Lauren’s Kidney Transplant Story
Lauren was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease by the name of IgA Nephropathy. Her father, Erik, has shared her kidney transplant story with us as she prepares and hopes for her transplant. Additionally, Erik provided advice for others who are dealing with chronic illness, to help them stay strong and keep fighting.
“Lauren is actually doing well. She has both a local nephrologist and a team at MUSC who are treating her. He disease is chronic and progressive. She currently has about 20% renal function so she can get along fairly well as long as her blood pressure is controlled. Keeping her BP down actually has done a great deal for her quality of life. Lauren is my first child of three, she is married with one step-son, and her husband is a good hardworking man. Their insurance has a high deductible which is what the majority of the donations are going towards. She is a veterinarian tech and lives on a small farm. She raises goats, show chickens, ducks, and peacocks. She is a typical country girl and full of smiles when she feels well.”
When dealing with chronic illnesses, there is always a series of hardships and battles. Erik shared what those hardships were for them, “Dealing with ‘not knowing’. Lauren has dealt with chronic migraines for many years and only after seeing a neurologist who was thorough and addressed the root causes for her headaches, did she finally get a solid diagnosis; it was actually a relief in a way. Of course, the money is an issue. We feel, and she feels, that we should be responsible for medical care, but this event is overwhelming. Her medical coverage has a $10k yearly deductible which is almost half of her personal income. Needless to say, she is not a wealthy person, but she has always been gainfully employed and still is working even though she often has rough days.”
So how do they stay motivated? When facing something so serious and scary, how do you continue on? Erik shared with us how his family continues to fight regardless of Lauren’s illness, “Everyone has to do everything to make each day matter. Knowing that she can be healed because of the fantastic research and treatments available. She has taken charge of her health and fitness and strives to be as strong as possible so when the transplant happens she can bounce back as quickly as possible. Knowing that when she gets a donated kidney she will be much healthier as a whole and seeing the opportunity for healing keeps all of us going. Hope and trust in modern medicine along with brilliant doctors helps a lot too.”
Tough times, in addition to motivation, also call for support. Support, wherever you find it, is an important part to staying strong and moving forward. Erik shared the support that he, Lauren, and the rest of their family get, “It has been overwhelming. She has received donations from all over the nation, from friends that we have never actually met face to face. Social media has a good side. Our entire family has friends from all over the world who we have never met face to face who have donated. I have friends from a cycling website that I have never met who have donated thousands to help her. The same goes for family friends via the now more traditional Facebook channels.” Reaching out to your network, like Lauren and Erik did, is a key way to achieve the support you are looking for. People are willing to help, you just have to ask.
Finally, Erik provided advice for others who are also dealing with difficult situations. “Care for yourself first, listen to your body and your caregivers. Take charge of your health and life and make the best of it. You only have one life to live so make the best of it,” he shared.
If you would like to learn more about Lauren’s story, you can visit her GiveForward page here.