How I Cope

Yessenia Gutierrez

Copyright 2022 by Yessenia Gutierrez

Photo by Jim Forest at Flickr.
Photo by Jim Forest at Flickr.

Nothing and no one can stop anybody from living and enjoying life, but them. Life is what you make it and nothing else. Life is how you choose to see it, how you choose to live it regardless of the obstacles that may come across. We have to learn to face all things with no fear, for fear only does one thing; it keeps us from achieving our goals, it keeps us from living our best moments. You know the saying; everything happens for a reason? I really think that's true. I'm an aspiring writer, and the reason I am is because of all the things I've been through. 

I was born with polycystic kidney disease. I had kidney failure when I was nine years old and that's when I wrote my first poem. I have had two failed kidney transplants and one successful liver transplant. I have been on dialysis for thirteen years and today I am on the waiting list for another kidney. If having kidney disease and being on dialysis has taught me anything, it's patience. One must have patience in order to survive through this journey. 

What helps me cope with kidney disease is writing. Writing is my passion; it is my life. I write poetry, short stories, scripts and quotes. I won my first poetry contest when I was eleven years old. I started writing more and more then. I write to learn, to teach and to give people something to think about. But writing is my escape from all of the things that disturb me, including kidney disease. When I write I escape from reality. I am the happiest when I write. Writing helps me cope with kidney disease by allowing me to put all my pain and suffering into a piece of paper. It turns my pain into art. Writing not only helps me cope with kidney disease, it makes me feel better. When I write I am not thinking about my illness or all the problems that it entails. I think about positive things. I write to find a way to overcome every obstacle I encounter. 

I write because writing tells more than a story, it explains the world. What I mean by this is that I learn more about life and suffering when I write. I learned that pain is not necessarily a bad thing, sometimes it lets you know just how alive you are. When I write I discover knowledge, when I don't write I feel like a failure. I discover insights that help me endure and understand suffering. 

One who suffers only truly suffers if they allow the suffering to determine their lives. If you let suffering stop you from enjoying life, it makes the suffering worse. One has to accept suffering and do what one can in order to be happy and enjoy life. There will always be obstacles in life. Life can sometimes get complicated, but we make things more complicated by the way we choose to see and react to things.

We shouldn't complain. We shouldn't be sad. We shouldn't be angry. What we should be is calm and positive. Because I learned through writing that even when things go wrong, there are good things that still remain and we should be thankful for that. We must remember that things can always be worse. Like for example, if it wasn't for dialysis we wouldn't be here. Dialysis is our artificial kidney. It's what keeps us alive while we wait for a kidney transplant. That to me is amazing. 

We suffer but time teaches us to endure suffering. Time and not wanting to be dead. It is better to live a life full of suffering than not to live at all. And as long as we have that desire to live, we should be able to bear even the most painful things. We should not give up so easily. We've fought and we're still fighting, so tell me, why would we give up our struggle? We must keep going until we reach the goal where we intend to be. Writing is what I do to stay sane. 

Dialysis can cause depression and other health problems. I definitely see myself improving in confidence when I write or finish writing. Writing makes me feel useful. It makes me feel like I'm being productive. Something that many people lose once they start dialysis. It is important to stay busy and focused during dialysis. 

Doing these things will make you feel good. 

For me, writing is my lifeline. Whenever I feel sad or depressed about dialysis or anything related to it, I just go home and write. I write what I feel. I also write to feel better. I have been told that I am very wise for my age and I believe it is true. But the more I write, the more knowledge I discover and share with the world. 

My goal has always been to inspire others with my story. I want people, especially dialysis patients, to know that suffering does not mean the end, suffering must be the reason why we insist on wanting to improve ourselves and our lives. The greatest of all teachers will always be suffering. There can be no life without suffering, because suffering teaches us to prevail. You cannot go through life in fear, you have to be strong and have courage to be able to achieve things. Something will always happen to try to stop you, but you have to be limitless and never stop trying unless you choose to yourself. 

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