have, I know this can be difficult but the key is to try to continue living life as normal as possible. Don't give yourself time to think too much about your condition and continue to strive for the goals that you did before. Even though I have to hook up to a machine every night before I go to sleep, during the day I live as I did before to the point when people see me they don't even think that I have a disease. And I can't tell you how good that feels to know that unless I told people about my disease, they wouldn't even know I had it.

Each day, I work on my Sports Inboundz.com website, spend time with my wife, do the same with my stepdaughter when she is here, talk to friends, play with the puppies, read the Bible,  run errands and help my wife with the upkeep of our house. Of course life happens and sometimes I can't get to everything on a daily basis but I strive for it. These all were things I did before and I will continue to do them. And it blesses me and keeps me level.

Remember, having a disease doesn't mean that your live has to end in many cases. So as far as you can, live the life you want and don't let the disease hold you back. It certainly will help.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Do what you love

When you have a disease, you can never underestimate the importance of still contributing something to society and still living a productive life.

For the first 4 months of this ordeal, I just relaxed and rested in a way that I hadn't done in years. But during the 4th month, I began to become restless and found myself even feeling in the dumps because I was at a point where I didn't want to just sit around anymore. I wanted to live life and do the things that I had been waiting so long to do but never had the chance.

One of those things was hosting my own online sports show. I originally launched a sports show dealing with behaviors and ethics back in the summer of 2011 called "The Sports Inboundz.com Show." But due to growing responsibilities at home when my wife took on a new position at her former job, I was forced to put the show on hold after just 6 episodes. I regretted that I never got to see the show grow and evolve and because of the limited budget that my wife and I were on, I didn't have enough money to truly make the show what I wanted.

But that all changed when I realized that I was in a position where I could relaunch the show. So in July, I began to brainstorm about how to bring the show back. I invested in an account at BlogTalkRadio.com to be able to host a live show right from home. I went out and purchased a new HD camcorder that I will be using in the near future for video uploads. I purchased other equipment and worked on building my website. And while I was going through this process, I felt what it was like to have that spark again--the feeling of doing something that you love 100 percent and enjoying every second of it.

The Sports Inboundz.com Show officially returned on August 15th and the show had more than 680 listeners that included those who tuned in live and others who listened later. The August 22nd episode has generated more than 200 listeners to date and I am just overwhelmed that hundreds of people have started tuning in to a different kind of sports show that I hope will make a difference.

Doing this show has rejuvenated me in a way that I can't describe because I am right in the midst of fulfilling a dream. And there is much more to come with BlogTalkRadio because I am allotted 2 hours of air-time every day. So expect there to be more shows in the future.

I guess if I would want you to take anything from this post, it is to do what you love. Adjust your life, make the changes you need to in order to reach that place. Life is too short to be doing something that you despise most of your life and if there is anything you can do to change that, do it. Take the leap of faith. You will be a much more happier person because you will then be truly doing what perhaps you were created to do.

And be sure to visit Sports Inboundz.com and listen in to The Sports Inboundz.com Show every Wednesday at 5 p.m.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Thank you Claremont COURIER

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today. I wanted to take some time to thank the Claremont COURIER for a 5 1/2 year ride that grew me as a professional, as a person and transitioned me from a single man trying to save money at my dad's house to a married man with a stepdaughter and a home.

The COURIER published my exit column in last Saturday's edition of the paper and you can view it by clicking HERE.  I can't thank the COURIER enough for everything that I've been privileged to experience there. I will continue to stay in contact with my COURIER friends and will also visit Claremont when I can. There's always something going on there and it is truly a unique city.

If you have never read the Claremont COURIER, please check out the website HERE. It's a great local paper that I am proud to say that I have been a part of. And I know the COURIER will continue to be a great paper because the people there are great.

Thanks again for all of you who helped make this such a great ride.