The Journey


Yes, your friend needs a kidney.

In 1999, I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. I have been managing the disease through healthy eating. Keep in mind that I can only be defeated by this disease in one or two ways—death or a kidney transplant. And death is not an option.

Your friend had open heart surgery in 2009. He had two surgery’s’ in one day. The first surgery was aortic valve replacement. The second surgery was to resuscitate me because I had died. My surgeon had to repair a leaky button that was attached to my new aorta and valve. Since this major surgery I have not had any cardiac issues. I am able to maintain the same lifestyle that I had prior to the surgery. I am on Warfarin. This medication has many adverse side effects. I just need to be careful enjoying life.

 

My Friend Needs A KidneyI had been under medical care on a quarterly basis up until 2014. In 2014 I went into the hospital for a routine colonoscopy. Because I have a mechanical valve, any routine outpatient procedures are now a two or three day hospital stay for me.  Prior to the examination, I personally contacted all of my physicians regarding the medicine that the hospital was going to give me. All of my personal physicians said that the medications should not have any adverse effects on my kidneys. But my body must not have agreed with the medication.  After the procedure, they completed some additional blood work and found that my kidney function had dropped considerably. This was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. My heart is in excellent condition. But now my kidneys are failing.

Since this procedure, I qualify to be placed on The Temple transplant list.  I was told by that I was the first candidate to make the list in under two weeks. I am not sure if that was an accomplishment. I have just been proactive in managing my own medical care. And I have a great team of professionals behind me that have allowed me to actively participate in this process.

So, what is Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)? This disease causes multiple cysts to grow within the kidney. Each cyst is filled with fluid. If too many cysts grow, the kidneys become damaged. Eventually the cysts replace the kidneys, which can lead to kidney failure. Based upon my research 600,000 people have PKD. PKD is the fourth largest cause of kidney failure, and causes 5% of all kidney failure.

It is an inherited disorder.

Generally, 50% of those patients who have been diagnosed with PKD will also have kidney failure by age 60. I am 49 years old. Some of symptoms of PKD are:

  • Lower back pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Enlarged abdomen
  • Possible issues with a heart valve & chest pain (repaired)

Please keep in mind that I am not a physician. This information is based upon my own personal experience and multiple resources I have found on the internet. And yes, I have experienced all of these symptoms during this process.

This disease has taken the lives of three of my family members:

  • Edward Wright died at age 52
  • Joanne Cuffee at age 59
  • Benjamin P Wright, Sr. my father, at age 62

Let’s be realistic. Medicine has come a long way. Edward passed first. Benjamin, Sr. passed second. And Joanne has recently died because of kidney failure.  All of these relatives were on hemodialysis until they passed.

Currently, I am aware of at least five of my cousins who are managing this PKD. And they are at various stages of the disease. So, it is just a matter of time.  I shared this information with you because I believe that each person who reads this website is able to help me out in one way or another. I don’t believe that God would bring me through seventeen years of constant medical follow-up and open heart surgery to allow me to expire because I could not find a kidney.

Death is not an option. Living on dialysis is not a lifetime option. Finding a Living Donor who will supply me with the Gift of Life is the solution.

 

Your friend,

My Friend Needs a Kidney