chronic kidney disease symptoms and self care management!

Welcome to Self Care Saturday! If you read this blog then you know I have CKD, and that I had a recent experience with a shoulder injury and poor pain management. Symptoms when you have CKD, and poor management of those symptoms are a huge self care problem for kidney patients. While most doctors will focus on dialysis kidney patients want management of their symptoms long before they need dialysis. I found this video below from Canada where they are more focused on empowering Kidney Patients to self advocate for self care. The video is short but so worth watching. The lady at the very end had the most powerful question be sure and hear it. If you have stage 3 CKD you will see what I mean.

Reiki may help you with CKD pain, stress, relaxation, better sleep, etc. If you are interested I am now offering Distance Reiki Sessions.


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day 2: Let’s Talk about drinks baby!

Welcome back to Hurricane Preparedness Week! This is day 2 and I want to talk about drinks, especially if you have CKD. But, these options are great for any family who wants a sort of healthier drink option. I did a post last year on this topic, and I am adding to it this year. There may be affiliate links in this post.

Today, my daughter and I went to grocery shop and since it is Hurricane Preparedness Week here in Florida, and certain items are tax exempt, the stores were pretty crowded. The only thing we actually bought that was exempt was batteries. You can see the full list here. This week I used my new Flipp app, and my Basket app to see where the best deals were on the groceries I needed. I don’t generally like to shop at multiple stores but people swear it will save me money. So, today I did it, and actually I saved enough money this week to purchase a PUR water filter container for in the fridge. We bought a new fridge without the water filter built in and have been using bottle watered. With CKD I have to be sure to not be drinking too many impurities and we have hard water. This was the most affordable option and we don’t have to use all those water bottles now. We do still stock up on water during Hurricane Season, we just don’t need as much now and we donate what we don’t use at the end of the season.

Drinks are something that can not only suck up your daily allotment of fluids, if you are on dialysis, but also added phosphorus and sodium. Sometimes even Potassium if you don’t read labels well. Below you will see a picture with all of the drink options I basically use. You don’t see the Stur in the image, from last years post, but I do still have some of those left as well. My daughter likes them too so I saved some for her for this year. I will mention each of them. I do drink coffee once a day, and sometimes tea.

Premier Protein Shakes- I started out by trying the Blueberry Oats shake. I liked it so then I tried Cinnamon Rill, and Caramel. The Cinnamon Roll is my favorite and I can hardly ever find it where I live. I might have to order it on Amazon, lol. I technically only use these as a coffee creamer alternative. It is healthier and I use only 2 tbsp which is an oz. The Equate brand is exactly the same as the Premier Protein, or at least I don’t notice a difference except for the price. I bought the big package this time, because one it is more cost effective, and it is also shelf stable until you open it. With 20-30 grams of protein per container, it could be a meal replacement for me. Be sure to read the label as it does contain 50% of your daily Phosphorus, and that can build up if you aren’t careful. These are perfect for me for Hurricane Season, and my family too if they want them.

V8 +Energy: I decided to try these some time ago. While I would not drink the whole can in a sitting, it does have quite a bit of caffeine, I add about an oz to my water to add a little flavor. The whole can only has 50 calories and 12 grams of carbs. The ingredients are pretty good too.

Blue Raspberry Drink Enhancer: When I tell you that you only need a very tiny squirt to get a ton of flavor, I am not kidding. These are easy to transport and come in tons of flavors. I also crush up ice and add this to the ice for a sneaky snow cone trick.

Welchs and or Juicy Juice: If I want a little taste of fruitiness in my water, I add an oz of one of these juices. These are the only 2 that I buy anymore. I like Ocean Spray too, but I can’t find the flavor I want so I stopped buying it. These are 100% juice, and low sodium. They both also have no added sugar.

That’s it! Those are my drink options. You do not see soda, as I hardly ever drink soda, and if I do it will be a Sprite or Diet Sprite. No dark colas! If we had to evacuate we would just get water wherever we end up. If we stay through a tropical system we will have bottled water and everyone will have a cold refreshing drink that is not too unhealthy. My daughter does like the powdered sweet tea and I always have some on hand for her. But, she also drinks water, and can use any of the options shown as well.

To stock up simply buy an extra one each week, or bi-weekly when you shop. Then be sure not to drink them.

We also keep coffee filters on hand just in case we lose power and I need to make some coffee an old fashioned way. I really do like my coffee in the morning.

