It was almost Christmas 1985, I developed severe stomach cramps with vomiting. After several tries with different medications to no avail, I was taken to the ER.
I was diagnosed with a Bladder infection that had spread to my Kidneys and they were infected too. I had to stay several days in the hospital and even spent Christmas in the Children's Ward. I hated it because I was 16 and "not a kid"!
I got better and was released, but was told to follow up with a Nephrologist. At the Doctor's it was determined that my Kidneys were scarred and not functioning nomally anymore. This was the start of years and years of semi-annual blood tests, urine tests & doctor after doctor visits. I also had a Biopsy & several Ultrasounds to follow the progress.
At one referred Specialist, he demanded that I get a Kidney Transplant "NOW!", after being alarmed, I went for a second opinion. "No, don't worry, your numbers may be high, but that's your 'normal', they haven't changed much in the last ten years". Several have advised against having children, but I ignored them and had two beautiful children, without even a "hiccup" in my numbers.
There were several years of no monitoring and followups, as "life got in the way", with being Momma, and our family moving to the United States. I finally remembered and scheduled a new Nephrologist. We started from scratch and I went through a whole battery of tests and blood work. I finally learned the full details of my condition. My kidneys were functioning at about 20% and she suggested that I get listed for a Kidney Transplant. Since I was still pretty healthy otherwise, and not on Dialysis yet, it was a good time to do so. Statistics state that once someone starts Dialysis, their kidney function takes a big drop so my doctor wanted to avoid that.
We went to Tulsa almost on a weekly basis for different types of tests: ultrasounds, blood work, check-ups and more! At one point they took 15 vials of blood,, then I had to walk to the other side of the hospital for another appointment. The interpreter I was with kept asking "you alright? I don't do good in panic situations" "I'm fine, but if I pass out, where better to do it? Just grab someone in a white coat fer crying out loud".
My Center has great statistics on their Kidney Transplants and Survival rates (higher than the National Average), but they do encourage Living Donor transplants as those rates are always higher than a Cadaver donor. The waiting time will be reduced drastically too, several months compared to several years.
I have no brothers or sisters, my husband is "disqualified", my children are too young & my folks are too old. Most of my family is back in Canada and I feel it's too much to ask them to take time off work, leave their families, endure a surgery, etc. just for me.
The only effects I'm having now is fatigue. I tire easily and have to plan events with enough "recovery time" in between. Other than that, I'm pretty healthy! *Knock on Wood*
For more information, please check out the Saint John's Medical Center's Kidney Program.