2 women share their stories while waiting for a kidney transplant

KC Strader and Jennifer Dennis were diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease. Now they offer each other support while they wait for a transplant.

PHOENIX – You’ve been supporting each other on a social media group for years, but when they finally got to meet face-to-face, the emotions were overwhelming as they talked about their diagnosis of kidney disease and each individual’s needs for a living donor.

KC Strader and Jennifer Dennis were both diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease early in life. The disease is caused by cysts that form on the kidneys and cause symptoms such as high blood pressure, back pain, and kidney stones. About 500,000 people in the United States have PKD, which can lead to kidney failure.

Strader and Dennis’ kidneys perform about 10% of normal kidney function, and the two check dialysis while waiting for the transplant list.

“At first I really didn’t think that we were on the verge of dialysis here,” says Dennis.

“I never thought I’d be at that point,” said Strader. “My goal is to avoid dialysis. And it’s still my goal. It is becoming less and less of an option. “

Living on dialysis is an option that Strader and Dennis want to avoid. Both dream of a time when they can do the things they enjoy, like spending time with their grandchildren or doing a work shift that doesn’t come at the cost of two or three days of pain and exhaustion.

“I want to spend time with the kids, maybe go back to work,” said Dennis. “I mean, I spent many years going to school trying to make a career that I lost. Maybe I work part time, maybe not. Maybe I just hang out with the family, I don’t know. But I just want to do normal things. “

“I don’t want to think that I need a kidney transplant 24/7,” Strader said. “Yeah, that’s what I want.”

Both Strader and Dennis are on transplant lists, but it is unlikely that either of them will receive a transplant before they need dialysis. Your greatest hope is to find a living donor.

They said waiting for a deceased donor to take an average of five to seven years. While screening a living donor can be time consuming, taking almost a year to screen a potential donor, it would greatly reduce the amount of time it would take anyone on dialysis.

“Dialysis is very similar to chemo” [therapy] in a way, ”explained Dennis. “Yes, it keeps you alive, but it wears out your body all the time you are doing it. So every month, every year that you have to do it, you get sicker and sicker. “

Strader has an email address that anyone who wants to learn more about testing for them can contact: [email protected]

Dennis used social media on both Facebook and Instagram to find a potential living donor.

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