Let’s talk about ‘End Stage Renal Disease’ (ESRD)

I was diagnosed with "End Stage Renal Disease" January 17, 2014.
ESRD is when the kidneys stop working well enough for you to live without dialysis or a transplant.  This kind of kidney failure is permanent. It cannot be fixed. Most cases of ESRD are caused by diabetes or high blood pressure. Some problems you are born with, some reactions to medicines, and some injuries can also cause ESRD. If you have ESRD, you will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to live.
My kidneys failed. No prior kidney issues. Nothing. OK high blood pressure, but at that moment I didn't know it was related - let alone the cause. I had not been feeling good.  No energy; legs swelling; bloating; short of breath.   I had less energy, was getting bigger each day, my legs and feet  were swelling, I itched horribly and my face was breaking out. Nose bleeds every morning; the scariest was the morning I woke and couldn't breathe - heart pounding I could not catch my breath. I went to my appointment on January 17, 2014. I gave my Primary Care Physician the list of the many things I felt were wrong with me. Susan Wolver M.D. Internal Medicine, Specialty Primary Care, 417 North 11th Street, Richmond, VA 23219  - has been my physician for at least the last 10 years.  She has a reputation of being one of the best.  She examined me, sent me for blood work and I went back to work. Later that afternoon she called.  "I have bad news....."  my heart fell, cancer? liver failure? certain death?  She said "your kidneys have failed get back to the hospital immediately, you are being admitted - no emergency room; your room is waiting for you. KIDNEY FAILURE.  Talk about out of the blue, random, so far off the map it would never have crossed my mind. I have never had a problem with my kidneys. What does kidney failure mean? Will I be able to work? - I have bills and responsibilities. I have to go to the hospital - NOW?   Those that know me, know that didn't happen. After I made the announcement at work, my boss (who lost her husband to kidney failure and dialysis related issues) broke down crying.  I left work and went home.  I told the family no one really understood - myself included.  We don't know of anyone who has kidney problems or going through dialysis.  We talked, we smoked, we laughed. - the Doctor actually called from the hospital to see what was taking me so long to get there.  I needed to get there as soon as possible.  OK! I am leaving the people I love to go get admitted for something I didn't know anything about.  I of course am going to drive myself so I can get out as soon as they say I can go.  Guess who can't find their car keys.  We searched the house, no keys - to me that was a sign. Maybe, I didn't have to go.  No, my family said they were taking me - I needed to go.  So I pack up, laptop, phone, chargers you know, the important stuff.  I get dropped off and checked in. I am told my creatine level was 18 and it should never be higher than 1.  OK that sounds really bad.  From there it was a blur. I was tested, x-rayed, ultrasounded, (ha) medicated, EKG-ed, the rest of that night and most of the next day.  Imran Fatani, MD and  Jason Kidd M.D. , Internal Medicine, Specialty Nephrology, 417 North 11th Street Richmond, VA 23219; explained they were Nephrologist and they were sad to inform me my kidney's had failed and I would need dialysis for the rest of my life. Unless I get a transplant.  Both were very compassionate and seemed saddened they had to give me that news. 1101 Where most people would have had many other reactions -  I became Hopeful, this was something I could work with.  I am not dying or dropping dead in the near future.
There is no limit to how long a person can live on dialysis.  On average, the life expectancy for someone on dialysis is between five and six years, but this can vary a lot depending on a person’s age, other health concerns and how well he/she follows his/her treatment plan.  With good care, it is very possible for a person to live for many years on dialysis.
If I eat right and go to dialysis 4 hours, 3 times a week.  Possibly doing home dialysis and ultimately a kidney transplant in the not too distant future.  My life can get back to almost normal.

The next post I will explain my hospital stay, discharge and start of dialysis. Come back and share more of my experience.


About MimisThoughts

My close family call me Mimi, you will too. A 53 year old black female with many thoughts and opinions. I am vocal and passionate. I was raised old school and am proud to know most children that I had any influence over are carrying on the right way. 'Please, Thank You, Yes Ma'am, No Sir'. Divorced a couple times and no children of my own. I have lived a full and diverse life. Well educated and very liberal a Baptist raised in the church. I hope my posts, information, and opinions in my blog inspire you to open up a conversation. Pass along the usually hidden unheard of and unknown facts of how life is being lived today. Welcome to my thoughts....
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