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Author Topic: Kidney recipient shares message of living with disease  (Read 1471 times)
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Photo is Jenna - after Disneyland - 1988

« on: March 16, 2009, 11:38:56 AM »

Kidney recipient shares message of living with disease
Published Monday March 16th, 2009

by Judith (Judy) Caissie

GUEST COLUMN — For many years I, like so many other Canadians was one of approximately two million Canadians living with chronic kidney disease. As mentioned in a previous article, I was fortunate enough to receive a kidney last year from a 37 year old living donor, Tanya Roy, which means that I no longer have to take dialysis treatments, and am now able live a more natural and healthy way of life.

I am one of the fortunate ones. Because of the loving generosity of an extraordinary young woman whose only desire was that I would have the chance to live out the rest of my life knowing that I would no longer be burdened by the deteriorating effects of a terrible disease, I am where I am today.

Her announcement that she was giving me one her kidneys came as a complete surprise to me, and only after a two week period of much deliberation, indecision and prayer, was I able to accept the blessed gift of life she had so joyfully offered to me. Three months after our operation, I volunteered to do what I could to assist the New Brunswick branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada so that I could "…pass it forward."

During the next several weeks, I will be writing a series of articles on the who, what, where, when and why of the foundation, and how it has helped, and continues to help people here on the Miramichi and other parts of New Brunswick as well as the rest of Canada.

The Canadian Institute for Health information has stated that kidney failure is on the rise in Canadian seniors while the Kidney Foundation of Canada recently released supporting data indicating that 1 in 5 Canadian seniors, the nation's largest population group, now has kidney disease.

In 1979, the month of March was officially declared Kidney Health Month in Canada. During this month local and provincial chapters of the kidney Foundation are holding various activities as well as door to door fundraising drives, as a way of bringing awareness of the disease, its consequences, and the steps that can be taken to ensure a healthier lifestyle and even decrease the possibility of ever suffering Chronic Kidney failure.

During this month of March, many of your friends and neighbours will be knocking on your doors on behalf of the Kidney Foundation of Canada as well as its New Brunswick Branch. Like my cousin, Tanya Roy of Fredericton, they too have decided to do their own part towards making life easier for those who are presently, or soon will be, on dialysis. People who are on dialysis know more than anyone else what it means to be put on a waiting list for a new kidney, only to be told that it may take up to five or six years because of a lack of donors.

Every day, 14 Canadians learn their kidneys have failed. In many cases, these people may have had no warning signs or symptoms of kidney disease, while in others, the problem may have gone undetected until the kidneys were severely damaged and 90 per cent of renal function has been lost.

What does it mean to the person who has reached this stage? Because their kidneys are no longer able to filter the wastes and excess water from the body, the result is chronic kidney disease. Their quality of life declines, while the health care costs relating to dialysis or kidney transplantation increases. One of the sad facts of life concerning this latter stage of the disease is that premature death may occur before a matching kidney can be found.

As a former dialysis patient, I know from experience, the costs that accompanied my own treatment. Two weeks ago, I found out that while on dialysis, I cost the provincial health system $60,000 per year. Now, that I have a healthy, functioning kidney I no longer require those funds to keep me alive.

Just recently the Miramichi Dialysis Clinic was enlarged to accommodate six more chairs. One man expressed his dissatisfaction that so much money was spent on this expansion saying…"All that money, and for what? So six more people could get dialysis here instead of in Moncton? What a waste!"

This man was unaware that six more chairs meant that 24 more people, many in their mid-sixties to late 80s would no longer have to get up at ungodly hours of the morning or arrive home late at night in order to be present for their scheduled dialysis appointments. Nor would they have to travel in all kinds of terrible weather because missing a treatment could mean the difference between rapid deterioration of one's body, or, in rare cases, even death.

Many people are not aware that having to travel up to 200 or more kilometres a day, three days a week, may cost a dialysis patient up to several thousands of dollars a year out of their own pockets.

These are only a few of the realities that come with Chronic Kidney Disease which often terminates in dialysis. In the coming weeks, I will be able to share more information concerning these realities and the consequences that accompany them.

I obtained statistical information for this article from the COMPANION, a newsletter for Pre-and-post kidney transplant patients. (Sources: www.kidney.org. or www.cihi.ca (en français).

You too can make a difference. Please welcome those who come to your door, knowing that there are doing their part to ensure that others may have also have a chance to live a life free from the effects of kidney failure.

Judith (Judy) Caissie

Official Volunteer

The Kidney Foundation of Canada, New Brunswick Branch


Admin for IHateDialysis 2008 - 2014, retired.
Jenna is our daughter, bad bladder damaged her kidneys.
Was on in-center hemodialysis 2003-2007.
7 yr transplant lost due to rejection.
She did PD Sept. 2013 - July 2017
Found a swap living donor using social media, friends, family.
New kidney in a paired donation swap July 26, 2017.
Her story ---> https://www.facebook.com/WantedKidneyDonor
Please watch her video: http://youtu.be/D9ZuVJ_s80Y
Living Donors Rock! http://www.livingdonorsonline.org -
News video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-7KvgQDWpU
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