I'm 40 years old, have been married for five years, and have twin sons that are 4.5 years old. I'm a registered veterinary technician, writer, and volunteer in the St. Louis community.
I struggled with medical issues from an early age, but did not receive the correct diagnosis of Lupus (SLE) until 2013. By then, years of incorrect medical treatments and the illness itself had taken a toll on my body. Officially the cause was deemed FSGS (Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis.) My kidney function has gradually decreased to its current level of 18%.
My diagnosis has affected my life in many ways. I was unable to have children due to my kidney disease, but my husband and I were fortunate to be able to adopt twin boys. Over this last year I'm frequently exhausted. It's difficult to be the kind of mom I always dreamed of being. I had to go part time at work.
My biggest fear is not living to see my boys grow up, and leaving my husband to raise them alone.
What I want people to understand is that Lupus and kidney failure is often an invisible disease. Before I told people how sick I was, no one knew, because I don't "look sick" most days.
I try to enjoy every moment. Life is so beautiful, and most of us take so much for granted.
Some quotes that help me get through the difficult days:
"All things must pass. Sometimes they pass like a kidney stone, but they pass."
"What doesn't kill me better start running."
How you can help:
Get in touch with the transplant coordinators to see if you might be able to help:
Follow Jenifer's journey and share her need for a
kidney on social media:
Name: Jenifer Newmark
Location: St. Louis Missouri
Date of Birth: 03/28/1977
Donor Blood Type Needed: O
A kidney paired exchange is an option so blood type match isn't a necessity if you are willing to donate to someone else so Jenifer can be matched with someone who is her blood type.