What drinks would you, or do you stock up on for disaster preparedness? Let me know in the comments.


Would you like to learn about any of my Wellness Services such as Reiki, Guided Imagery, Goal Setting, Meal Planning, Walking Buddy, etc? Use the contact form at the end of the post to message me with your questions. I am revamping all of my plans through the month of June, so watch for them here on the blog.

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10 risk factors you can control!

Happy Wednesday! As we come to the end of May and the end of Blood Pressure Awareness Month, it is time to start putting it all together. You can read all the posts on this topic in the archives. There is a ton of helpful information there. This post may contain affiliate links.

So, what are the 10 risk factors you can control?

  1. Everyone hates it when a medical person says this, but controlling your weight, if you are over weight or obese, is the #1 risk factor you can control to prevent High Blood Pressure. Now, for a small population, due to reasons outside of their control, weight loss may not be a risk factor they can control. BMI, and hip to waist ratio are other tools, besides just a number on a scale that can help you determine your risk.
  2. Reduce your stress levels. If you visited this blog at all in April then you know I talked about Stress reduction. Stress is a huge risk factor for High Blood Pressure and learning to control it is vital. Check the archives to learn about managing Stress. A Health Coach can help you. Check out my 30 day coaching plan. One thing I have discussed recently is that pain is a definite stressor and having adequate pain management is vitally important. Talk to your doctor if you have pain! Come back later this week to read about what annoyed me in the news today on the topic of Stress.
  3. Be Active. Exercise has been proven to help prevent and reduce blood pressure. However, be careful if you are new to exercise or have an underlying illness. I have CKD and recently I have started running. I have also noticed that my blood pressure has creeped up in that time when it was very well managed without medication. My doctor OK’d this increase in intensity, but I have gone back to low impact and the fat burning zone to see if it makes a difference in my blood pressure. I check my blood pressure most days of the week using a manual cuff and stethescope. I keep a log for my doctor to review.
  4. Eat a healthy diet. Now I know there is controversy around what is healthy and what is not. Lower sodium, lower fat and less processed foods I think most could agree would be healthy. Adding fruits and veggies is always going to be healthier than eating fast food, or otherwise less healthy food options.
  5. Eat less salt. This kind of goes with #4. Talk to your doctor but most experts on this topic, if you search it, say 1800 mg per day is all you should be getting for most people. Back in the day when I worked on a Cardiac Unit is was 2000 mg per day. So, it has decreased over the years.
  6. Limit your alcohol. I did a whole post on portion distortion alcohol and I think it is plain that most people do not understand the serving size of alcohol. If you are a man you should not drink more than 2 servings a day, and only 1 serving a day if you are a woman.
  7. Stop smoking. I don’t think that really needs explaining.
  8. Cut back on caffeine. Caffeine is found in coffee, some teas, energy drinks, chocolate and possibly other products I am not aware of. Not everyone is sensitive to caffeine raising their blood pressure, but if you consume a lot of it you might want to consider cutting back.
  9. Monitor your blood pressure. This really isn’t a lifestyle change, but more of a habit you should get into. Even if you are young and healthy regular monitoring of your blood pressure is a good idea. Even if you only have it checked every few months. If you are already at a high risk of getting High Blood Pressure, or already have it, monitoring your blood pressure is vitally important. You may not even know it is high, like for me, because you might have no symptoms. Even the smallest increases in blood pressure can have negative effects on the body, especially if the blood pressure goes unnoticed that it is high.
  10. Find a support team. This should include your doctor, family, friends, a Health Coach. Anyone who can help you adjust your risk factors. It is not easy making lifestyle changes, trust me I know, but doing it can prolong your life, prevent diseases, or complications from diseases.


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portion distortion: sodium plus updates

Happy Mindful Monday! It was a whopper of a weekend and I am happy to not have to work again until Friday. My facility has been basically Covid free for a whole year, and then it happened. Yep, a Covid outbreak. I tested negative both days as we now can’t even enter the building without a negative test, but I had to take care of Covid patients. I had on the full space suit and followed all sanitizing above and beyond, so I feel confident I will be OK. But, that little voice in my head makes me overthink. Since I already have CKD, albeit stable for 4 years, Covid makes me nervous. My husband and daughter are now on stay at home policy as much as possible as a safety precaution. Keep me in your thoughts. I was asked to sit on the board of a local organization. I have never done this before, and tonight is our first Zoom meeting. So, I am a little nervous but excited for this new and wonderful experience.

