Tag Archives: Disease

Choosing My World

The past week has been, well, thought provoking to say the least.

Earlier in the week I learned that a former office mate was killed in a car accident. While I didn’t know him other than as the always smiling Masters student who shared an office with me, his sudden death was a shock. He was 26 years old, and based on our brief exchanges while we shared office 309A together, and based on the things I have read that his friends and family have posted since his death, he was full of life.

Since learning of his death, I have found my thoughts have often wandered to him – wondering how cruel it seemed that his life had been cut so short, wondering what those he left behind must be going through. I have answers for neither of those things. All I know is that his death has struck a chord in me.

That chord – that still raw nerve that had been struck earlier this week – was struck again today.

This morning I learned news of a friend – someone much younger than me – that took my breath away, quite literally. My heart ached and my stomach turned on news of a terminal illness. Again, I wondered how cruel it seemed that someone so young would have to face their mortality in this way. How was this fair? Knowing this person as I do – so full of life, so amazing, so smart, so positive and happy, and gifted with one of the best smiles possible – the kind of smile that beams from every corner of their face – how could I accept this outcome as anything but cruel and wrong?

Obviously there is no rhyme or reason to disease and death. There is no way to accurately predict where and when our time will come. Sure, we can attempt to evade both as long as we can with pills and diet and exercise and even machines, but there are no guarantees, no sure fire solutions, no magic, no last minute pleas with whatever higher power you might believe in. At least, I don’t think there are. But then again, I don’t really know. I’m not sure anyone knows really.

What I do know is this – our time on this earth is limited. It’s not enough to just wake up and go to work and come home, lather, rinse, and repeat. It’s our responsibility to live every day as best as we can. I’m not suggesting that it’s our individual duty to solve all the problems of the world, but I am suggesting – demanding even – that we at least wake each morning with the goal of making our little worlds better. Smile. Help someone. Be kind. Hug your friends. Bear hug your friends. Tell those you love that you love them. Tell them again. And remind yourself that you too are loved and are capable of amazing things.

We can’t control many things in this world, but we can control how we choose to live in it. This week I was very much reminded of that.

Two Weeks – One Per Kidney

Shown: A male with two kidneys. Not shown: A female with two kidneys (but don’t worry ladies, you’ve got them too).

The next stage of the Big Mountain Challenge is almost here. W00t!

For those of you who may have missed it, my friend Rick was recently named the winner of the challenge. This means he gets to hike (along with your’s truly) three epic mountains in the Banff Lake Louise area. He also gets a cheque for $15000 for The Kidney Foundation of Canada. That cheque could be as much as $25000 if we manage to raise $5000 over the next two weeks (as Banff Lake Louise Tourism will match whatever we raise up to the $5000 level).

Winning the contest was the first stage. Raising $5000 in two weeks is the second. And of course, finishing the three climbs represent stages three through five, respectively.

We’ve so got this.

But why do we care about kidneys? I mean, we each have two of them, right?

Well, perhaps it might be a good idea to get a general sense of what the kidneys do for us (assuming they are healthy) each and every day. According to the all-powerful and all-knowing Wikipedia:

“The kidneys are organs that serve several essential regulatory roles in most animals, including vertebrates and some invertebrates. They are essential in the urinary system and also serve homeostatic functions such as the regulation of electrolytes, maintenance of acid–base balance, and regulation of blood pressure (via maintaining salt and water balance). They serve the body as a natural filter of the blood, and remove wastes which are diverted to the urinary bladder. In producing urine, the kidneys excrete wastes such as urea and ammonium, and they are also responsible for the reabsorption of water, glucose, and amino acids. The kidneys also produce hormones including calcitriol, erythropoietin, and the enzyme renin.”

So you can imagine that if one or both of your kidneys are diseased, you’re entire body is going to suffer. Sadly, as of 2011 there were approximately 2.6 million Canadians who had kidney disease or were at risk of developing it. Check out this fact page for more information.

Knowing how many people suffer from kidney disease, and knowing that a cure is possible if we can manage to get the appropriate amount of funding to the people who research such things, raising as much money as we can is a no-brainer. We should do this, and we can do this.

For those of you interested in donating, a page for donations will be set up shortly. I’ll keep you posted as soon as it becomes available. Until then, please spread the word.

Your kidneys will thank you.

There Is A Great Disturbance In The Force…

One of these bugs might be in me.

And by force, I mean my belly.

You see, dear readers, based on the events of the past 2 days I can only deduce that I have either consumed dairy1 without knowing it, or I have picked up some bug.

How is it possible that I can’t tell?

Well, I don’t exactly feel sick. But I can confirm without a doubt that something ain’t right. 

Whatever I have doesn’t feel like dairy-poisoning2, but it also doesn’t feel like gastrointestinal (GI) disease. None of the standard symptoms are present. With dairy-poisoning, I’m often left feeling bruised. I tend to think of this as the result of some alien-milk baby trying to punch its way out of my gut. Charming, I know. And GI disease often comes with vomiting, fever, chills, etc.

Evil cow. The source of Montezumoo's Revenge.

I have none of these common symptoms. And thank you very much, I don’t want any of them. What’s even weirder is that I don’t feel ill. Well, I don’t feel ill between instances of Great Disturbances In The Force.

Anyway, I’m a bit perplexed as to what exactly I have. Perhaps it’s a happy little blend of GI disease and an evil alien-milk baby. Perhaps it’s something entirely different.

But, dear readers, what concerns me most of all about my current predicament is not the possibility of a GI-disease-evil-alien-milk-mutant-baby-crossbreed. What concerns me is that I haven’t been able to run. And as you may recall, I have the 30K Around The Bay scheduled for this Sunday. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t be running a lot right now, as I’d want to rest my legs and such for the big day, but I would be running some so as to keep my legs and body prepared.

However, given my current situation it would definitely be unwise to go running. I’m sure we can all imagine the terrible, terrible outcome that might bring.

Regardless, I’m still planning on running on Sunday lest this turn into some full-scale illness. I just hope above all other things that my legs are ready despite the unscheduled rest time. Actually, I take that back. I hope above all other things that I’m not hit with Montezumoo’s Revenge while I’m running on Sunday. That would just be awful in a way I can’t even begin to imagine.

1 Being a card-carrying member of the Lactose-Free Guild, I tend to avoid dairy at all costs due to the dire gastrointestinal consequences.

2 Dairy-Poisoning: what happens when someone who is lactose intolerant is purposefully or inadvertently fed dairy. See also: Montezumoo’s Revenge3.

3 Montezumoo’s Revenge – Ha! I kill me4.

4 I Googled Montezumoo’s Revenge and couldn’t find it anywhere. I also searched for just Montezumoo and came up with nothing. As such, I’m staking claim to this phrase forever and always. Mark your calendars – this is probably the highlight of my career.