Marty received a kidney transplant June 11th, 2017 from a deceased donor.
I began having problems with my kidney function at 13 years-old (Glomerulonephritis). I had my first kidney transplant in 1997 when I was 21 years old. My step-father was a perfect match to be a living kidney donor for me. I was so blessed! It was easy to find a donor, and I was able to skip dialysis and go straight into surgery. That kidney lasted me 19 years, and my step-father has had no problems or complications after donating.
But beginning in November 2015, my health started declining. It began with leg edema (swelling). Then came the anemia, the nausea and vomiting, the loss of appetite and weight loss, the high blood pressure, and the excessive daytime fatigue. A kidney biopsy in September 2016 confirmed that I once again was suffering from acute on chronic Glomerulonephritis. My kidney had reached its well-overdue expiration date, and so the search for a new kidney began. I started dialysis in January 2017.
I am currently registered on the kidney transplant wait list with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, SC.
Since September 2016, I have had 55 people test to see if they are a match for me, but so far none are. It is because of my high antibody level. After having one transplant and so many blood transfusions, my PRA level is a 98, making me incompatible with 98% of the population. It's not impossible that I will find a match, but it is certainly proving to be much more challenging than my first time around.
I have three people who have been approved for Paired Kidney Exchange program, and all three of them are on the wait list with me. We are just waiting on an offer. But in the meantime, my family and I made the decision to keep the search alive for a direct donor. We were encouraged to not put all of our eggs in one basket, so we are keeping the conversation going and the search alive and well.
During this journey, support has come from my family, my friends, my colleagues, my church... I'm surrounded by so many good and faithful people.
My first kidney transplant gave me the chance to have a career in law enforcement, to get married, and to have a family. For the 19 years after my transplant, I lived a very normal, active, and healthy life. I can never repay my step-father for giving me his kidney, but I hope I've made him proud. I've enjoyed my life so far and am looking forward to many more years to come.
I'll never forget how my mom and my wife have taken care of me when I haven't felt well. And they have made sure that my daughters were cared for when I couldn't be there for them. My mom and my wife are the best, and I couldn't have gotten through everything I've been through without both of them by my side, encouraging me.
For others who are living with kidney failure and are in need of a transplant, don't get discouraged. There's a match out there for everyone.
I've proven that kidney disease does not define a person. Whether you are on dialysis or living with just one kidney, you can have a great life.
I've had to make sacrifices in my life due to kidney failure and a life on dialysis. I really miss working out at the gym. Even though I can still exercise (a little), I have a hard time doing it the way I used to. I've played sports all my life and have always enjoyed lifting weights and running. I really miss doing these activities and can't wait to have the energy and the strength to get back at it.
I also had to take a backseat at work. All my life, I've been a police officer. But in my current health, I'm unable to chase down bad guys and get in high speed chases, things like that. So I'm still at the Sheriff's Department, but I'm doing a desk job now. I miss the work I was doing, but I'm lucky to work where I do, because they have been so good to work with me through all of my health issues. I'm looking forward to getting back in a uniform, though.
My biggest fear living with kidney failure is leaving my family without a husband and a father.
I wish more people knew the struggles of a person with kidney failure including how long the wait is. I would ask everyone to please consider being a donor and saving someone's life.
I do my best to maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life. I don't allow myself to think about the negative stuff. I go to work and enjoy being around my co-workers, and then I come home and enjoy being a dad and a husband. And I just won't allow myself to dwell on things that I have no control over. It's a conscious decision I've made to keep a positive outlook on life.
I had a kidney transplant in 1997.
I had two total hip replacements - one in 2005 and the other in 2009.
I had an aortic dissection in 2006 and was rushed into emergency open heart surgery. Miraculously, my life was saved on that operating table.
I have a metal heart valve.
I take 12 medications every day, four of which are for blood pressure.
I am now on dialysis - 3 sessions a week/4 hours each session.
I've overcome a lot in 40 years. And I'm not done yet!
Please follow Marty's story on social media and SHARE his need for a new kidney. There is a living kidney donor out there somewhere for him.
Location: Lexington, SC