I am a 63 year-old male who has received two kidney transplants. In addition, I suffered
a heart attack while in rejection with the first transplant. I was originally diagnosed with
glomerulonephritis in 1969 at the age of twenty. I had just been discharged from the USAF
for an undiagnosed medical reason (another interesting story) and was admitted to the V.A.
Medical Center in Nashville, TN where my kidney disease was diagnosed. I was followed at the
V.A.M.C. for the next thirty years until my creatninine level began to increase significantly. In
early 1999 another biopsy revealed that I actually suffered from Alports Syndrome (a genetic
disorder of the basement membrane of the kidney and inner ear). I have experienced significant
hearing loss in addition to kidney failure. I spent four month on hemodialysis prior to my first
I had my first kidney transplant in 2002 (my wife was the donor). In 2004 after surgery to
remove my A.V. fistula, I developed a fever which turned out to be Herpes Simplex A (simple
virus that causes fever blisters). It went systemic and the doctors feared that is might develop into
encephalitis. My meds were decreased and I was able to fight off the virus after eight days in the
hospital without damage to my kidney.
In 2005 my creatinine jumped up from 1.4 to 4.0. After weeks of tests, it was determined that a
Parvovirus B-19 (a simple virus that causes Fifth's Disease in children) had attacked my kidney.
My medications were reduced but my creatinine did not return to a lower level. My transplant
Nephrologist fortunately did another biopsy and determined that the virus was no longer present
but I had gone into chronic rejection from the lowered immunosupression. I went onto the
waiting list in 2006 when my kidney function dropped below 20%.
In January of 2009, I received my second transplant from a 46 year-old accident victim. It was
a 4 out of 5 match and I am approaching my 4th anniversary with this new kidney. I recently
made a promise to improve my physical and mental health. I have been taking an anti-depressant
for the last twelve months. During that period, I lost 30 pounds utilizing Weight Watchers, and
started a daily exercise program. I am now able to do twenty push-ups, abdominal crunches and
leg-lifts daily. My health is the best it has been in the last 15 years and I have truly been blessed.
My only significant issue is an ongoing battle with skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), which
is managed by quarterly trips to my dermatologist and effudex treatments annually.
There are ups and downs with all transplants. I am a Christian, so I rely on my faith to maintain
my strength and positive attitude. Whatever your faith, maintaining that positive attitude
is crucial to your continuing health issues. You also have to maintain a determination to be
proactive in maintaining your physical and mental health to the utmost. Depression and
immobility are your enemy.
By the way, my dear wife and I have been married since 1970. We have a son and daughter who
both teach and coach in local high schools and we also have seven wonderful grandchildren. We
don’t have a lot of money, but we are rich.