Thursday, October 16, 2008

My dad started dialysis today

My dad's side of the family has been hit hard by Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD). We know that my Grandma "Kitty" had it and my dad tells me she was on dialysis for 20-25 years before she finally got a kidney transplant in the mid-to-late 80s. She felt much better after the transplant, but due to other health issues, she died within a few years of her transplant.

Her brother, beloved Uncle Nick, also had PKD and he also died from complications in the mid-90s. My dad thinks that several of grandma's other siblings also had it.

My dad was officially diagnosed with PKD in 1992, so I went in for an ultrasound shortly afterwards and found that I also have it. My PKD is still at the very early stage with normal creatinine levels. I do have to take blood pressure medication, but I have no PKD-related pain.

My dad is a different story and he had to go to the hospital earlier this year because his potassium levels were through the roof. At the time, we thought he would have to go on dialysis immediately, but thanks to an extreme diet change (the incredibly difficult renal diet) and changes to his meds, he was able to postpone dialysis for several months. Unfortunately, he has now reached the stage where he must start dialysis and that's what he did today. I took him to his first appointment this afternoon and I'm about to head out the door to pick him up as I type this.

My dad's a fighter and I know that dialysis will be really good for him, even if it will be a hassle. But if he doesn't eventually get a kidney transplant, he will remain on dialysis for the rest of his life. That saddens me, but it also makes me all the more driven to raise funds and volunteer for the PKD foundation so that all PKD sufferers will have much better options in the future.

If you would like to support the PKD foundation, I encourage you to do so.

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