Good news! Bob received a kidney on October 29, 3013 and reports that he is doing very well. Congratulations, Bob, and best wishes to you as you begin your new life!
My name is Bob. I’m fifty-four years old and live with my wife, Marty, in upstate South Carolina. We are fortunate to live on a lake, as we enjoy the outdoors, camping, motor-boating, and kayaking. Most of all, we LOVE dogs! I keep fit by bicycling and taking our four-legged “kids”--Boston Terrier Angie and Cocker spaniel Effie--for long daily walks. Marty and I love watching movies together, and I’m an avid reader. I’ve been a nurse practitioner nearly twenty years, and a nurse for more than thirty. Currently, I work at a free clinic in my community.
I am in need of a kidney transplant due to an inherited condition called Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). PKD is an incurable, usually fatal disease in which fluid-filled cysts grow in both kidneys and causing massive enlargement.
I have known that I have this condition since the late 1970's, when my mother was diagnosed with end-stage kidney disease as a result of PKD. Because this is an inherited condition and my parents had five children, all of us kids were screened. Four out of the five of us were indeed diagnosed with the disease. Everything was fine for me until March, 2010, when I learned that I, too, was in kidney failure.
Ever since learning of my mother’s illness and witnessing her tremendous suffering, I’ve been fearful that the same would happen to me. She began dialysis when I was about twenty years old. Reflecting on the countless times my she had been there for me as a child, I determine to do the same. And so, after she was diagnosed and the roles were reversed, I sat by her side during each dialysis treatment. It was heartbreaking to watch my my mother endure severe nausea and whole-body cramping so excruciating that she had to be sedated. But I loved her with every fiber of my being, and it seemed least I could do. I would have moved heaven and earth if I could have changed the outcome. Sadly, she died after eighteen months of dialysis at age 57.
Now, I too am living that nightmare. I feel lucky that my disease is not yet as advanced as my mother’s when she was my age. In fact, aside from my kidney condition, am in great health. Increasingly, though, I struggle with overwhelming fatigue, poor appetite, nausea, and vomiting as my PKD progresses. As a health professional, I am all too aware of what is to come.
I’ve been on the list for a deceased-donor kidney about 15 months, but the wait in my area of the country can be as much as five years. Medically speaking, my best chance for survival is to receive a living-donor kidney (as opposed to a deceased-donor kidney) and to do so before dialysis is inevitable. Thus, my physician is strongly encouraging me to seek a living donor.
Because of our family history of PKD, none of my blood relatives are able to donate. Although Marty and four other generous individuals have stepped forward, they’ve been determined ineligible to donate.
My family and friends have known me as a helper throughout my life. In fact, it was my experience with my mother that led to my career as a nurse. Now I’ve been thrust into the opposite role...that of being a “helpee” rather than a helper. So it’s with great difficulty that I turn to you to ask for help.
I have type AB blood, which means that a person of any blood type is a potential match. If you would like to be tested to see if you could be a donor, you may contact me personally by phone, e-mail, or via Facebook (info below). Or, if you prefer to remain anonymous, you may contact my transplant coordinator, Sara Parker, at the Medical University of South Carolina (contact info below).
My insurance covers all transplant-related expenses, including any lost wages. You need not be a resident of South Carolina to donate, and except for a final test and meeting with MUSC’s transplant team, a potential donor can usually be tested at his or her local medical facility. For those who live far away, my insurance covers transportation, lodging, meals, and car rental for a donor and companion.
If you like, you may contact me personally via phone, e-mail, or my Facebook page. I welcome your questions and am happy to help in any way I can.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to tell my story and for considering my request. I will be forever grateful to that special person who makes the decision to give me the Gift of Life. If you are unable to donate but would like to help, please share my story with others by clicking on the icons below. Thanks so much!
Sincerely, with hope and prayers,
To reach me personally:
My transplant coordinator:
Sara Parker, RN
Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC)
Clicking on the first 4 icons will allow you to share my story via Google, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail, respectively. Clicking on either of the last 2 icons will also allow you to print, bookmark, or share my story on Blogger, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Thanks so much for helping me publicize my story!