The Outdoors: Medicine for the Soul
In February of 2016 with 3 months to go before my college graduation from the University of Nevada, Reno and 5 months away from starting my dream job, a routine entrance physical for my state’s police academy changed my life forever.
While at that physical I was told my blood pressure was a little high, so naturally I decided to get it checked out. A day later, I wound up in the hospital with a blood pressure of 202/140. For those who don’t already know, a typical blood pressure is around 120/80 or lower. After countless blood tests and a kidney biopsy, spanning 2 days, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune form of Chronic Kidney Disease called IgA Nephropathy. Without boring you with much more medical jargon, my immune system basically over overproduces antibodies, which settle in my kidneys causing kidney damage. The high blood pressure I was experiencing is a symptom of the condition.
Long story short after getting hit with this ton of brick months away from my college graduation and getting to start my dream job at the police academy, I was more than a little short on motivation. Adding to this is the fact that IgA Nephropathy currently has no known causes or cures to speak of. The only treatment options available are based on minimal studies that have found ways to possibly help suppress the disease.
So after my diagnosis, I spent the following 6 months on an oral chemotherapy regiment, 9 months on a steroid treatment, and almost a year on 3 different blood pressure medications. With all of that put together and the nasty side effects that go with those drugs, let’s just say I had lost my mojo for a good long while.
Nine months into my treatment I started to find some inspiration and start dreaming again, all thanks to a passion I had not made enough time for during my collegiate career. The outdoors- mother nature, and all its raw beauty- got me to starting daydreaming again and gave me some much needed food for my soul. Keep on reading…..