I have talked about Sodium a lot on this blog. But, I was reading an article that I found very interesting. When you consume too much salt it increases the Protein in your urine which can cause kidney function decline. I then read another article that stated that even if serum Sodium levels were normal, but at the high end of normal, there seemed to be a correlation between that and decrease in kidney function. This is obviously in relation to people who already have CKD. You can read those articles below, and there is a video. I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, ie why sodium causes protein to increase in the urine, but it must have something to do with chemical reactions and how the kidneys process sodium and protein. Be aware that your body needs Sodium to survive. Do not go completely salt free and always speak to your doctor when making any dietary changes especially if you have a medical condition, take medications, exercise at high levels, or sweat a lot. Part of Mindful Eating is knowing what you are consuming and how it may harm/help your body, The body is a complicated machine.

Now, what if you don’t have CKD? I think everyone in the public hopefully should know by now that too much Sodium, or salt, increases the risk for several diseases such as High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease and even Kidney Disease. I have noticed since I started the Lower Carb Diet to lose some weight, that I am experiencing some possible urinary retention. A lot of lower carb food options, may have higher sodium levels. I don’t think I was really considering that, or paying close enough attention to it. So, I put a Sodium tracker on my phone to help me keep track. I was consuming way more than the 2G Sodium diet I had been following. 2G is equivalent to 2,000 mg. The standard amount recommended for anyone is 2400 mg per day, and that is equal to only 1 tsp of table salt. Wow! Did you know that? Some people with the above mentioned Chronic Diseases may be limited to 1800 mg per day.

Salt is in everything that is packaged, mostly as a preservative and for flavor. Salt can be addicting, watch the video below to learn why. I bet you may have even noticed this phenomenon but didn’t realize it. Salt amount per serving is required to be on all foods that require a label. Note, that the Sodium amount listed on a label is for one portion. So if one portion is 240 mg per portion, and you consume 4 portions you are eating 960 mg of sodium for that one food item. Portion sizes matter! You need to become a nutrition label reading wizard. You also need to pay attention to what your body is telling you as I mentioned above with my urinary retention. I also will get headaches if I have consumed too much sodium, but not been able to stay well hydrated. This happens a lot when I work because I can not drink enough at work. That is one reason I only work 2 days a week. If I pay attention to what I eat at work this can be alleviated. Convenience foods are very high in sodium! Learning to cook at home, meal plan and prep are vital to staying healthy with any Chronic Disease. You can sign up for my monthly subscription, Meals with Melissa, to get a weekly meal plan with grocery list and recipes. These meal plans are my weekly family meal plan, but I share how I alter the meals for myself. I also include general nutrition with the recipes, including ones important to CKD. It is only 10 dollars a month. Coming this week I am introducing losing weight with Melissa. This is another subscription where I share how I am safely losing weight, and still protecting my kidney and maintaining good health. I also offer a free Kidney Class as an AKF Kidney Coach. This is their class and I just facilitate it. You can learn about that here. You can use the contact form at the bottom of this post to message me, or leave me a comment.

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free kidney education class

You may have read my previous post on this topic back over the Summer. I was doing group classes using Facebook Events. One class went real well and the others not so great. It was a pain waiting for people to come late and then they were behind, and it was confusing to others. So, from here on out I will do the Kidney Class by appointment only. This should be one person, or maybe a family to who can all share the same screen and read at the same time.

I am an American Kidney Fund Kidney Coach. This is a volunteer position, hence why it is free, and it is their material. I add my life experience as someone living with CKD and my experience as a nurse to the class. This is not medical advice and is in no way intended to replace medical care. It is kind of boring, but I try to make it interesting as possible. You must have Facebook Messenger to take this class with me. That is my platform of choice at this time. It can take about an hour and a half to get through the class, with comments and discussion. Be sure to allow yourself about 2 hours to be safe. This class is meant for people who are at high risk of developing kidney disease such as people with Diabetes or Hypertension, people who already have kidney disease, or they have a loved one who has kidney disease. I will try to use the voice function if it will work and read the slides to you, but you must be prepared to read on your own and let me know when you are done reading and if you have questions. It goes one slide at a time. I only speak and understand English. I can be flexible with dates and times. If you are interested in signing up for a Free Kidney Education Class you must use the contact form below to message me with Kidney Class in the subject line. I will contact you to find what dates and times are good for you. I will not try to sell you anything during this course. If after the course you are interested in working with me as a Health Coach you can inquire about my services.


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