A person holds out a wrapped gift with a kidney inside.

My Journey with CKD and My Living Donation

At the start of the new 2000 millennium, I made a promise to myself to hold myself more accountable for my health. I wanted to be proactive in my health care by switching off my health autopilot and paying more attention to my physical well-being. Prostate cancer runs high on both sides of my family and this was a big concern of mine. The first years were good. In 2005, the tests showed protein in my urine. I thought I could get an antibiotic to make it go away but it wasn’t that easy.

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I was sent to a nephrologist who conducted more thorough tests. Irregularities in my kidney function were found and a kidney biopsy was strongly suggested. The doctor did a great job in explaining the biopsy procedure but there was fear about the results. The results showed there was scaring on the inside of my kidneys which affected my kidney function. The nephrologist’s treatment plan was a 90-day high dosage steroid treatment to see if my kidney function would improve. My numbers returned to a “normal” level. I was told everything was alright. He gave a verbal warning saying this could redevelop again, but no follow-up plan to monitor.

Getting diagnosed with chronic kidney disease

In 2012, I notice swelling in my feet and ankle area and in my hands and fingers. My physician noticed the swelling and ordered a full set of tests. The results showed protein in my urine but the numbers were higher than in the past. I was referred to another nephrologist and went through a battery of tests. We met and he said, “Mr. Warfield, you are at stage 3 of kidney disease.” I was put on a regiment of medications to slow the progression.

I took 17 different daily prescriptions and insulin as I became a type 2 diabetic, but this did not work. Within 18 months I was at ESRD. My nephrologist talked about hemodialysis and having a fistula placement. There were two attempts at placement and both quickly failed. As the doctors called to prepare for another fistula try, I asked for any alternatives and found out about peritoneal dialysis. I elected this modality. I was really feeling negative about my life but my dialysis nurse taught me about living a new normal life, and provided positive encouragement that I could still live a good life even on dialysis. I started dialysis on December 1st of that year and things went very well.

Qualifying for a living donor

I was able to qualify for the transplant list after starting dialysis, but I was told it would be a minimum of 4 years of waiting time unless I could find a living donor. It was around that time that my daughter did her research about being a living donor. She mentioned it to me and I totally was against it. She showed me how she could donate and live the same normal life. I consulted a friend who told me it would be wrong not to accept her gift as it would look like her gift isn’t good enough for me. After prayer I accepted her offer to be my donor. I admired her for overcoming her fears that all the testing presented to her. When her results came back though, it was deemed by the transplant center that she would not be a good match for me. It did make me consider living donation as an option.

My kidney transplant

Unknown to me, my daughter’s housemate and college sorority sister had been keeping a close watch on her during her testing and became interested in the process. She decided to be tested and she was approved to become my living donor. When the center called to say I had a match, I was excited but apprehensive about accepting a young person’s living kidney especially, outside of the family. I went back and forth about my decision and realized that this must be “my time” to accept this gift. My wife and I met with my donor and her mother prior to the transplant. We her mother about this decision and she was alright with her decision. Her mother told us my donor was committed to donation and she “just wanted to help”. She talked with her family and consulted with their pastor and everyone was in agreement.

This or That

In addition to chronic kidney disease, do you also live with diabetes?

The morning of the surgery we all had prayer, the surgery took place, the kidney started working immediately and there were no post-surgery complications. She was starting her last semester of graduate school and was able to finish on time. Today she works full-time and has her own business as a physical trainer.

When asked to provide a statement, she said this about her donation:
“Just because blood doesn’t connect us, doesn’t mean that we ALL can’t be a blessing to another. This life that was given to me is not for me to keep all to myself. I believe we are givers, in our own right. How we move, the purpose of our giving is different for all but I truly believe that mine was a call of obedience.”

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Chronic-Kidney-Disease.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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