Health & Wellbeing
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Lesson 1. Introduction

Lesson 1 Module 1

Hi. I'm Darren.

Welcome to this course for people with kidney disease.

If you are a family member of someone with kidney problems, I will help you not only understand the realities, but also the potential to live well with kidney disease.   

You are probably going through a tough time, you may be uncertain, you may have even lost a sense of "who you are". This is what this course is here to address.

The title of this course and very much The GOAL of what I do is to help you transition from the feeling of victim-hood to one of resilience, and we do that through strategies that transform thinking.

Firstly, doctors and your healthcare team will go over everything in relation to your disease and prescribe a treatment strategy, stick to it. Dietitians will look at the all important dietary issues but, I feel, and have felt since I got kidney failure over 20 years ago, there is very little help on dealing with the life issues that arise from the diagnosis of kidney disease. For me, these issues were the big issues. I essentially handed over my body to the doctors to treat in the best way they saw fit.

But what about when you leave the doctors surgery or the hospital? What about me, my life, my goals, my family situation, my work, my mental and emotional health? There was no help, there was no “treatment protocol” for these things. Nothing!

I felt like a victim, I felt helpless. Through no fault of my own, or yours, we find ourselves in a situation we are ill equipped and unprepared to deal with, I certainly felt this way. That feeling was a mixture of shock and being overwhelmed. You probably have a similar story.

I began searching for answers. Answers from my renal team, from fellow-patients, from books and courses, including a Masters in Health Promotion to complement a degree in Sports & Fitness. The final result is the person you see before you now. And my goal is to equip you from the knowledge and experience that I’ve tried, tested and found useful, in my 20+ years living with kidney disease. 

The aim is to lead to a transformation in your thinking on how to deal with and live well with kidney disease.

For this course, I've developed a framework or a  “Strategy for Health”.  This comprises many of the issues and challenges that arise when you are diagnosed and live with kidney disease. 

With that in mind, the course is framed in 3 sections;

Acceptance - Attitude - Action

The course starts with the realities of kidney disease, the "pain-points", as they are often called. It is important to have a through understanding of the realities of kidney disease before we can accept it, and move forward with purpose.

Next, we look at attitude and why you need to change your personal story to take into account the realities of living and thriving with kidney disease. Essentially I am asking you to strive to create a better version of yourself which encompasses "living" with kidney disease, and not "suffering" with kidney disease.

Finally, we look at 3 areas where you will put your positive attitude into practice. This involves taking action in areas that can move you towards a future of healthy outcomes and a better quality of life. 

This follows my own learning and experiences in relation to overcoming adversity and is designed first and foremost with you as a fellow-patient of kidney disease in mind.

A few final things to consider, maintaining or returning to good health involves more than medical matters. We are more than our bodies. We are our minds, our hearts, we are our family, our community. If we are to recover, and live healthily with kidney disease, we need to take steps in aiding our own recovery. To take responsibility. Most people say the words “I suffer from kidney disease” and that is the language of a victim.

You are not taking this course with me to suffer and merely survive kidney disease. As your guide, I am here to empower and enable you to live an active, productive and worthwhile life. We will work through this together and your transformation from victim-hood to resilience will be something you will look to with pride.

I wish you the best of luck with the course and look forward to helping and guiding you throughout.

Pen