Today is July 7, 2012. Today I celebrate 25 years since my successful kidney transplant at Vancouver General Hospital.
I had always enjoyed good health growing up, so it was shock to me at 18 years old to have
myself rushed into the hospital with blood pressure of something like 210 over 90. After ten days of tests I booked myself out and then they put me back in for more tests including a biopsy.
In 1978 I learned then I had a hereditary condition called Alport Syndrome. They told me if I was lucky I would stay healthy for ten or twelve years before needing dialysis; but they were wrong.
In 1982 I was already feeling weak, tired and worse. In 1983 while my wife was pregnant with our daughter Mandy I was in the hospital having surgery to begin peritoneal dialysis. It was stressful on all of us, and if not for the support and love of my family I probably would have overreacted somehow. That support and love carries a person through the dark times.
In 1985 I had suffered through some painful peritonitis episodes and it was time to try hemodialysis. I was placed on the transplant list then as well and started to dream.
In April 1986 I had my first transplant or graft on my left hip. That night of the surgery we were so happy. Four days later I woke up in terrible pain, blood clots were clogging tubes and I got them to remove the tube and then I could sleep again. The transplant was working, but it was not to last. After five months of trying and enduring all types of treatments, and being the only one of four in my room to survive the summer – it was time to give up. I went back on hemodialysis in September and went finally home to enjoy my family.
July 1987 I got the call for another transplant. This time we were still battle-scarred from the previous year. As we drove to the hospital we realized I could not endure another five months in the hospital and related treatments. We planned my will as we drove, and hoped for the best. This time it didn’t start working. After 4 days the surgeons said we will remove it in the morning. That night it began to work and so began my journey leading to today.
I left out a lot of detail of those years 1982 to 1987 because it’s past and done. What is really nice is appreciating all the years since then when I have not needed to do any type of dialysis whether four times a day on peritoneal or 3 times a week on hemodialysis. On top of the time saved I have also been much healthier and free to travel and be with the friends and family that make life so special.
I have much to be grateful for in life, thankful to the family that gave permission for the organ transplant. My wish for anyone who reads this post that they also count their blessings and that is always a worthwhile exercise.
- Alport Syndrome and Receiving Social Security Disability Benefits (socialsecurityhome.com)