My family and I know what it's like to deal with kidney disease. I was 13 when I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD).
PKD is where a cluster of cysts form inside your kidney. It changed a lot for me. I wasn't able to play any physical sports or do any heavy lifting because it can cause a cyst to burst. If that were to happen, I would be in severe pain.
It had an affect on my physical appearance. My stomach was big and it made me look like I had a beer belly. Both of my kidneys were the size of footballs and weighed from 20-25 pounds each. I've had plenty of doctor's appointments and numerous surgeries. PKD causes high blood pressure, so I had to take medication for that. I wasn't allowed salty foods.
PKD is hereditary and runs in my dad's side of the family. It can be depressing and very stressful. You often wonder, why me? What did I do to deserve this? And the answer is nothing. You did nothing. You were given this life because you are strong enough and brave enough to live this life.
I've been knocked down, but I got back up. I was very sick and in a lot of pain. In and out of the hospital numerous times. I missed my daughter's dance performances and my son's baseball games. I had my right kidney removed 2015 and my left removed in 2016. Fluid filled in where the kidney was and I had to have it drained out. I had three seizures and a mini stroke.
After I recovered from that I started to feel a lot better and stronger. I fought and I believed I could make it through. I was on the transplant list for 8.5 years and dialysis for 8 years before I got my kidney transplant on December 25, 2017 at Penn State Hershey Medical Center.
Other than this disease, I am healthy. My family and friends have been there to support me. They helped me get through the hard times. Just being around family helps. Listening to music also helps me when I start to feel down. There is no cure, only treatment. I take things one day at a time and live life to the fullest. You got to believe. I will not let it defeat me.
I get loud not for pity or for people to feel sorry for me. I want to share my story to let people who are going through the same thing as me know they are not alone. Be strong and we can get through this together. I feel much better now that I am open about my story. We need more people to speak out and bring awareness to kidney disease and the affects it has on everybody. I also want to raise awareness for organ donation. Together we can conquer kidney disease!
Location: Drums, Pennsylvania