"I am stronger than depression and braver than loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me".
-Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Once Upon a Time...

Over the years I have grown tired of retelling my story.  Every time a new resident comes in, I see a new specialist, ANYTHING new, I always get asked the same question - what happened to your native kidneys?  When it comes to medical personal, I don't usually have the patience to go over the past 18 years of my life when they can read it from my chart, but for those of you who don't know the story I will share it here and may even use this to fill in any new residents that come my way.

When I was seven, my parents noticed that something wasn't right.  I was tired, moody, struggling in school and eventually had blood in my stool.  I was taken to my family doctor first who then referred me to a specialist.  The rest happened very quickly.  I was diagnosed with kidney failure with an estimated 11% kidney function.  To this day they still don't exactly know what happened, but they put down reflux (when urine travels back through the urethra before passing through the bladder).  We started looking for kidney donors.  It came down to three individuals: my dad, my nana and my Great Aunt, Betty.  My nana was not in the ideal age bracket, my dad had three urethras (you are only supposed to have two, it was too much of a health risk for him to donate), but my Aunt Betty was a perfect match.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to move fast enough, and I needed dialysis for a short time before I got the actual transplant.  It was hell.  Not a whole lot went right.  There were machine issues, hernia issues, twin bag issues, missing school issues...it was so bad that the actual transplant itself was a relief.  I had my first transplant February 29th, 2000.  I called it magic day before it was leap year of the new millennium.  It was a success and I got 11 great years with it.

Transplanted kidneys, on average last about 10 years.  They can absolutely last longer, but that is just the average.  I received my second transplant on March 9th, 2011.  I was in university.  The second time around it was my numbers and how I was feeling that indicated it was time for another transplant.  Again, I was tired, moody, had concentration issues, and experienced high blood pressure, low hemoglobin, and a rising creatinine.  Luckily, we were able to get ahead of the game this time and avoid dialysis.  I received my second transplant from my mom's cousin's wife, Jen.  It was a good match.  The first year after transplant is the most vulnerable.  That's when there is the highest risk for rejection, infection, etc.  The year after my second transplant I experienced EBV, Meningitis, little bouts of rejection, low white blood cells, etc.  It was rough and caused scaring on my new kidney.  Things started to look up from there, and I was able to get a few really great years.  I put a lot of stress on my body, running a studio and working long hours.  Between additional stress, scaring already on my kidney and plain bad luck my body started to reject my new kidney.  

That brings us more or less to present day, minus a few details (hey, you got more than most residents do...).    

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