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A Transplant Journey: The Beginning

February 14, 2022 should have been a good day. I still had a virtual date with my boyfriend and a routine visit to my nephrologist. Life should have been good.

I have lived for over a decade with chronic kidney disease. Many of my nephrons are covered in scar tissue making it hard to filter waste especially proteins. I stayed pretty stable on lisinopril as the blood pressure medicine decreased swelling. But then came a virus we all know the name of.

In January, I went to UAB to have a renal biopsy done. This was my third one, so I wasn't anxious. The routine procedure went sideways for an unknown reason. My blood pressure dropped, I felt dizzy and nauseous. I evidently passed out as they had called the EMT to take care of me. I probably had a bleed which was a potential side effect of the biopsy. They took me the block in ambulance to the ER, and I spent a night in the hospital. I had a good size bleed that looked like it had stopped. But the doctors had to make sure it wasn't actually still bleeding. With no bleed confirmed, I could go home.

Sadly, this incident will give me PTSD. All biopsies are going to cause anxiety on their own. But honestly, it doesn't compare to what happened next.

That fateful Valentine's Day is seared in my memory. My nephrologist sat across from me and delivered news she could hardly bear to share: my kidney function was down to 18%. COVID hadn't gotten me in 2020, but it had working on me slowly. It caused the extreme decline in my function.

COVID had won. My doctor and I looked at each other, both of us crushed. She was heartbroken she couldn't do more for me other than to set up an evaluation the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Clinic at UAB. I now, officially, needed a new kidney.

A transplant. What the actual hell?

I felt my life fall around me. I was truly broken. I needed an organ from another person, alive or dead. My life would change so much; there would be so many medications, things I couldn't eat. I was truly scared of both the surrey itself and the change in my lifestyle.

I want to say life got easier as time went by, but I won't lie. The Transplant Clinic had me spend over two hours watching educational videos. These were clinical and depressing. Even with my boyfriend watching with me, I didn't feel any stronger about the situation. Waiting for an eval date was torture. I had an appointment April 22, but it felt forever.

The beginning is rough. Not knowing or understanding. But the Evaluation should shed a lot of light. I hope.

Audrey Elaine Adamson |Instagram: @spoononthewall


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