Doctor reveals difficult truth

SURVIVAL TIP: “Your pain is the passport that allows access into someone’s life.”
~ Levi Lusko


The Charlotte hospital experience started no differently, than the local hospital visit did. A few “hospitalists”, who contributed nothing to my care, tried to diagnose my pain. Finally one of the “hospitalists” called in my old friend, Dr. Fotiatis. The man who had sent me home with a transplanted kidney would tell me that my new kidney had succumbed to the immune disorder that caused failure in my native kidneys: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephritis. My body makes so much IgA that the antibody gunks up my kidneys prohibiting them from processing fluid and toxins from the blood. (Gunks up is a medical term!)

Dr. Fotiatis came in to talk with me and my mom and aunt, who immediately traveled the few hours to the hospital after I was admitted. That interaction taught me two important lessons.

1) Be sure everyone in the room has the same understanding of the prognosis or frantic texts will alert your friends that you are dying within weeks.

2) My life was about to change forever and get even more difficult. Within a couple of days, I would have a catheter placed in my chest near my collarbone as I had in 2007 to start dialysis immediately.

Did YOU KNOW?At the end of 2009, 398,861 (kidney) patients were being treated with some form of dialysis. 1

My family and friends prayed and supported me through the last bout with kidney failure. And they were with me in the hospital. I knew then and believe now that everything happens for a reason, if only to prepare us for the next stage of our lives.

As I reflect on this experience, I consider what a friend recently told me. She heard in Levi Lusko’s sermon, “Your pain is the passport that allows access into someone’s life.” Had I not gone through this a second time, I would not be sharing this blog with you and would not have the opportunity to grow as I have in the past three years.

We continue this journey together, and I invite you to share your challenges and experiences as we build a community here.


If you or someone you care about is facing dialysis, please share your experiences and concerns. This is a forum for learning and inspiration. Please share your stories and questions. What were your experiences and challenges with dialysis?


About dialysisgal

When I joined the 450,000 Americans on dialysis, I wondered what "normal" would be. Would people stare at my access and ask what was wrong? In this blog, I hope to save other patients and their families from the difficulties I have faced. I want to share my experiences, what I learned, had to ask and was shocked to find. I am not a medical professional, but I hope we can have a conversation to help you better understand what you or someone you love with chronic kidney disease (CKD) might expect while living with dialysis.
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One Response to Doctor reveals difficult truth

  1. Pingback: Bad news, fun times meet in the hospital | dialysisgal

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