by Fartun (Kidney Recipient)
When I moved from East Africa to the United States in the fall of 1997 as a refugee I was hoping for a better life. It was a difficult transition, coming to Ohio, getting acclimated to the American lifestyle, and returning to school after many years.
A few years later, in 2001, at the age of 20, I started feeling ill. Before I was diagnosed with kidney disease, I had never heard of it. I was engaged to be married, but due to the quick and rapid decline of my health, I had to call off the wedding. I graduated from high school in June. I continued to get sicker, and in September, I started dialysis three days a week.
The doctors told me I would not survive without a kidney transplant. Fortunately, my younger brother offered to donate a kidney to me. However, while being tested he learned he was a diabetic, so he was unable to donate. During that time I also developed a lump on my neck that resulted in the need for surgery. I had to wait 11 months to recover enough to be able to be listed for a transplant.
Finally in July 2003, I was listed for a kidney transplant. I continued dialysis while I waited, and got even sicker. I was unable to work and completely lost my appetite.
On March 7, 2004, at 2:30 a.m., I received the call I had been waiting for. I was overjoyed to learn there was a kidney available for my transplant. All the while I was sick I continued to be strong and kept faith that I would get my transplant. At 9 a.m. I received my life-saving transplant..
I am so grateful everyday for my second chance at a healthy life!. I am a physician’s assistant at Mt. Carmel West hospital and have plans to pursue a career in the medical field to help others like I have been helped. I enjoy spending time with my family, nieces and nephews, and I was married in March 2008, four years after receiving my transplant. I am thankful from the depths of my heart and soul. I feel so blessed. I am taking great care of my new kidney and I thank, God, my donor and her family everyday in my prayers for my second chance at life.