I last gave myself a report card in May of 2013. I thought it would be fitting to give myself another one now . . .

End of first year of blogging.

Almost beginning of 2014.

My goal is to write an honest self-assessment of how I think I’m doing.

There are a few reasons why I started this blog (now over a year ago in November 2012):

  • to share my story
  • to get in practice of writing regularly
  • to build relationships with other like-minded people

AND . . .

  • to have someone to be accountable to (that someone being YOU)

(Accountability. An obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.)

With the experience and wisdom of a year behind me, my mission and my goals have evolved. 🙂

My goal is to share my message(s) in a way that raises awareness of chronic kidney disease and life with chronic illnesses through the tools of patient experience advising, public speaking, advocacy and writing. Ultimately my goal is to be of service towards improving the lives of fellow patients – and my life too.

One of my most important messages is around the benefit of fitness to the lives of people living with kidney disease (and chronic illnesses in general). At the present time this is accomplished through my example as a person who works hard to live a fit life . . . and through the opportunity to share my example with doctors, clinicians and medical professionals. I call this my “sick to fit journey”.



  • Patient Experience Advising
  • Public Speaking
  • Advocacy
  • Writing
  • Dialysis Schedule
  • Fitness Schedule
  • Platform and Presence


REPORT: (with grades)



  • to offer and provide the patient perspective to health and medical based organizations
  • to partner with clinicians and executives to improve practice and policy in order to improve the lives of fellow patients
  • to help change the culture of medicine to include the patient perspective at all “tables” where patient related practice and policy are discussed 


(I’ve had the opportunity to share my perspective as a patient with my hospital, but also with some regional and provincial committees. I share through email feedback, conference calls, conferences and telephone meetings. I feel heard and appreciated.)


  • to use my experience to raise awareness of kidney disease, heart disease, life with chronic illnesses and towards general motivation through speaking


(Although I’ve had some amazing opportunities to share my message through public speaking, I am not speaking consistently.)


  • to share my story and experience for the benefit of other patients in different forums
  • to develop all possible areas of advocacy (“sick to fit”, home (independent) dialysis, chronic illnesses, Heart & Stroke, Kidney Foundation, kidney disease, patient experience advisor-ship)


(I’ve had the opportunity to share my story at many conferences and meetings. I’ve begun to speak on a range of topics and for a range of organizations. I have reached out to organizations for the chance to further share my messages. I’ve worked with the media to raise awareness in conjunction with key events.) 


  • to share my experience through the medium of writing
  • to pitch to publications
  • to post two blog entries a week on blog


(I have not kept up with the blog post schedule perfectly. I have pitched some articles to publications – with little traction. I have taken advantage of writing experiences that have presented themselves such as short essays for health publications and writing for videos.)


  • to do home hemodialysis no less than 20 hours a week


(I have kept my schedule of close to 20 hours a week. I asked for a new dialysis access so I could best capitalize on getting good treatments when I am on the machine. I have also benefited from a new dialyzer (artificial kidney) that clean my blood better than previous models. My blood work looks good.)


  •  maintain my gym schedule (4 to 5 classes a week)
  • become certified


(I have been as consistent with my gym schedule as possible with my volunteer schedule and a few minor health setbacks. On my best weeks I take between 5 and 8 classes. I am working at incorporating brisk, outdoor walking on the days I am unable to get to the gym. Free weights, core work and stretching are part of the weekly class schedule – but I do supplement as needed. I have not pursued any formal certifications yet.)


  • to share my message(s) in bigger and bigger forums to raise awareness of kidney disease, heart disease and chronic illnesses


(Although I am raising my profile to be a more prolific messenger, I am still relatively unknown. I am building a platform for myself on a good foundation.)


ACTION . . . ACTION . . . ACTION . . .

In general, I am happy and proud of what I have accomplished so far. I am eager to improve though and I will continue do the work. I will list a few things I can do to improve my “grade” in the areas above.

Patient Experience Advising – I can reach out to more organizations to share my perspective in different forums.

Public Speaking – I can reach out to complimentary organizations to see if my message(s) can contribute to their strategies.

Advocacy – I can work on all tools to disseminate my message. I can reach out to more organizations and build on the relationships with organizations I already work with.

Writing – I can continue to write when I am presented with opportunities. I can revisit some of the publications I pitched to as my platform broadens.

Dialysis Schedule – I can continue to dialyze at my current rate. I can take advantage of adding extra half hours to my treatments when possible.

Fitness Schedule – I can continue to go to the gym but build a more effective home and travel schedule for when I can’t get to the gym. Use home equipment, the gym in hotels, walk and use TV and YouTube classes more. I can find out when the personal fitness certification classes are offered – as well as Zumba Gold.

Platform and Presence – I can complete my branding package. I can build my website – a do-it-yourself-kit. I can finish my introduction video for use on website. I can work to create momentum in the projects I am completing through sharing press releases, blogging, Facebook and YouTube. I can video blog to build my YouTube channel.


Closing thoughts:

I am PROUD that my current goals are going relatively well. I am willing to do the work to improve the areas that need attention – and I have a plan to do that.

It’s not a great feeling to share my short-comings with you. Luckily there is time to improve. Now that my year is over I feel less pressure. I am looking at a more bigger-picture idea of success.

(Please don’t take self-reflection as me being hard on myself. I believe in challenging myself. I also know that if I’m not honest with myself – or if I baby myself – I will not achieve my goals.)

Thanks for joining me in this journey (now bigger than a year) and giving me the gift of “accountability”. Doing this alone, it would be easier for me to just move forward blindly without any honest reflection on how I’m doing.

Make sure there are people who you are accountable to with your goals. It is a little uncomfortable but it makes a huge difference in getting meaningful results.





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