After my first year of college, I was with my friends shopping. I ended up fainting and going to the ER. Shortly after I got my blood tests done, I was told I was at 11% kidney function. It wasn’t until I got to 2% that I started dialysis which was a bad mistake. My kidney disease is called FSGS.
I can’t do what normal 22 year olds do everyday. I have a lot of kidney failure symptoms, like shortness of breath, edema, chronic fatigue, barely making urine etc. Having kidney failure has made me realize there are so many more important things in life than the superficial and trying to fit in. There are people out there, including me, who struggle everyday just to make it by, and there are many who are unaware of it. Kidney failure has made me feel grateful for all the little things. Because after my numerous surgeries in a short period of time, I had to have a caregiver help me with everything. It made me grateful that I could walk and eat and see. All these little things I took for granted before. Being able to have strength back after dialysis because I couldn’t open a water bottle at one point.
My biggest fear with having kidney failure is that the symptoms I feel right now won’t go away one day.
I wish more people understood that it looks simple from the outside, but it is very complicated and difficult. Oh you don’t have a kidney? Well there’s dialysis! It’ll save you and give you energy! FALSE. There’s SOOOO much more to kidney failure that you can’t see. Like all the other health complications that come with it. How it feels like your life is ticking away because you’re so exhausted. Kidney failure is rough. Every year someone is on dialysis, years are cut off from his/her life. It’s a man made machine doing the job of a human organ, so you can see that that’s not the best option for a person.
I maintain a positive outlook because I am still able to be here today. I can still see my family, friends, boyfriend, and doggy. And even though it’s difficult to do normal things, at least I can still try and I have the opportunities to do so. It makes me look forward to the future that I might receive a kidney and be able to do more like travel. I also am in this position no matter what so I have that choice to be optimistic or pessimistic, and since my situation is unavoidable I always try to be optimistic!
Even though I look like a healthy 22 year old, the reality is that I rely on a machine to keep me alive. I don’t want to be tied down to this machine anymore. I want to be free and able to do things healthy people can do like traveling! And I hope I can one day with a new kidney!
University of California Los Angeles Hospital Living Donor Information - click here
Form to submit if you want to be considered as a donor - click here
Information about UCLA Paired Exchange (when you don't match but can still help) - click here
Name: Cheyenne HanLee
Email Address: Kidneyforchey@gmail.com
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Date of Birth: 12/14/95
Donor Blood Type Needed: B or O
Kidney Exchange is an option. If you are not a match for Chey but still want to help her, you can be put into the paired exchange system. You will be matched with a recipient who matches you and Chey will be matched with a donor that matches her. You essentially help save 2 or more lives. Paired Exchange can lead to creating a chain of donor and recipient pairs.