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Thursday, April 17, 2014

“There is no cure for end stage renal disease. There are some very good treatment options though.” This was my first lesson upon being diagnosed in November of 1992.
My kidneys failed in 1994 with my first treatment option being peritoneal dialysis. Followed by an incredible gift of a kidney from my brother Brian. Kidney transplantation--second treatment option.
Life continued with Bartholemew, as Brian’s kidney fondly became known. It was 11 years, 11 months and 11 days later that Barholmew retired from working for me. I returned a second time to peritoneal dialysis.
After sustaining a rip in my peritoneal cavity while sledding, I needed a third option. This time it was home hemo dialysis. Five days a week encompassing a 5 hour time block.
Visiting my sister Catherine the first weekend in April of this year, I shared a memoir writing exercise about my diagnosis of end stage renal disease. I signed up for the class, which was offered by the Berne Public Library. The class drew about 10 people and we all had stories to share.
Catherine read the last line of my story: “Sandra, we have a kidney for you. You need to be at the hospital within an hour”.
“So, that means you shouldn’t really travel very far from home”?
“Oh, that. I doubt very much I’ll be getting a call for at least a year“.
Returning home I fell back into my regular East Berne routine. Check on and visit my Mom. Walk Puddles, our 125 pound chocolate lab. Check with my brother Brian on the status of happenings at our family sawmill business.
Monday morning, April 7, I started to set up for treatment. My husband Jim took the car for an errand. My machine was singing and ready for plug in. The phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number, AMC blah blah blah. I let the device handle it.

I got my bowl of cheerios and blueberries set in my treatment area. The last move was to wash my arm and blood cleansing would commence. But the phone was beeping from that message. My mind chatter started: “I better listen to that. It might be important”.

Click. “You have one message: This is Jennifer from the transplant office. Could you please call me when you get this message”.
Beep. “End of messages”.

Mind chatter again: “Oh, they must be calling to make sure I send in my monthly blood sample”.

I dialed the number. “Hello. This is Sandra Kisselback returning your call”
“Hi Sandra. This is Jennifer from the transplant office. We may have a kidney for you. How long will it take you to get to the hospital”?

They did indeed have a kidney for me and I was transplanted for a second time on April 8, 2014 at 6:30 a.m.
I am so grateful for all the many supporters who have been a part of this 22 year history of kidney failure. My husband Jim, my Mom and Dad-Rudy and Sheila Stempel, brother Brian, sister Catherine and my other 3 siblings, all the health care teams as I lived with each new treatment option, cousins, nieces and nephews, friends, neighbors and medical technology . Much gratitude to you all. And Valerie, my neighbor, You answered my call when I realized my wheels were missing--she drove me to Brian who transported me to Albany Med. Thank you. Most of all, thank you to that anonymous donor, whoever you are. Your life recently ended, but a piece of you lives on in me. The new kidney’s name is Lucinda. Hopefully we will have a long and healthy life together. One day at a time. “There is no cure for kidney disease, but there are treatment options”. Life is good.
Sandra L. Stempel-Kisselback

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    emoticon journey emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1309 days ago
    What a miracle! HUGS and prayers for you and Lucinda.
    1312 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon In other words, I'm very happy for you! emoticon
    1312 days ago
  • RDEE22
    What a journey Sandra. All the best to you and Lucinda, may you have a long and happy life together. What a support group emoticon
    1312 days ago
    May you and Lucinda have a long and happy life together!
    1312 days ago
    wow I hope you and Lucinda have many long years together . You are remarkable I hope you continue your zenful days and find happiness and sunshine in most of them. Hugs
    1313 days ago
    May you and 'Lucinda' have a Wonderful journey called Life together!

    I added you as a Friend . . because I want to be a part of that Journey with you!

    Impossible is Nothing!
    1313 days ago
    I was diagnosed with kidney disease five years ago, stage 3. 46 years old., not very good. I wasa told by the specialist that it aws incurable and would only get worse. Lo and behold, my kidney function has INPROVED, and I'm now in stage 2, 51 years old, Thanks to a good God. To God be all the glory. I'm so happy for you for taking the high road and living with this. My husbands cousin refused dialysis and died a month later. To me, he commited suicide. Do every thing in your power to live one more day. Blessings and hugs to you! emoticon
    1313 days ago
  • ZRIE014
    just remember that this is the first day of the rest of your life. make the most of it.
    1313 days ago
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