Aug. 2008-junior year of high school, diagnosed with FSGS
How You Can Save a Life
am not like most girls my age, but at the same time I am. I was in college at USF when I started dialysis, and I continued until I graduated May 6, 2016. I maintained my job and continued my acting classes on a regular basis.
However, at the end of the day, I'm just a girl in need of a transplant while trying to pursue my dreams. More specifically, I need a kidney transplant.
I was diagnosed with a kidney disease called FSGS in 2008, and I went into failure June of 2014. I have been on dialysis since, receiving treatment three times a week, for three hours, starting at 5:45 a.m. I have had several complications, more than most dialysis patients should. My doctor has told me I am the most complicated patient he has ever seen. I've had a blood infection that lasted a year, on and off; fluid in my lungs; multiple blood clots in my heart, lungs and clavicle; surgery on my stomach to place a port and then again to remove it; five catheter exchanges on the right side of my chest and three catheter exchanges on the left; nasal surgery to clear the congestion in my head to prevent a brain infection--unrelated to the disease, but it didn't help with everything else going on. My doctor even told me that I had a 50/50 chance of surviving when I had those two clots in my lungs. He also said that every year I'm alive is a miracle. Did you know that the majority of dialysis patients don't live past 20 years on dialysis and those with catheters don't live past five? Those are scary, but very real statistics.
Due to all this, and as a side affect, I've had a struggle with a fluctuation of weight, acne and hair loss. While these may not be the most important things, of course they're going to be important to me, being a young woman, which is perfectly normal. All of these things deal with my image and because I'm pursuing acting, image is everything. Not only that, but it compromises my confidence, self-esteem, and self-worth. There have many times where I have just started crying when I'm by myself. Of course I want to feel good about myself, but it's kind of difficult to do that when you're constantly worrying about how you look, which shouldn't be the case.
There have been so many times where I opted out of social events because I thought I shouldn't go because I thought I needed to stay home and rest, but now I regret not going. Obviously I know not to push myself, but I've noticed I have a lot of will power. I have only this one life, and I don't want to miss out on these memories. Thinking about the past few years, I can't really talk about exciting things I've done or even just going out on a Friday night because I haven't done those things. The past six months or so, I've been trying to say yes to everything. I'm in my 20's, I should be having a ball or even going to one! Haha.
So as you can see I act, look, and go through the same emotional issues as anyone my age. The only thing that sets me apart is that I need a new organ to live out my life, and I'm constantly in the hospital. Between July 25, 2015 and August 16, 2016, I have been hospitalized 66 days over the course of five visits.
The bottom line is though, is that I don't want this kidney issue to define me. I mean, you would never know there was anything wrong with me by just looking at me. It was kind of cool in the beginning because I got extra time on exams or special accommodations on airplanes, but now I'm tired of it. You see my whole plan was to just wait on the waiting list because I could never ask of someone to donate their kidney. You know how you wouldn't take money from a friend? Well that's how I felt about it, and this is an organ we're talking about! And what if that person needed it down the road? I would feel so guilty. This is why I was willing to just suck it up and wait for that call. Honestly I didn't mind. But when I started having all these complications, life-threatening complications, I knew I really had to bite the bullet and do something about it.
June 2014-just finished junior year of college, first week of dialysis
WANT TO HELP?
Since I now have had a transplant, which occurred December 13, 2016, I no longer need a donor. However there are hundreds of thousands of people in the world who do need them!
While I finally had the surgery that saved my life, you can still save another person's life. Information is below.
The GOOD News:
1.) You don't have to pay for a single thing, not the transplant or follow up appointments
2.) There aren't really any side affects
3.) You won't have any food or fluid restrictions.
4.) You will be perfectly normal and healthy. After all you, do only need one kidney to live.
What To Expect:
1.) You'll only be in the hospital about 2-3 days
2.) You'll have a 4-5 inch incision where your bikini line is
3.) You'll have a two week follow up with the doctor to make sure everything is okay
4.) Prepare to be out of work for about a month, but hey, you are saving someone's life!
The number to call if interested is 813-844-5669 and you'll probably either speak to Bill or Nina from the program called LifeLink. They are the ones who deal with transplants. You can save a life.