Married to the Empire

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Making sacrifices

Ruf has kidney disease. So far, he's in good shape. When he was originally diagnosed, we were told he still has 60% kidney function, which is good. Our church, friends, and family were all fervently praying for him. A subsequent checkup showed that his kidney function had improved to 70%. That is not supposed to happen. There is no cure for kidney disease, and if his kidney function does not remain stable, then it's supposed to decline. That's just the way things work. And yet, his improved. We believe wholeheartedly that is God's sovereignty.

I've had someone tell me it's not miraculous if it's not a full cure. I disagree. If the impossible has happened, even if that is simply an improvement, then it's miraculous. I don't know why God has not healed him. God is not a magic genie in the sky who grants all our wishes. He is GOD, and he knows what's best. He uses our circumstances for good, whatever that may be, and however far off in the future that may occur. And let's be honest; if God made all our lives perfect, would we even bother to keep seeking him out? Without trial, we would fail to realize how much we need God in our lives.

Ruf's nephrologist has not given him any dietary guidelines to follow. We just know some very basic stuff, such as animal protein is hard on the kidneys. But Ruf loves his meat. I liken him to a diabetic who craves sugar. Admittedly, I haven't been very good at limiting our meat consumption because I like it, too.

An older man in our church also has kidney disease. His wife and I got into quite an animated discussion about it a few weeks ago. At the time her husband was on a waiting list for a kidney transplant. She said that 30 years ago, they didn't know much about his disease, but her husband had commented that if he'd known then what he knows now, he'd have made changes. For example, she told me that soft drinks are hard on the kidneys. Something about the carbonation and chemicals. Then, she promised that she and her husband would go out to lunch with us after church someday soon to put the fear of God into Ruf about being good about diet.

We haven't done that yet because a kidney became available for her husband just 2 days later, and he went in for a transplant. I have been watching this play out with rather selfish motives. Knowing full well that someday it could be Ruf having a transplant, I was nervous about this whole procedure. God has been remarkable through the whole process. The kidney was a perfect match. So perfect that even the doctor had to acknowledge that only God could have orchestrated that match. He's been recovering nicely, but it's still a very hard-on-the-body procedure that involves a lifetime of taking anti-rejection drugs. We really do want to avoid Ruf's having to go through this someday if possible.

This brings me back to sacrifice. I told Ruf about the need to give up soft drinks for his kidneys. He grumbled a bit, but I stocked up the pantry with cranberry-juice combinations as a substitute. Ruf loves juice, so it's a good compromise. I've even determined not to restock our soft drink supply, even though I would enjoy having more Pepsi and Dr. Pepper. It would be unkind of me to drink what he shouldn't have, but would like to have, right in front of him.

I'm also looking to cook more vegetarian meals. I've already warned him that this will happen. He grumbled a little, but he knows it's for the best. I've checked out some vegetarian cookbooks from the library for inspiration. I'm struggling with this one, though, because many recipes call for things like tofu. Tofu has a really freaky texture, and neither one of us will eat it. And most recipes seem to be an attempt to recreate meat entrees, just without the meat. I'm not looking to mimic meat; I'm simply looking for recipes that use protein sources that are easier on the kidneys. Where are all the recipes using beans?

It's all an adjustment, but I want to do whatever I can to keep my dear Ruf healthy. What's a lack of Dr. Pepper when compared to a life without Ruf? I'd give up everything I enjoy for him, if it would make him all better.


JunkMale said...

Less soda would mean less money spent too. Although I didn't appreciate it at the time, I'm glad that my mom didn't buy too much soda while I was at home. I didn't develop the addiction that lots of other people have, and consequently we almost never buy soda. Everyone's got their pet "vice;" mine would be other forms of sweets. My dad developed diabetes 5 or 6 years ago, so I have started being careful about the sugars. (We don't have anymore white sugar in the house and try to sweeten only using molasses, evaporated molasses, honey, or fruits)

You know, it's sort of is like an addiction. Even if I get full on the main course food at dinner, a short while later I will still want to eat something sweet. I suspect maybe you guys might be like that with might get full on main course, but might still want meat later.

Meredith said...

Wow--I can't think of a better reason to buy healthier food. Yet it's a fine balancing act, because you don't want to act like your husband's mother (my husband's diabetic).

Perhaps you can find some spicy south-of-the-border bean dishes to distract him from the lack of meat.

Ewokgirl said...

Meredith, yep, it's the "mom" thing. I don't want to be a nag, and he knows what he shouldn't consume. But I do remind him that it's a lot like my avoiding my migraine triggers. For example, I love blueberries, but I don't eat them because they make my head hurt. It's easier for me, though, because I have a tangible, immediate reaction. He can't feel anything happening to his kidneys.

JunkMale, you're right; it does mean less money spent, and that's a good thing! Thankfully, neither of us is addicted to soft drinks, but we do enjoy them occasionally. I do keep a pitcher of decaf iced tea in the fridge at all times, and we have juice, so it's not like either of us is having to give up all flavorful drinks.

Now if I could just find some good, filling, tasty vegetarian entrees that don't require gag-inducing ingredients like tofu, we'll be good to go! And it's not like we have to give up all meat; we just need to not have it every night.

JunkMale said...

I don't know how much you guys like Thai-like food, but this recipe from the Common Room is one I like a LOT.

Ewokgirl said...

We love Thai food! Thanks for the recipe link!