Since today is World Kidney Day. I will share my story.
When I turned 21 I was excited, my thoughts were “This is going to be my year.” I had many plans. I was going to do global volunteer work, be a camp counselor and other numerous events and gatherings throughout the year. But one thing was very clear, although I had many plans for what I wanted to do the universe had different plans with what it wanted for me. Everything started about the end of May. I had moved temporarily to a place while waiting to move into what would become the infamous “Bates Street House.” It was exciting I was going to be rooming with two good friends.
About 2 weeks prior to moving I began to get sick. I never gave it much thought, probably a cold for all I knew. But I was a prideful driven man, I had too many things to do to be caught up by a little cold. I had a lot on my plate and couldn’t let a cold keep me from doing my duties. As the days went on my “cold” got worse. But I still didn’t stop. It got to a point in which I couldn’t even eat. I remember clearly the last few days before it all went down. It was a Saturday had an awesome date planned and nothing was going to get in the way of this. But something was clearly wrong that day. My vision had gone from being good to all of sudden horrible. I couldn’t see anything beyond a few inches from my face. I started to really think something was wrong. But yet I still did not stop. I was determined, I was driven. As the night ended I somehow managed to get home and went to sleep. The next day Sunday I finally decided that I was going to just rest and get over this cold. I slept a good portion of the day but never felt better at any point. So the night came and as I’m trying to sleep I was suddenly filled with an unexplainable amount of fear. Something was wrong but I didn’t know what. All I could think of was to call 911. This began a true battle for my life. I dialed 911 on my cell phone. But I kept getting a connection error and the call would not place. After the third time I was truly afraid. I didn’t know what to do I was losing energy fast. So I decided to see if my roommate was there. Earlier that night he said he was going out and probably was going to stay over at a friend’s house. At this moment I’m remembering this and I’ve never been so afraid. To not know what was going on but to know something is wrong is a horrible feeling. Since it was a temporary situation I was still iffy on the address and the phone number, so I’m panicking. I knocked on his door and till this day I’m thankful that he was actually there. I don’t know if I was screamed his name or what but I remember telling him to call 911. I then collapsed on the floor. Although I could hear him on the phone and asking me questions I wasn’t able to answer. Then all there was … was black.
A few hours later I woke up in the hospital not sure what was going on. For the next week or so would be a battle for my very life. I was on the brink of death. All my vitals were through the roof. I fell into a comatose state. The doctors wouldn’t even permit people to touch me for the fear that it might cause my blood pressure to rise even higher and cause me to go into a cardiac arrest and kill me. I was on large amounts of medication that would cause me to hallucinate when I was awake. I saw the most demonic and crazy things during this time. I was so very frightened I saw monsters and demons that were physically attacking me. I never saw anything like this prior or since that time. I remember one night particularly I had a scary dream where I was being attacked. There was a point during one of my comatose states where I remember praying in the dream and as soon as the prayer ended I woke up. My vitals had lowered to a safer level (although still very high).
Although my vitals were lower I was not out of the woods. The doctors still didn’t know what was wrong with me. Over the next month I would find out that I was stricken with ESRD or End Stage Renal Disease, both of my kidneys had failed. Earlier when I spoke of the sickness and my vision. Well that was the result of the toxins in my body, building up. You can only survive 6 days without kidney function. I was on day five when I finally went to the hospital.
In an instant I saw everything come to a complete stop. I was not able to do anything I was in and out of the hospital. I was depressed, I was sad, I was angry, I was a kid who saw everything just end. At least in my mind, I saw everyone doing all the things they wanted and I just couldn’t. Over the next couple of years were very trial-some as I had to deal with dialysis, sickness, doctors, medication and hospitals. I had to fight like I never fought before. I had every reason to just end it all but I couldn’t something just wouldn’t let me. It was hard because people didn’t know how to help me, I didn’t know how to help me. It was a genuine battle that I had to fight.
A few years later I was blessed by receiving a transplant from an awesome friend. Although it made things a lot better I still had to come to terms that I would… well will never be the same. Long gone was the athletic, energetic, out-spoken, often-prideful Ed and now stood a feeble, weak, still prideful Ed who now had to constantly fight for everything. I have end stage renal disease and a kidney transplant that helped keep it somewhat controlled. The result of the two was a constantly battling body. I had a dangerously low immune system where the slightest thing could cause me to be hospitalized and could amount to death. Things like the common cold were now a huge enemy to my body. With the large amount of medication I was on with their side effects, the kidney disease, and low immune system I was often sick with no apparent reason. To add to this my body was constantly reaped with pain to the point there were times that I couldn’t even sit in a chair. This was a daily battle and struggle for me.
Sadly in September of 2009 the transplant I had failed. Which meant that I had to go back on dialysis. But this time it was different. I had hope and confidence. Sometime that was definitely lacking when I was 21. Maybe it has to do with all my years of experience and life (ha I doubt it). But I’m not letting the kidney failure stop me, I’m not letting it get in my way. Although it’s challenging and very hard. The time is probably the most challenging since dialysis is 4 hours long and 3 times a week. But I’m most grateful for the friends and family (a term that is easily interchangeable) I have that are supportive and helpful. I hope that for some this will give you a better understanding of what I’ve gone through. I can’t always easily explain this story so it was just easier to write it out like this. This has been a very long battle, struggle and journey. I no longer see my situation as a battle… but it’s still a struggle and most certainly a journey. I’m just glad that many of you are joining me a long the way.
Thanks for reading.