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 [...]
By Collette Powers, MA, RDN, LDN, ACSM EP The year 2020 has proven to be a challenging year. Not only have many had to fight COVID-19 head-on, but millions have experienced the repercussions of the pandemic such as job loss, increased anxiety and stress, food insecurity, and social isolation to name a few. As our nation continues to fight this fight, we now have to consider and prepare for other illnesses commonly seen around this time of year such as upper respiratory infections (also known as the common cold), influenza (flu) and pneumonia. With fall here and winter around the [...]
“A Mindful Heart”: Stress Management Tools for Patients Living with Heart Disease and Chronic Kidney Disease
By Stacy Ogbeide, PsyD, ABPP, CSOWM DPC Education Center Advisory Council Member Stress Management—a topic those living with heart disease and chronic kidney disease have heard before but now in 2020, takes a whole new meaning. We are in the COVID-19 pandemic—unprecedented times—that are impacting people physically, financially, socially, spiritually, and emotionally. Maybe your healthcare has been disrupted; treatment disrupted; work, social, and family life disrupted. Your current stress management options are no longer working, or you don’t have access to your typical stress management options, which is beginning to take a toll on you. Don’t lose heart—I’d like to [...]
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.
Emergency grants can help cover costs for transportation, medication, rent and food when someone is sick. This one-page guide will help you better understand the submission process with a summary of searching, preparing, applying and tracking grants. Included is a list of documents you may be asked to submit with your grant request. Reach out to your social worker if you need help. Check out the guide.
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 [...]
By Sara Naveed Raise your hand if getting out of bed feels like an accomplishment to you, if you have ever felt the need to nap after taking a shower or if being tired feels like it's a part of your personality now! How about constantly finding yourself in a push/crash cycle—pushing way past your limit one day and then paying the price for it in the form of heightened symptoms and having to rest several days in order to recover? Don't worry—you're not the only one! We currently live in an era where we are constantly fed the narrative that [...]
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 [...]