I am a Kidney Warrior

Before I was a Kidney Warrior I was a Marine

 

End-Stage Renal Disease (the last stage of kidney disease) is a medical condition in which a person’s kidneys cease functioning on a permanent basis leading to the need for a regular course of long-term dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life (source: cms.gov).

 

Kidney Disease is one of the lesser known illnesses. Maybe because kidneys are a pair of the lesser known organs in the human body. Personally, I knew the bare minimum about kidney disease because of a relative who received a kidney transplant after being on dialysis for a few years. I thought it was just an old person’s/unhealthy overweight person’s disease. It would never happen to me.

 

 

 

 

I felt the healthiest I ever did in my life! In 2011, I was in Afghanistan …I was a Combat Camera Marine. And then one day my legs and face began swelling. After a few weeks of being stubborn, I finally went to medical. In a matter of days, I was immediately medically evacuated to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Germany. Two weeks in Germany, then back to the states to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. I got to spend a lovely amount of time there undergoing every test you could imagine to ultimately be diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder which caused my kidneys to fail.

 

 

 

 

This caused a bunch of “you can’t make this stuff up” life experiences that changed my entire life. I received my second chance at life on April 2, 2011. My living donor is the most selfless, caring person that I have ever met…except that I didn’t meet her until after she agreed to be my kidney donor. It took me feeling my life leave my body to reach out for help…and she found me.

My Living Donor-Faces of Kidney Disease

 

When I woke up from the transplant surgery, when I realized that it was over I started crying. I was so happy. It could have been the drugs, but all I could think is that I wanted everyone who survives by dialysis to feel the way that I do right at this moment.

 

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