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My Life With Kidney Failure

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My Story

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.

Blanca, Ana Luz, Lourdes
Blanca, Ana Luz, Lourdes

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.

At the Oregon Coast, Fall 2011
At the Oregon Coast, Fall 2011

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.