Although the day has come and gone when I celebrated my 10 year kidney day but I would be remiss if I didn't write a little bit about that day and the day 10 years ago when I got my life back.
When I was 20 years old I started experiencing symptoms that normal, healthy 20 year old people shouldn't experience. After a few tests and doctors offices I was diagnosed with ESRD or end stage renal disease caused by scarring of the kidneys. It was incurable and the deterioration would progress either slowly or quickly. With medication we tried to slow the progress but I was too far into the disease having acquired it in my senior year of high school. So I went on a low sodium diet and lots of meds.
Within a year my kidneys were quickly failing and I was facing the unknown of dialysis. I started dialysis in July of 96. Meanwhile, my sister Liz was starting off to college although we knew that in December we would do blood tests to see if she was compatible to donate a kidney to me the following summer. December came and the great news was that Liz was compatible and we all awaited the next June in 1997 for the transplant. Dialysis wasn't fun but it was necessary and it was better than the alternative. I learned a lot from being on dialysis and even though I was the youngest person there I learned a lot from those around me.
On June 25 Liz and I were wheeled into surgery to being the process of a kidney transplant. I can't even begin to describe how I felt that day. Even now 10 years later its hard to put into words how much I admire and love my sister for the selfless git that she gave to me. The whole transplant is highlighted by ups and downs. I have wonderful family and friends who came to the hospital and called and wrote in our transplant book and really supported all of us. I wish that I could name everyone in this post but I am sure that would get boring for the rest of you. Suffice it to say that everyone in my life was so supportive of me and of my family during this trying time.
And now 10 years later I am healthy and happy. I don't have to go to dialysis 3 days a week and spend 4 hours there. Nothing that could ever say or do for Liz would be comparable to what she has given me. Liz and Kyle came early in June to celebrate and we had a great time. Its hard to live so far away from her because of our connection. Having said that I also want to say that my mom and dad are fabulous and so great. My brother Ken and sister Margaret were also angels who helped Liz and I tremendously.
Please, please if you are an organ donor tell your family so your wishes will be known. Even if you put organ donor on your drivers license the powers that be have to get the consent of your family. Share your life, share your decision. For more information on kidney disease visit the National Kidney Foundations website here. For more information on transplantation you can visit UNOS and Transplant Living.
Love to you all and here's to another 10 years.