Physical changes may be a result of kidney disease itself, or can be a side effect of treatment. Some examples include surgical scars, catheters (e.g., dialysis tubes), fistulas and changes in skin color or weight. You may feel down about how your body has changed, how it used to look, feel, and function.
For some people, scars and other changes can be a sign of strength. But for many people living with kidney disease, they may feel self-conscious or hold negative beliefs about the changes they are experiencing.
If you are struggling with how you feel about your body, consider that:
- Your body is important, but it does not define you as person
- You are likely more critical of your body than others will be
- Your feelings towards your body can become more positive over time
Any changes to the body may be upsetting at first. It often takes time to adjust physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. More positive feelings may come over time, but there are also ways to actively create a more positive perspective of your body. For example, whenever a negative aspect of your body comes to mind, you can think of a positive quality.
Some people with kidney disease also struggle with how others perceive or react to their body. For example, others may comment on your body weight. If comments from others bother you, you can try having an open and honest discussion with the person.
What may help:
- Speak to a social worker or counsellor
- Speak to other patients dealing with similar issues (peer support)
- Speaking with family, friends and caregivers who you feel will are supportive
It is normal to have many different emotions and thoughts while experiencing health changes. Speak with a team member to get support.