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Help Me Get A New Kidney!

My name is Melissa, and I am in need of a life-saving kidney transplant. At age 16 I was diagnosed with Rapidly Progressive Glomerulonephritis and within two weeks of this diagnosis, on my 17th birthday, I started hemodialysis, a form of treatment for end-stage renal disease. Despite the statistics and the odds against me, I survived nine years of this grueling treatment while waiting on the active kidney transplant waiting list until I received the transplant – my gift of life! My gift has given me nearly 10 years of freedom from the machine that kept me alive, but due to a rejection episode I now find myself in need of another transplant.

Updates (26)

September 14, 2018

It’s been a while since my last update and I apologize for that but I have been going through a lot as of late so posting hadn’t been a priority with everything else I’ve had on my plate. Since I have had kidney disease for over 20 years now my parathyroid glands decided to give me a big F-U and stop responding to the medications I was on to suppress their hormone production. There 4 glands located behind and unrelated to the thyroid regulate our blood calcium levels; too much parathyroid hormone causes our bones to release calcium and that calcium will find its way into places it shouldn’t be like arteries and organs. This abundance of calcium causes calcifications to form that can harden arteries, veins, valves, and entire organs which renders them useless and they fail. Too little calcium can cause its own problems though so it is a delicate tightrope we walk to keep these things in balance. All that said I had to have mine removed. This happens with about 10% of chronic kidney disease patients so it is not entirely uncommon and even after my first transplant my parathyroid hormone levels never entirely returned to normal. Since medications we not affecting them anymore surgical intervention was the next step. On September 6th I underwent a total parathyroidectomy with reinsertion of a portion of one gland back into my left arm, because I still need SOME parathyroid hormone…just not the amount my 4 overactive glands were producing. They put one or a portion of one back into the arm so they can access it easier should they have to take more out in the future. So an incision was made into my neck, just below my throat where the neck meets the sternum. (Pictures will be posted if you care to see) All 4 glands were successfully removed and 1 was reimplanted through an incision made to my left forearm. Both were very sore immediately following the surgery and it has been 8 days since I had the procedure and I still have some pain in my arm and neck. My calcium levels have to be monitored closely because now they run too low and that can cause seizures and even death! For the time being I have to eat 20 Tums (yes, the antacid) per day in addition to a twice daily calcium-based prescription medication. Initially I was kept in the hospital post-op for several doses of IV calcium because the levels drop so quickly after the glands are removed. Now I have to pay close attention to the signs of low calcium so that I don’t experience a seizure while I am home alone (which is literally ALL THE TIME!) so as you can imagine, I worry. The last thing I need is to have a seizure when I live alone and have all tile floors! I could drop to the ground and be seriously injured and it could be days or weeks before anyone would even know! That is a big reason as to why I put this surgery off for years and years, because I was afraid of the possible complications over the long term. Fingers crossed I have only had one drop in my calcium since being discharged and my Tums/medication doses were adjusted to hopefully compensate. I have had some symptoms of low calcium since surgery like terrible leg cramps while on the dialysis machine so I am basically getting zero quality sleep since the cramps wake me from a dead sleep and I have to walk around until the let up. Hand and mouth numbness are symptoms as well which I’ve thankfully only experienced once. So…between that and just being hooked up to this machine 11 hours a day I haven’t felt much like sharing the depressing reality of things as of late. I’m trying to focus on regaining my strength and staying healthy enough to remain active on the transplant list which is not always easy…but every day I get up and do my best to put on a happy face and remember that things could ALWAYS be worse! Someone somewhere is wishing for the things I still have control of. I can still use my legs and arms, I can still see, speak, and breathe on my own…all luxuries when it comes to a life of chronic illness! One of the lyrics from a song by my favorite band (Dave Matthews Band) says…”there’s bad times, but that’s okay…just look for LOVE in it”and that is something I live my life by…always look for the LOVE in things! If I had never experienced a chronic illness such as this, I may not have met some of the wonderful people that I have over the years. Those who continue to inspire and amaze me with their poise, strength, and perseverance…not to mention constantly restoring my faith in humanity. I am still here because of people like them, and people who care enough to read & share my updates/rants like YOU! So, thank you!

December 12, 2017

Well yard sale Day 1 was a fail. Made $8 but then it decided to rain overnight which blew my canopy away and the tarps I had covering the sale items leaving some of them damaged and the canopy I had borrowed was destroyed and I will have to replace that. It is still raining so I have not been able to open up for Day 2 which means today may also be a bust. I am super frustrated that with everything else I have going on this one thing couldn’t just go smoothly. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day. 🙁

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July 17, 2018

I am praying for you, Melissa. I am having trouble paying my bills, but will do my best to send a check to help....i care a lot....i am so sorry that you need another transplant sending you prayers, love and hope...Christina


July 17, 2018

My heart goes out to you i hope my donation can help i will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to follow your progression

mark hadbabane

November 13, 2017

it wasn't much but I'm glad to donate. Big hugs sister.

Dominique Haynes.

January 25, 2016

Dear Melissa- Your story captured my heart. May your miraculous attitude produce a miracle of its own. My prayers are in your ear, and the check REALLY is in the mail! Marge A., Estero Fl

Marguerite A.