I haven’t posted in a while, primarily due to the fact that I needed to privately grieve and process all that occurred over the last year. Things are starting to feel more back to normal, or as normal as it can, without my dad. One of the most important things that I learned while taking time for myself, was being open to talking to people about how I was feeling. Internalizing grief can destroy you. As much guilt and sadness that I have had over losing my dad, the fact is my dad wouldn’t want me to be living my life being miserable and grieving. He always said he just wanted me to be happy. That was all he ever talked about. I am the only one who has the ability to truly make myself happy. It’s up to me to start fresh and live my life like every day is the last day. You never know what tomorrow is going to bring! 2013 was a horrible year, hopefully 2014 is the exact opposite.
If there is anything positive that can be learned from what we experienced while losing my dad, it would be educating people to be more aware of their health, kidney disease, diabetes, and kidney cancer. Before my dad had his bypass surgery, I did not know much at all about kidney function, dialysis, foods that were not allowed on a dialysis diet. Did you know that dialysis patients have to avoid foods that are high in potassium and phosphorus? Most answer with “No.” Don’t feel bad, I didn’t know that either. For example – say goodbye to eating bananas, tomatoes, just to name a few. My dad had been a diabetic for roughly 20 years. My paternal grandparents suffered from diabetes and kidney issues as well. Unfortunately, my dad was never aware that he had kidney problems, so when we found out after his bypass surgery that he had only forty percent kidney function BEFORE his surgery, and his kidney levels were not regulating, we were all in disbelief. His creatine and BUN levels continued to rise until the decision was made that he had to go on dialysis. If someone had taken a more in depth look at my dad’s health, they would have seen that his creatine and BUN level was abnormal long before he ever had surgery. Maybe my dad’s cancer would have been caught much sooner, maybe he wouldn’t have lost kidney function. All of that is irrelevant now, and the only thing that I can do now is educate others.
The National Kidney Foundation, NKF, has an annual walk every year in May. My family has set up a team in honor of my dad. We are hoping that people will join our team – lets walk for my dad – Shelley Gallner – and help other people prevent kidney disease. My dad LOVED helping other people, and I know that he would be so honored to see his friends and family getting together on his behalf to raise money for a good cause. He may not be able to donate to charities anymore, but my family can carry on his traditions. His generosity will never be forgotten.
I hope that many of you reading this, if you knew my dad, please consider joining “Team Shelley” and walk with us. If you are unable to, we would appreciate it if you would think about donating to either the team page, or to one of our individual pages. No amount is too small. Anything helps. We will be setting up some cool “incentives” in the near future, thanks to our team sponsor, “BigOmahaTickets.com”
Here is a link to our “Team Shelley” page