Hello, my name is Melissa. I was diagnosed with kidney disease about 7 years ago. I am a proud mother of two beautiful young children, Veronica and AJ, wife to my husband Dan, and dedicated career woman as an Enrolled Agent. I am searching hopefully for a kidney so that I can live for my family as long as possible. This is my story.
At the time of my diagnoses, my nephrologist and I chose to move forward with treatment of the associated high blood pressure and made adjustments to my diet. Everything was stable until July of 2011. We had just decided to look into a kidney biopsy when we found out we were pregnant with my son AJ.
I did not fair so well during pregnancy, and my kidneys began to fail toward the end of the pregnancy. Everything stabilized after delivery and I did well for a year. A year later, my labs began to show decreasing function again, so in 2013, we chose to move forward with a biopsy.
We learned that I had Focal and Segmental Glomerularsclerosis with interstitial scarring. I was told it was not genetic, so we would not have to worry about the kids developing issues later. I immediately started immunosuppressive therapy to try to halt the scarring. To our frustration, I did not respond well to prednisone and we tried several other drugs. None have had a positive effect and my function has continued to decrease.
Last October my GFR (kidney function) dropped below 20 for the first time. Unfortunately, I had to decide what kind of dialysis I wanted to prepare for and we scheduled appointments to discuss placement on the transplant list.
I had surgery on March 1, 2017, to prepare for hemodialysis. They told me that the best plan of action for me would be to have a transplant prior to starting dialysis, but that the waiting list is 5 years regardless of blood type.
Right now, my GFR is 17 (about 17% function). Due to this, I suffer from extreme exhaustion constantly, continue to have a very limited diet, and have to avoid even foods such as healthful greens. Needless to say, while I persist and give every day my all, this makes being a mother horribly difficult, not to mention being a wife and trying to maintain a career. I am listed on the United Network for Organ Sharing list and am searching hopefully for a potential living donor.
Finding a living donor would impart to me the gift of 10-15 years of increased quality of life. I desire with all my heart to experience as much life with my children as possible. However, this would require a living donor who has the surgery performed in Colorado. Kidneys do not always like to “turn back on.” If they come from across the country or from a deceased donor, there is the high probability the kidney would fail immediately and also suffer a decreased functional period.
The odds are discouraging as I am one of the approximate 117,000 people who is waiting for a transplant. However, I am choosing to remain positive, hopeful, and not give up. To learn about living donation, please see the link I have attached to the UNOS website. I have also included a link to take a questionnaire through the University of Colorado for anyone interested in exploring donation to me, directly. For your reference, my blood type is “O.” Thank you for your support, time, and consideration. This is literally my second chance at life.https://www.unos.org/http://www.uchealthlivingdonor.org/