My name is Michael Garcia. I'm 37, and I live in Temple, Texas, with my wife, Heather, and our 2 boys, Brandon, 11 and Benjamin, 5.
I started my kidney journey 2 years ago when I had a blood pressure reading of 300/198. Doctors hospitalized me immediately, thinking I was going to crash at any minute. An ultrasound revealed that my veins were severely narrowed and probably had been for about 10 years.
I was referred to a nephrologist, whom I saw following my release from the hospital. She prescribed some medication and determined that my kidneys had not been damaged.
A year later, I had 2 major strokes--one at home in my sleep, and one during an MRI. They affected my memory, eye-hand coordination, eyesight, and ability to read and drive. I couldn’t recognize my wife or children, and I reverted back to speaking Spanish. And, my kidneys were damaged. Luckily, 2 weeks in a rehab facility helped me regain much of my functioning, such as walking, showering, feeding myself, and so on.
My kidney functioning, however, was almost completely obliterated: I now have only 4%. As a result, I’m on home dialysis for 3.5 hours a day, 6 days a week. But dialysis can do only about 1/10th the work that a kidney can do. It's a short-term measure that keeps one alive temporarily.
For 12 years previous to the strokes, I’d worked a full-time night job stocking grocery shelves. My employer held my position open for me, and I was able to return to light-duty work after a month. I’ve since resumed my regular duties and am overnight manager of stockers, but the physical labor--which would make anyone tired--leaves me exhausted. In order to live a normal life, I must have a kidney transplant. Unfortunately, all my family members have health issues that prevent them from donating to me.
While a donor and recipient must have compatible blood types, my transplant center, Scott and White Memorial Hospital, participates in the Alliance for Paired Donation. This program matches one incompatible donor/recipient pair with another pair in the same situation. Thus, it is possible to donate even if your blood type and mine are not compatible.
If you would like to be tested to see whether you are a match for me, please contact my transplant coordinator, Michelle, at Scott and White Memorial Hospital in Temple, Texas: 1-800-792-37100 or 254-724-7548. My insurance covers all costs of testing and donating, and you do not have to be a resident of Texas to donate.
Heather, Brandon, Benamin, and I would like to spend many more years together. We thank you for reading my story and considering the possibility of living donation. Sincerely, Michael