Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I hope you find this information about kidney disease, treatments, transplants, and the healing that transplants provide, educational and interesting. It has been for us, particularly in the last year.
Here is my story:
In a nutshell, I need a kidney transplant.
I’m a man of few words. I don’t think I could say it more concisely or more honestly.
In 2009 and 2010, I was first diagnosed with Type II diabetes and later with chronic kidney disease (CKD). The diabetes also impacted my eyesight, which has been treated for over 10 years. As it turns out diabetes runs in my family (my dad and his mother). I also learned that Dad struggled with kidney disease and contemplated dialysis, all just before passing in 2009.
Beginning in 2009, I was treated by a terrific team of medical doctors and staff in Dallas. The doctors for my kidneys and my eyes in Texas educated us, explained the options, and took precious time to keep us informed and calm. We monitored quarterly labs, office visits six to eight times a year, and changing medication routines. The professionals also worked diligently on slowing my deteriorating vision, preserving much of my vision. I am an accountant by trade, and an accountant with poor eyesight doesn't really work well (grin). Patti, my wife, was right by my side coaching about diet, making sure I was taking my medicine, handling the logistics for doctor appointments, labs and later on, travel back and forth to Dallas. This continued while we worked and lived in New Orleans and Houston. We always returned to Dallas to see those doctors and two of our kids who live in the state. Things were stable, although we knew the prospects were not great.
I told selected people at my work (PwC, an accounting firm) that I had diabetes starting in 2009. I did not tell them about my kidney disease, as I thought I had time before I traversed Stages 3 and 4 of CKD.
For 30 years, I considered myself a high performer at PwC. Work was hard. Travel was not mandatory, but high performers did it. Hours were long (known in the accounting profession). The work environment was changing with new services, new relationships, etc. By 2014, I almost called it quits, but I was staffed on a project that did not require travel. The long hours and changing environment continued, but reduced travel helped keep me going.
I love PwC. Even though the last few years were a struggle, I loved almost every day of the 30 years I worked there. I'm what some call an "old-school" accounting professional. Those close to me often said that PwC was my life; I know better - my life is much, much more than my job.
But, because I struggled keeping up with the long days and changes in the firm, I received my first poor performance review. I was not happy with the review, but I knew I wasn't hitting the marks on the hours or adapting to the changes. The firm proposed a plan to change my responsibilities to an administrative role, which I didn't agree with either. I thought about quitting, but I kept it to myself. I had intended to stay another five years or so along with my good friend, who I had worked with since 1990.
Around Thanksgiving a friend said to me, "Why don't you retire? You have enough years, right?
Patti and I discussed what he said carefully and decided retirement was best for me and for our life. So at the end of December, 2019 I reluctantly "retired" from PwC. When I told my boss and my friend that I was "done", they asked why and I told them that I wasn't happy with the performance review and the administrative role proposed was not a good fit. I did not mention my illnesses or the toll it had taken on my body for the reason that I didn't want them or the firm to make an exemption from a poor review because of my health.
After retiring from PwC, Patti and I moved to Nevada in January, 2020. We returned to Dallas in March for regular doctor visits. As my conditions continued to worsen, we were told to find a new medical team in Nevada where we lived, to be prepared for dialysis treatments, and to explore kidney transplant options.
Then came COVID 19 and the world shut down. I kept the search for a new medical team on my to do list.
In June, 2020 I had a low blood sugar level one night causing me to pass out, fall to the floor, and open a long cut on my head. Off I went in the ambulance to get stitched up. Luckily, no major head injury!
However, it was not all good news. After reviewing my lab results, the hospital told me that my kidney function was virtually gone. I started hemodialysis the next day until I could transition to peritoneal dialysis in August. I continue that treatment at home to this day, every 14 out of 24 hours.
We've learned more about kidney transplants in great detail. The more we learned, the more we wanted to try to get one. I received referrals to two facilities; the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ, and the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT. I am now on the approved transplant list at both hospitals.
We also learned about deceased and living donor programs. At first, I struggled with the living donor program as I didn’t think someone would sacrifice so much to help me live. As the doctors and team at Mayo explained more about living donors, I opened up to the possibility of a living donor and am now very hopeful and excited.
That is a big reason why I am telling my story; to find a person(s) who might be willing to explore giving a kidney to me. I have years to enjoy with my wife, our four children and their spouses, four grandchildren, friends, extended family and people whom we haven’t even met yet! Before CKD changed my life, I had not realized how many people cared about me and wanted me around!
If you or someone you know might have an interest in learning more about kidney disease and transplants, I urge you to contact Patti or me. You may also contact the Mayo Clinic Living Donor Team with your questions or to simply learn more about the screening process or transplant process. In addition, the University of Utah Kidney Transplant website link is provided to explain their program as well. I have heard so many heartwarming stories from people - those who were donors, those who have tried or are trying to be a donor. It is a great boost to my morale and has renewed my faith in mankind!
My Mayo Clinic patient number is 12-866-874. The Living Donor phone number is 480-342-1010 (ask for the living donor team), or complete the Mayo Clinic's Living Donor online form. Additional information for living donor candidates can be found at the Mayo Clinic's Transplant Center website. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/transplant-center/living-donor-transplantation/gnc-20203911
The University of Utah's phone number is 1-801-581-2634 or toll free at 1-800-824-2073. The website is as follows. (https://healthcare.utah.edu/transplant/kidney
Among the things we learned about kidney disease and donors:
- Dialysis treatments may extend life for a time, but is difficult on the body. Transplants extend life longer and provide a return to “normal” life that extends beyond dialysis treatment.
- Living donors can be almost anyone. There are tests that will compare many attributes – beyond blood type – to find my match. All potential donors get a comprehensive physical exam among other procedures.
- If a donor candidate does not “match” me, but does match another patient, and that patient’s donor matches me, the “Donor-Pair” program may help both patients get transplants.
- Living donors have their own care team at Mayo Clinic or University of Utah, to protect the privacy and look out for the donor’s interests.
- My health insurance participates in covering the costs of the donor’s medical bills. Each hospital can provide more details.
- Living donors are generally on restricted activities for six-eight weeks after a short stay at the hospital for the procedures.
I am a problem solver by trade. I have always been able to understand the problems in front of me, map out a plan to resolve them, execute the plan, and move forward. This kidney problem is different. I am afraid. I cannot solve it alone. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider my story. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. We hope one of our prayers will be answered with a kidney that will extend my life.
Be safe and be well.
Mark A Taylor
P.S. Thank you to those who edited my typos, grammar, and helped make it so I "don't write like I talk." Many took the time to talk with me and ask questions to pry more details and info out of me. As a result, I added more to the small paragraphs, even added more content in new paragraphs. Thanks to all who helped move me along.
1) The smaller picture on my site is Patti and me on our date to Commander's Palace in New Orleans.
2) The family photo was taken during my birthday weekend in 2019. The couples (adults) from the left are: Allison, Fiancée to our son Britton (Utah); son Max and wife Casey (Texas); Patti and me; daughter Ashley and husband Jeff (Utah); and daughter Annie and husband Clay (Texas). The young ones in front are Ashley's and Jeff's children, our terrific grandchildren!