My story started when I was around 12 years old. I was very active at that age and played a lot of sports, especially soccer. I mysteriously started injuring myself, but more specifically it was my large toe on my right foot. I personally couldn’t remember how I injured my toe, and the doctors thought that all my pain was because I must have hurt it while I was participating in one of my many activities.
Fast forward a few years and at the age of 15, I came down with Mononucleosis. Well after a few blood tests and urine samples they noticed that my kidneys weren’t working as well as they should be. I was quickly referred to a nephrologist and diagnosed with urate nephropathy, which are high levels or uric acid that are found in the urine. Well, all of that helped solve the mystery of my injuries; I was actually getting gout at the young age of 12.
With medication I was able to control my high uric acid levels and maintain my kidney function until my mid-twenties. At that time my kidney function had started to decline and I was listed on the transplant list with the University of Washington on February 14th 2013. My goal was to skip dialysis so I was listed right when my GFR fell below 20. I had many friends and family members who tested to be my living donor, and each one didn’t work out for one reason or another.
My husband Tony decided to start his testing process in January 2015 and he turned out to be a perfect match. Unfortunately during his very last test the MRI, they found cancer in his right kidney and he was unable to donate to me. He had to undergo a partial nephrectomy to remove the tumor. He’s doing great now and we are so very thankful that they caught the kidney cancer early! Since I didn’t have a living donor, I had to start dialysis in July of 2015.
I decided to do peritoneal dialysis because it seemed to work with my active lifestyle the best. I went through all the training and once I started to actually dialyze at home, I experienced extreme pain in my peritoneum. They tried to adjust my catheter to help but the pain continued even after the surgery. At that point I decided to switch to in-center hemodialysis. I went in for surgery and had my PD catheter removed, a graft placed in my left arm and also a neck catheter was put in. The center used the neck catheter while my graft was healing.
Hemodialysis went pretty well. I loved my center and I loved my nurses! On March 24th 2016 at 10:30 PM I got the call that they had a cadaver kidney that they thought would be a good match for me. At 7:00 AM on March 25th I was sent in for surgery to have my transplant. One of the greatest days of my life! Since my transplant I feel like a whole new person and like my life is truly starting to begin. I will forever be so grateful to my donor and their loved ones because they honestly changed my life!