Adventures of a Kidney Donor

May 3, 2013

Bridget, my Newest Kidney Hero!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 5:44 pm
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bridgetThis beautiful young lady is Bridget, the daughter of a co-worker. I met her recently and she is full of energy and fun. She and her family have faced a challenge recently.

In February 2013 Bridget was diagnosed with an extremely rare chronic kidney disorder called *Nephronophthisis, a disease which has damaged both of her kidneys and is not reversible.

The great news is that Bridget has a donor from her family and surgery will be scheduled soon. The family needs help with expenses and a benefit is being held:

Sunday May 5, 2013 1:00 pm
Fowler Lanes 252 S Main St. Fowler, MI

Bowling Tournament at 2 pm with registration at 1:00 pm. 

Silent Auctions

Bake Sale


Food and Drinks

$25.00 Per Person

All Proceeds Will Be Given To Bridget’s Family

Please Join Her Family For This Great Cause!!!

*Nephronophthisis  is a progressive hereditary kidney disease, marked by anemia, polyuria, and renal loss of sodium, progressing to chronic renal failure, tubular atrophy, interstitial fibrosis, glomerular sclerosis, and medullary cysts.

January 25, 2013

Happy 10th Anniversary Kiersten!!!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 11:50 am
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kiki annivRecently my friend and co-worker Kiersten celebrated the TENTH anniversary of receiving her kidney from her friend Theresa. Our friend and co-worker Mark thought of this cute cake to mark the occasion.

Kiersten and Theresa are doing great.  I have always admired Kiersten because she never really complained about her polycystic kidney disease when she had every right to.  She just got on with the business of doing what she had to do. She used to do dialysis at work! She seldom misses work then and now which is remarkable.

I of course admire Theresa for her donation, she is another one of my heroes! Theresa couldn’t have her kidney removed by laparoscopy, she had the open surgery which takes longer to recover from. Theresa said she never thought twice about donating a kidney to her best friend. “She helped me learn about unconditional love,” Theresa said of Kiersten.

Theresa and Kiersten’s only disagreement? Kiersten roots for Michigan State University and Theresa for University of Michigan. I am a Spartan too but we all have to admit, U of M is great at kidney surgery!k and t

You can read Kiersten and Theresa’s story.

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

July 20, 2012

Anniversary of One of My Happiest Days Ever

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 9:20 pm
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Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of my dear friend Jackie getting her kidney! I can’t believe it.  Time has flown. She has been through so much in the past two years because not only did she have a kidney transplanted IN, she also had to have one of her original kidneys removed.  So two surgeries in a short space of time–eek. It is rare, most kidney recipients actually live their lives with three kidneys. The old ones atrophy and normally don’t cause trouble.

All that is behind her now, and she is free of dialysis. Hooray! Jackie has been my dear friend since we were thirteen. I am so proud of her courage. Looking forward to many, many more years!

Go to List of Resources on Kidney Donation

*The picture isn’t really of us when we were young but it’s a good symbol.

July 18, 2011

Happy Anniversary Jackie!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 7:45 pm
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Happy Anniversary to my dear friend and kidney hero Jackie! One year ago this Thursday she got her kidney. She has been an inspiring model of courage, humor and strength. Not only did she have a kidney put IN, she had a kidney taken OUT all in the same year!  That’s one transplant and one nephrectomy in less than 12 months. Not fun. She received her new kidney in July of 2010 and in April of 2011 she had to have one of her old ones removed because it was causing trouble.

Usually kidney recipients have THREE kidneys (the old ones usually atrophy and are harmless) but once in awhile the old kidneys still cause trouble. Jackie was one of the few “lucky” recipients to have to endure removal of one of her older kidneys. I am SO PROUD of her because she took it in stride and is doing everything she can to keep her new kidney and get on with her new life. She didn’t whine (I would have!) or mope, just got on with what she had to do.

The good news is that her new kidney is chugging away and doing its thing and working very well throughout all of this. My dear friend is free of dialysis. We are celebrating this week with dinner! Asking Jackie to choose a restaurant is like pulling teeth but HA – it’s HER anniversary so she HAS to choose. When I have my anniversary next year I will choose.

Read about Jackie’s adventure here.

My adventure looks like it will be in a few weeks! One more test to make sure the recipient and I are a good match. I have been thinking about him/her and I bet they are counting down their dialysis days. I am so glad for this person! I am starting to freak out a little in the middle of the night –oh my god, they are going to take my kidney out!– but I think that is normal.  

After yapping about it for a year and a half it will be good to FINALLY deliver. People were starting to think I had made the whole thing up.

