My kidney story started about 15 years ago. I traveled quite a bit for work and on one of my trips I had terrible stomach pain... went to the ER and they told me I had diverticulitis, but I also had "an extraordinary amount of protein in my urine" and I should see my regular doctor as soon as I got home, which of course, I did.
I was immediately referred to a kidney specialist (Nephrologist), who was supposedly the "best in the DC area"... I was 40 years old and this doctor looked at me and said "you're in stage two kidney failure, you've got about 45% function right now". So I asked what was my course of action and he looked right at me and said "We don't know the source of your kidney failure, you aren't eligible for a transplant, so you just live with it, there's nothing we can do for you.". Essentially, he was telling me "Sorry, but you're doomed.". I am not one to wallow in self pity, so I just went about my life as best I could.
Fast forward two years later, we move from the DC area to the Augusta area... get new family physician. He looks over my chart and notices the kidney issue... he wants to refer me to a local specialist... I ask "what's the point?" but go anyway. A week later I meet Dr. Barton Brezina of Nephrology Associates in Augusta for the first time. I was less than thrilled, but it's my nature to be considerate and listen... but Dr. Brezina was asking me questions and talking about my treatment, so I said "Why bother, there's nothing you can do for me." and I explained what my previous Nephrologist had said. Dr. B asked me what my biopsy showed... I never had a biopsy.... so guess what? He scheduled one for me the following week. My biopsy showed no disease and Dr. B let me know that there was no reason I wasn't eligible for a transplant when and if that time ever came.
I am now Stage 5, getting ready to start dialysis and testing for an eventual transplant (I hope). Dr. Brezina and his staff have always given me hope and encouragement... I've never felt like my kidney disease was a death sentence with them and I've learned to fight and NEVER, EVER GIVE UP! Actually, that's my personal mantra "Never, ever give up". I'm tired some days, but I'm grateful for all days I'm blessed with.
I never knew how important it is to be cognizant of your kidney health, so I kind of preach it to everyone I know. Get your numbers checked, #HeartYourKidneys and get early treatment!
I’m challenging myself on and off the course to help raise funds to support the National Kidney Foundation (NKF) and the work they do to help the 73 million Americans at risk for kidney disease, the 30 million Americans living with chronic kidney disease, and those who care for and about them.
Did you know that 1 in 3 American adults are at risk for kidney disease? Major risk factors include diabetes, high blood pressure, a family history of kidney failure and being age 60 or older. Kidney disease often has no symptoms, and it can go undetected until very advanced. But a simple test can tell you if you have kidney disease.
NKF is leading the pace group in the fight against kidney disease and I am excited to join the pack! Will you join us by making a donation or challenging yourself too?
Every dollar counts, and I would be grateful for your support to help fight kidney disease!