Recently, I went on a weekend retreat for young renal patients, funded by the BKPA and organised by the Young NKF. Going into this weekend, I was nervous. I only knew one other guy who would be there, along with a couple of the organisers. I wasn’t sure how I felt about spending an entire weekend at a YHA in Derbyshire with a bunch of strangers, but as it turned out, I needn’t have worried.
Between the thirty or so of us who traveled from around the UK to come and be part of this weekend, we have a huge range of not only illness experiences, but also LIFE experiences. We are husbands, wives, parents, friends, sons and daughters. Some of us work or study, and some of us concentrate on our health.
We’re from hugely different backgrounds, but the one thing we have in common, and the thing that connects us all together, is our need to know we’re not in this on our own. There are others who not only understand at least some of what we’re going through, but are comfortable talking about it, even the really hard parts. The things we might not tell our healthy friends.
This experience has given me the push I needed to start writing again. Spending time with other people with CKD inspired me, and I wish I hadn’t taken so long to connect myself to a community like the one I found at Ravenstor.
I realised just how much talking to somebody who gets it helps, and I know there’s bound to be someone else out there, sitting at home on their computer Googling something like “kidney disease support” or “young people with renal failure”. I’m sorry I can’t teleport into your living room or go out for coffee together so we can talk in person about how shit it sometimes is being too young to be this sick, but I hope reading this blog helps you somehow anyway.