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RICHMOND, Ind.–Kidney disease is not a sentence, says Mac McCammon. He’s on dialysis and has to report to Fresenius Kidney Care in Richmond. McCammon said he could choose to see his kidney disease in a negative way, but instead has chosen to come up with some kidney-friendly recipes to share.

“You have to limit a lot of things. There’s not much that I do not eat. But, it has to be prepared a different way and I have to really limit my intake on a lot of things,” said McCammon, 53, a personal chef and caterer.

When McCammon lost his wife to cancer, he ended up going on dialysis. McCammon he did not look after himself well enough while he was taking care of his wife. His main limitations now include watching his sodium intake and fluids.

“The dialysis doesn’t replace one hundred percent of what the kidneys do,” said Angie Thumb, a dietician at Fresenius. “So, along with diet, medication and dialysis, we’re able to maintain the patient’s health.

“The one thing that really killed me was when I was told I couldn’t eat as much asparagus as I wanted to,” said McCammon. He said he’s developed recipes that he’s sharing with the patients and staff at the clinic, including cale greens that are sauteed, rather than prepared in water.

“He was grateful enough to come up with some really good flavor enhancements and things not using as much sodium, still using foods that patients would like and maybe think that they couldn’t have, but they can,” said Thumb.

One of those recipes was a dry-aged ribeye steak.

“I’m aging that for about a month and it’s gonna be really nice, tender. I’m gonna trim it away for ’em. Nice cuts, and it’s gonna melt in their mouth.”

McCammon said the trick to not letting kidney disease and dialysis rule his life is in how he looks at it, his attitude.

“The cars that I have been dealt, I have to play them and I can’t bluff my way out it.”

But, McCammon says he’s more determined than ever that dialysis is not a sentence. 

PHOTO: Getty Images/Designer 491