The day everything changed

It was 19 years ago today, February 24, 1999, when I found out I was experiencing Total Kidney Failure.  I am so grateful for where I am today.  Two transplants later, countless pills ingested, hundreds of doctor, and thousands of service hours rendered on my behalf.  What a journey it has bee.

I want to share with you some of the fun posts over the past few years.  It makes me happy to read them again and again.  Hopefully they will bring some joy to you.  I also hope that this milestone will show you that YOU can do hard things and that you can overcome the challenges in your life.  Be strong.  Be brave.  Have HOPE!

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I did not “biop-see”that coming

So one thing that is pretty certain whether you are recently diagnosed, doing dialysis, or post transplant, you will always have your blood drawn!  They check your labs on a regular basis so as to keep track of your progress or degradation.  My labs have been drawn nearly every two weeks for the last couple of months.  I started showing a pattern of increased Creatinine and protein in my urine.  These are not good things.

Usually I will go have my blood drawn and in about 4 days I will get a call from a friendly medical assistant to tell me what the results were.  In addition, he/she will relay to me what the Doctor thought and if there are any recommended medication changes.  A little over two weeks ago I missed a call from the Nephrologist office.  No biggies, I just figured the MA would leave a message saying everything was great and NO med changes were needed.  To my surprise when I listened to the message it was actually my Doctor’s voice.

Long story short, my numbers were not going in the right direction AGAIN.  He was recommending a Renal Biopsy.  This would help to see if I am showing any organ rejection, prograf toxicity, or kidney disease recurrence.  Once again, NOT GOOD THINGS.

Fast forward nearly a week and I found myself with my amazing Tina in tow, on a familiar path to Banner University Hospital in downtown Phoenix.  830am check in with a scheduled biopsy at 11am.  Checked in just fine and before I knew it I had an IV in my arm and was meeting the Doctor to perform the biopsy.  Funny thing, he is the same guy that did my last biopsy nearly 3 years ago when everything started going downhill.

This transplanted kidney from my daughter Kessa was placed in my left abdomen.  It was strange but Tina and I really had to make an effort to make sure they knew exactly where the kidney is located.  I guess not so funny since I have 4 of them, and hey, they don’t know, the orders just say to do a kidney biopsy.  Well we got that sorted out and I was prepped for the procedure when er….er………………ZZZZzzzzzzzz!

I woke up about an hour later in crazy pain!!  I wonder why!  I joke with my kids that they perform a biopsy with a giant McDonald’s Straw that has an Alien claw inside of it.  The Straw is stabbed into my abdomen just over the kidney.  Once lodged in my shiny new kidney, the ALIEN CLAW does its job by lunging out of the straw like the movie ALIEN.  The claw grabs a chunk of kidney tissue and then retracts.  Thank goodness the Straw and Claw combination obtained an acceptable amount of tissue thus preventing the need for a 2nd stabbing!!  Tissue sample was then sent off to the lab.

We returned home after 5pm and spent the next 24 hours resting as the pain began to subside.  We were anxious for results and then the call came.  Once again it was my Doctor calling and not the medical assistant or nurse.  I was nervous when I heard his voice, figuring he was delivering bad news himself.  The news was what I did not BIOP-SEE coming.  See what I did there?  🙂

Everything so far had pointed to rejection or at a minimum the kidney disease resurfacing again in this new, amazing kidney.  I had been preparing myself for that news and what the next actions would mean.  Med changes, hospital stays, and more.  He had a cheerful tone in his voice as he told me that everything looked NORMAL.  NORMAL?  I haven’t been referred to as normal, well since, EVER!!!!

What a relief.  So many prayers and well wishes offered by so many people.  I know this makes a difference.  It always has.  That is what has helped me and my family endure so many trials over the years.  I am made for greatness still in this life.  The journey or recovery continues and thank you for joining me.

Once again, please submit any questions you may have that I can answer for the group.  Send to 4kidneyman@gmail.com.  Have a great one!!

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The Used Kidney Buyers Guide

Are you wondering how much a new kidney would cost?   Or maybe for how much bitcoin or cold hard cash you could actually sell your kidney?  Well you’ve actually come to the wrong place then because that would be ILLEGAL. In all seriousness, if you are looking for a place to get advice and your real world questions answered about Kidney Disease, Dialysis, and Kidney Transplants, then you are in the right place.  Whether you are the actual person dealing with the disease or you are a friend or family member, I believe I can share some amazing thoughts and ideas that will help all of you on this journey.

Why here, why me, and why now?  I have spent more than twenty years battling the diagnosis of kidney disease and am currently recovering from my second kidney transplant.  Those 20+ years coping with everything in between those milestones in my life, uniquely qualify me to share my experiences and learning to all that are impacted by chronic illnesses.

I hope to share my continued recovery and the many years of experiences that will help all of you out there to be able to move forward with hope and optimism.  As per the title of this post, I will do this with some dry humor, a tad bit of sarcasm, and a lighthearted approach that will make it fun and exciting.  Kidney disease and all of its ugly cousins are serious enough….laugh a little and believe that through support and a positive outlook,  we can accomplish GREATNESS!  Fair warning: there will be tears.  We have experienced many miracles along the way that I will also share.

Lastly, I will be covering several topics over the coming weeks, drawing from my personal experiences.  In addition, I would love to get questions from you, your family, and your friends that I can help answer.  Please submit them here or directly to me at 4kidneyman@gmail.com.  I look forward to what can come from this and to see what I can learn from all of you.  I can’t wait to share with you why I am the 4KidneyMan!

Take luck!!

“I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter.”

— Walt Disney

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