In a Nutshell….

I’m a visual person.  Pictures are always more fun to look at in general, and let’s face it, kidney disease doesn’t exactly scream “OH! How exciting!”  So I drew up a few pictures of my current kidney situation:

kidney diagram
What the kidney does.
photo(4)
A million nephrons act as filters to clean out the blood, and secrete of any extra waste substances.
photo(3)
When the nephrons become damaged, they stop working. Healthy nephrons can take on the extra work, but over time more and more nephrons shut down, and soon there is not enough to filter the blood to keep a person healthy.

Kidney function is measured by what is called GFR (Glomerular Filtration Rate).  There is an equation that is used based on your creatinine level, your age, gender and ethnicity.  The higher your creatinine level, the more build up of waste that is in your body.  So my kidney function is at 13%.  But please, do not be sad… I was told that I would have to have a transplant 5 years ago, and I’ve lasted this long without having to go that route.  So I really have been lucky to not have had a transplant yet.  Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end at some point, but I’m staying positive and am hopeful that things will always be okay.  My journey through the kidney transplant process has just begun and I am filled with a number of emotions.  Be grateful for what you have, what you are able to do, and the opportunities that are given to you. Remember, things could always be worse. 😉

“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

P.S. Nephrons don’t really look like that.