Diagnosed with ESRD - End Stage Renal Disease in 2010 with 28% kidney function left. In January 2013, it dropped to 5%. Started twice a week Hemodialysis in February. My beautiful and courageous wife, Ninette, came forward willingly to be my donor and we started with the work-up in March. We finally finished everything and got approval 08 July 2013. We had the procedure the 25th of the same month.

Our journey continues...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Causes + World Kidney Day

Image courtesy of biomed.brown.edu

Some people can really be insensitive. But you would not expect one from your human resource office, but it happens. Imagine being called ‘pasaway’ just because you have ESRD and now doing dialysis. How would you feel when you just came from a 15-day sick leave and you were excited to get back to work and see your colleagues again, felling great, then someone just blurts out something that makes you feel that everything is your fault? That you are the only one to blame for all these happening? The time you spent reflecting on the matter, all the prayers for strength, guidance and acceptance, the positive resolution that you have recently formed suddenly goes down the drain. Just because of an informal, comment from a nobody, really. A few entries back, I wrote about losing self-esteem the first few days. Of the depression I felt as if there was nothing left out there to look forward to. Then the slow creeping in of acceptance. And finally the gathered strength and resolution to face this head on and see the possibilities instead of what’s negative. It was difficult albeit short. With the support of family, friends and loved ones, you begin to see and reach out for the light. Then someone, who isn’t really much of anything to you... just plain insensitive. Sorry about the rant.

Let’s talk causes. What are the common causes of ESRD/CKD? Which of these is/are the most likely cause/s of my condition? Let me delve on some of them. Again, no expert here. Just what I have learned this past month. 
  1. Diabetes. Excess sugar in the bloodstream can affect the glumerulus, the tiny structures of the nephron that filters the blood and pass on waste products as urine.
  2. Hypertension. High Blood Pressure causes artery damage and kidneys are packed with arteries. Nephrons lose the necessary blood supply and nutrients and over time, damaged the nephrons. In return, damaged kidneys fail to regulate blood pressure, so both contribute to a negative spiral.
  3. Glomerulonephritis. This may be caused by problems with the immune system. But often, the cause is unknown.
  4. Hereditary predisposition, smoking, alcohol abuse
  5. Some pain medications, antibiotics and other drugs; cocktail medication
One or a combination of more contribute to chronic kidney disease.

The thing is, and not many people know this, I was hypertensive even before the age of 20. Even as a recreational distance runner then, with complete training, I always had trouble joining races where the screen you by taking your blood pressure. Even the time in my 20’s when I was obsessed with my fitness level, I had hypertension. A few years back, I was diagnosed to have borderline diabetes. So maybe a combination of those causes did me including probably cocktail medication.

By the way, March 14, 2013 is World Kidney Day. Their worldwide mission is to raise awareness of the importance of the kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and associated health problems. The National Kidney and Transplant Institute has a huge display about it in its lobby.