Go to Resources on Kidney Donation

August 3, 2010

Jackie is Doing Great!!!!!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 12:45 pm
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I am so happy.  At her weekly checkup today they said that Jackie’s bloodwork was “awesome.” Go to her blog to read her wonderfully written chronicle of events. This is what it is all about.

July 29, 2010

News from Jackie!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 5:15 pm
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A short post to say that Jackie has been blogging about her kidney transplant and as usual she has a wonderful way of capturing the story. Go here to read part one.

July 25, 2010

One of My Happiest Days Ever

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 10:00 am
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I went to U of M yesterday to see Jackie.  I was bowled over by how GREAT she looks. Only three days after her transplant–it is amazing. She doesn’t look like she had major surgery!  She is doing great.  I kept telling her: “You sound and look like yourself.” I don’t know how else to explain it. I have read about how kidney recipients start feeling better almost immediately but when you see it in person with someone you love–there are not any words to describe how great it is. Her husband Doug told me that while dialysis keeps you alive it is nowhere near the function of an actual kidney.

Jackie can’t get over the fact that she doesn’t have to have dialysis. That was three or more hours per day, three days a week. Doug went to EVERY dialysis session too so both of their lives have completely changed. Their lives will be so much more free. She said a long time ago that when she got a kidney one of the first things she wanted to do was to take a trip with Doug because she would no longer be tied down by dialysis.

We were marveling at seemingly little things. Jackie can have more fluid now such as a whole smoothie instead of a small sample of one! She can also have a Diet Coke once in awhile (instead of clear pop.) She actually had a little mini can of Diet Coke when I was there and I loved seeing her drink it.

Jackie will tell you the story of how she got her kidney so fast. It is very funny and touching. We are still reeling from the events–she went from minding her own business at home to kidney surgery in about seven hours.

The kidney is doing what it is supposed to do and she comes home today! She will have follow up appointments this week and in the coming weeks as they tweak her anti-rejection drugs. She has a list a mile long of meds to take and when the nurse came in to test her on her meds she knew EVERY answer.

When the social worker asked me two months ago why I was donating a kidney, I told her it was to see Jackie walking around with her new kidney. Seeing it in real life (and so soon!) is unreal and wonderful. I am so happy I could cry. Oh wait, I did. I was trying not to blubber in front of Jackie but I slipped twice. This was one of the happiest days of my life. Really.

*The picture isn’t really of us when we were young but it’s a good symbol.

July 20, 2010

The GREATEST News Ever!!!

Filed under: Kidney Heroes — by anne315 @ 11:38 pm

JACKIE IS GETTING A KIDNEY AT 4:30 TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY) MORNING!!!! I am SO HAPPY and excited and nervous and anxious and ecstatic and shocked and did I say HAPPY??? We didn’t expect it to be this fast. They called her this afternoon and said a cadaver kidney has become available.  WOW!! She sounded in shock but joyful on the phone.

My only regret is that I am in Pennsylvania  right now. I so wanted to be there and had been hoping our surgeries would be at different times so we could take care of each other. But I am so glad her new kidney day has arrived!!! I hope to help her and Doug and Justin when I get home on Saturday.

I am waiting anxiously by the phone…little sleep tonight and I am sure Jackie and Doug and Justin aren’t sleeping either. You plan for this day but it’s unreal when it arrives and so suddenly.

This is a picture of my beautiful friend Jacqueline Renee. I wish her lovely face was showing. From that day in junior high over thirty years ago to this wonderful day, friends forever. I love you my beloved friend and words can’t express how happy I am that you will soon be free from dialysis.

July 8, 2010

This Guy is so Cool!

The State News ran this story yesterday. Very inspiring! Jackie told me about it.

Paddling the Extra Mile

E.L. resident to canoe Grand River to raise funds for National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
By Cole Bertsos

East Lansing resident Erich Ditschman has reached his 10th anniversary this year. But it’s not a marriage anniversary or his 10th year at a job. Ditschman is marking off a different kind of anniversary — 10 years of living on dialysis after his kidneys failed in 2000.

To celebrate, as he put it, Ditschman will start canoeing the 225-mile Grand River on July 14 as part of the 14-day Grand River Expedition. The expedition begins in Jackson, Mich., and ends in Grand Haven, Mich.

Ditschman is participating to raise money for his personal fundraiser, Paddling on Dialysis, which goes to benefit the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan, or NKFM. Ditschman, who is an avid volunteer for the organization, said he is taking the expedition on not only as a fundraising event, but also as a personal feat to recognize a decade of living on dialysis, a treatment that removes toxins from the body.

