By Jewel Edwards-Ashman I started the year 2020 anticipating that I’d enter kidney failure and have to undergo my second kidney transplant. But I didn’t expect to start doing home dialysis and eventually have transplant surgery in the middle of a pandemic. Transplant surgery in ordinary circumstances comes with a high level of stress and anxiety. Having a kidney transplant during a public health crisis only exacerbated those feelings for me. To reduce my stress and manage my emotions, here are three things I did: I prioritized self-care. Most Americans, even those who aren’t living with chronic illness, have been experiencing [...]
If the global pandemic is starting to negatively impact your mental health, there is a resource that can help you better understand and cope with the feelings you are experiencing. This toolkit includes suggestions for: increasing public awareness, building community capacity, using telemedicine and how to stay ahead of the potential emerging issues. Check out the toolkit.
By Elizabeth Steinberg Christofferson, PhD An increasingly vital aspect of the COVID-19 pandemic is how the pandemic impacts our mental health, overall well-being, and how we cope with the pandemic, especially as it continues on for a longer period than we may have anticipated or hoped. This article provides psychoeducation on the connection between stress, chronic illness, and COVID-19, tips for managing anxiety related to these stressors, and resources for further support. Stress During COVID-19 and Symptoms to Look Out for COVID-19 adds to already present stress that impacts patients and families on many levels in terms of their medical and [...]
By Elizabeth Steinberg Christofferson, PhD and Leah Grande, MA Preparing for and receiving a kidney transplant, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can be an uncertain and overwhelming process. This article discusses tips to promote positive mental and physical health for yourself or your loved ones. Preparing for a Transplant There are many different emotions associated with deciding to go on the transplant list, and all of these feelings are normal and valid! You may feel excited about the potential for improved health and energy, fewer restrictions on what you can eat and drink (although you still want to eat a [...]
During this webinar, Dr. Christofferson will offer advice on how to deal with feelings of fear, isolation, anxiety and stress during the coronavirus outbreak.
By Rachel Fintzy Woods, MA, MFT So many aspects of life are beyond our control. When the challenges of managing an illness such as chronic kidney disease are added to our plate, we can feel overwhelmed. Emotions such as anger, confusion, fear and sadness are common and natural, especially at the outset of our journey with illness. It can seem as if our world has been turned upside down. Yet we do have some say in how we deal with the cards we’ve been dealt, including our medical condition and life itself. We alone are responsible for our actions and our [...]
How Chronic Pain Can Impact Your Mental Health When You Have Kidney Disease By Hannah Calkins Chronic pain and depression are closely linked and because as many as 60 percent of hemodialysis patients report moderate to severe chronic pain, it’s likely that many of them have experienced depression—or are at risk for it. But it may not look or feel the way you expect, according to psychologist Robert Kerns, PhD. “Depression among people with chronic pain may not be experienced as profound sadness,” says Kerns, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and psychology at Yale University. “Other symptoms may be more likely [...]
By Amanda Nelli, MD and Padma Gulur, MD Pain is a complex symptom and a common concern for all patients with a chronic illness. In particular, end-stage renal disease (ESRD) poses unique challenges. It has been found that 37-50 percent of patients with ESRD on hemodialysis experience chronic pain, and more than 80 percent of these patients experience moderate to severe pain.1 Pain in dialysis patients often goes undertreated, which may be because it is often caused by multiple problems. The pain experienced in dialysis patients is often a combination of physical, social and psychological influences.2 There are multiple medical [...]
Updated September 10, 2020 We are living in a time of uncertainty with the COVID-19 pandemic, which can lead to stress, fear, depression, and anxiety. We may feel overwhelmed at times and bored at other times. We may be at a loss for how to cope with social distancing, not seeing friends and family, and the possibility of getting sick. If you are a dialysis patient, receiving treatment either in-center or at home, your facility social worker is a great resource for you. Or, if you are a transplant patient, you can talk to your transplant social worker for support. [...]
Beyond Sanitizing and Social Distancing–A Healthy Circadian Rhythm May Keep You Sane and Increase Resilience to Fight COVID-19
By Satchin Panda, University of California San Diego Social distancing and washing hands have become the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, but there is another powerfully protective resource immediately available to all: your circadian rhythm. I head a lab that researches circadian rhythms, the daily cycles of bodily functions that form the foundation of good health. These body clocks, found in nearly every organ of the body and part of the brain, are central and vital to a properly functioning immune system. A synchronized circadian rhythm in the lungs, heart, kidney and brain ensures that the processes in our body [...]