On the outskirts of Guadalajara in central Mexico, coming from a large family, I was 5 years old when 2 days after Christmas in 1978 my 11-year-old sister, Ana Luz, passed away.
Growing up I learned that she was born with renal deficiency. Without money and her illness at a very advanced stage, there was not much that could be done.
In 1987, my sister, Lourdes, at age 17 had kidney stones removed thru surgery. All I knew was that those were calcium stones. She continued having kidney problems and had a kidney transplant in September 2000. My sister, Conchita, donated her kidney.
In 2004, I presented high blood pressure symptoms and renal deficiency was the cause of it. After some tests, I was diagnosed with the same congenital problems that Ana Luz and Lourdes had: Nephrocalcinosis.
After I found out, I didn’t panic. I was more aware of taking care of myself, but I continued enjoying life, working normally, taking my medication, going to the doctor often, regardless if I had insurance or not. And just being happy! My kidneys were working 45% then. I was also referred to The National Kidney Foundation at that time.
After experiencing my sister's case of Kidney Failure, I was not surprised I had the same congenital deficiency. I was trying to live a normal life and just take care of myself the best possible.
In the summer of 2011 my kidneys deteriorated drastically. My creatinine levels went from a steady high of 2.7 to 4.3 (the normal high is 1.1). My Kidney Function dropped to 18%, and I felt it.
It was hard to walk. Hard to wake up in the morning; difficult to breathe deep. All I wanted to do was sleep. I realized why the last couple of years I was getting sick so often. Colds were lasting more than 10 days instead of 4-5 days. Every time I traveled I became ill.
In July 2011 I had 1 liter of iron via IV, due to being highly anemic. Since then I have been working only part time.
Over all, what hurts me the most about my kidney failure is feeling physically weak. I love my job and I can’t work much any more. I like being active and have projects in mind to accomplish. Perhaps this is the time I have to slow down in my life…
As my kidneys dropped functionality I was referred to the kidney transplant center here in Portland, where I was evaluated and added to the waiting list on January 5, 2012. In Portland, the wait time for a kidney is shorter (roughly 2-2.5 years), unlike in California where it's 8-10 years.
My waiting time for a deceased donor could be up to 2-2.5 years, unless I have a live donor. I have blood type B. The donor (live or deceased) needs to be B (+ or -) or universal (O).
I am fighting for life. I am sure that everything is going to be fine, I just know that it is not easy.