Ditschman said he has been preparing for the expedition by exercising regularly to get in shape for the adventure, which most importantly included several hours per week spent on the river to make sure he’s ready for the amount of canoeing to come.

Ditschman will be dialyzing each night while he sleeps in preparation for the next day. Maurie Ferriter, director of programs and services for the NKFM, said with all these factors, Ditschman has his work cut out for him.


Although Ditschman said the physical aspects of his illness were difficult to learn to deal with, the real hurdles came with processing how his life would change.

Doctors have been unable to reach a consensus as to why Ditschman’s kidneys have continually failed 10 years after the initial incident. Dialysis helps patients remove excess toxins and water in their bodies that normally would be expelled by the kidneys throughout a normal day.

After enlisting the help of both a psychologist and psychiatrist, Ditschman said working through the low points after the initial kidney failure was one of the hardest parts.

Ditschman said although he might not have started out optimistically, he is now on an entirely different playing field.

“The nurses would tell me when I was at the (University of Michigan) hospital when I did dialysis there … ‘It’s gonna get better,’ and I would feel like, ‘That’s malarkey,’” Ditschman said.

“But they were right, though, it did get better, so I kind of keep that same philosophy eight or nine years later. The good news is the ups and downs are much more shallow.”


Four months prior to experiencing kidney failure, Ditschman and his wife, Andria Ditschman, adopted their first child, Jacob, who inspired Erich Ditschman to take control of his care.

Gaining the ability to dialyze at home was not the goal of himself as a kidney patient wanting to get out of the hospital, but of a father wanting to maximize time with his kids, he said.

However, Erich Ditschman said getting past his reluctancy to participate in the process was a challenge that was not easily overcome.

Becoming self-sufficient not only was a successful endeavor for Erich Ditschman, but an inspiration to those around him.

Diane Cox, Bath resident and friend of Erich Ditschman’s for more than 20 years, said he serves as an inspiration to her and her entire family.

“Everyday he gets up and he’s such a wonderful father and such a wonderful husband and friend, yet he goes through so much more than other people could imagine,” Cox said. “But he never complains and he rarely talks about it.”

Cox also will be paddling for a portion of the Grand River adventure as a fellow canoer.


Now in his 10th year of dialysis and having adopted his second child, Antonia, four years after beginning dialysis, Erich Ditschman is focusing on living his life to its fullest, which he said is not about settling, but revising your outlook.

He said living on dialysis for 10 years has taught him a lot about himself and his life.

“If we can’t laugh at the hurdles life throws at us, we’d be crying all the time,” he said. “Ten years is an evolution, so now I try to realize when I don’t have a lot of strength, I’m not going to have a lot of strength that day and I’m just going to get through that day and not be mad at myself because I’m limited in my abilities that day. I realize that.”

June 24, 2010

Sonia: An Inspiration!

My aunt Deb and my aunt Janet’s friend Sonia is doing great after her kidney transplant! She is in inspiration to me. She put this message on Facebook only ONE day after her surgery. Her donor is named Mahama:

“I want to thank all of you who have been praying and keeping positive thoughts for me. I am still in the hospital one day after my surgery and already feel like a new person. God is great and I am thankful for all the wonderful people He has brought to my side during this time. In particular for my angel Mahama may God Bless her always.” –Sonia

I have read that recipients start feeling better almost immediately. I CAN’T WAIT for that moment with Jackie. Wonderful.

Sonia is in need of financial help since her insurance DOES NOT cover the cost of her medications, travel to Phoenix and aftercare. Any possible donation you could manage would make a world of difference for her. Donations can be made directly to a Wells Fargo Bank (or Wachovia on the east coast). The acct # is 9422873969 For The Benefit of Sonia Rodriguez. You can also send directly to her at Alchemista, 1250 S. 4th Ave, Tucson AZ 85713 No donation is too small! I hope you can help. Thank you!

For those of you living in Tucson or Phoenix, there will be a fun dinner and show at The Westward Look with discounted rooms for anyone who wishes to spend the night. An invitation.

P.S. I swiped this pic of Sonia as a baby off of her Facebook page. CUTE!!!

Update June 27 Sonia posted this today on her Facebook page:

Good Afternoon EVERYONE! I’m finally at the hotel in Phoenix and recuperating as best I can! The incision is a doozy but worth every inch and then some. Life is wonderful! Not only has a wonderful Angel saved my life but God brought back into my life dear friends and family. He gave me incredible Doctors, Nurses and everyone at the Mayo Clinic are truly God’s hands on earth.
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