It was at the age of 22 that I discovered that I had kidney problems. I was pregnant with my youngest son and delivered him two months prematurely due to the disease. Everything seemed to return to normal but I was closely monitored by nephrologists. They weren’t able to do any tests since the right kidney was worse than left. MRI scan results determined Nephrotic Syndrome, which gradually shrinks renal arteries. The disease progressed and at the age of 25, my kidneys completely failed.
I immediately needed dialysis. I started with Hemodialysis three times a week for 3 1/2 years until my fistula access failed. I then switched to Peritoneal dialysis which would require ten hour treatments nightly. This brought many challenges to my already busy life, being a wife and raising young children. I continued to stay positive and started volunteering for Sierra Donor Services. I felt empowered and took an active role to stay strong during the waiting period and at the same time advocate and share the importance of organ donation, despite the decline of my own health over the five years awaiting a life saving kidney transplant.
I had the opportunity to attend Lobby Day at the State Capital to promote SB 1395 – Alquist Altruistic Living Donor Registry (The First Ever Living Organ Donor Registry) & AB 998- The extended medical bill for anti-rejection medicine coverage. These 2 bills were both passed into legislation.
On February 23, 2010, at the age of 30, I received the gift of life in a miraculous way. I was a part of the first of my center’s in-house donor chain. Including me, three other lives were saved as four donors gave the gift of life, starting with a donor who has remained anonymous. I am truly grateful for the gift my donor, Sandra Morales, gave me. We continue to stay in touch and this has truly changed the lives of everyone that was part of this experience.
Just 5 months after my transplant I caught a deadly infection called valley fever. I endured many hospitalizations, numerous surgeries, and went into kidney rejection in March 2012. Miraculously I pulled through the rejection through the help of UC Davis Medical Center and thankfully my health continues to be restored.
This whole journey has definitely given me a new outlook on life. I’ve learned to share my experience to all so everyone can understand that we all have the ability to save lives. I look back on all that my family and I have gone through and am just thankful for this answered prayer. This experience has given me a strength I never knew I had, a deeper sense of purpose, and a vision to make a difference; to live by faith and to continue to give back the gift of life that was given to me.
Visit my blog as I share my life saving journey one day at a time.