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  • Coach Karen Ungerman

PKD, Homeschool & Me

Kidneys the size of footballs? Yep! That was me, before major surgery to remove them. Polycystic Kidney Disease is a struggle that can lead to dialysis, transplant and so much more, depending on each patient's unique journey. For me, it began with a craniotomy to repair a brain aneurysm, then transplant, then double nephrectomy, followed immediately by an emergency volvulus (and I'm skipping the "small" stuff). This disease is truly a punch in the face. However, if you want to fight it, you must put on your PKD Warrior armor and do so. For me, this comes in the form of positive psychology and wellness. Believe it or not, on the most difficult of days, there is still always something to be grateful for. For me, this generally presents itself in the form of amazing doctors, a wonderful husband, loving children and a bunch of other people that still warm my heart daily by what they did then and still do now.

Many of you homeschool because your children are warriors too! If I could wrap my arms around you I would, because I understand what it's like to be that kid. As a junior PKD warrior, I spent more than my fair share of time at hospitals, but I learned to like those trips because my mom always made it special. We would even bring my co-captain and best friend if possible.

Homeschool proves to be kind to our family when it's time for me to do a little fighting. I believe, that for me, the wars are over, but there are still some battles to be fought. This past week I have had 3 skin cancer biopsies, which is common for kidney transplant warriors to encounter. My skin cancer is an ongoing battle. I have had multiple medical appointments this week alone. Understand that I am not complaining about my week, but explaining. This is where being mindful of the positive is vital. It is a survival skill. This is why I teach these skills to my students. Everyone's journey is different, everyone's struggle is different, but through positive life skills, we can see our path as a journey of learning and opportunity!

My spotlight on wellness this week is looking through the doctor appointments and battles to the sunshine. Finding the beauty in EVERY day, looking for it with intention. Whether you are a PKD warrior or not, this applies to you. Look for beauty in your homeschool life everyday, with intention.

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