I have been on and off of dialysis since I was 12 years old and diagnosed with kidney failure as a result of a bicycle accident. I was lucky enough to receive a transplant from my mother which lasted for seven years until my body rejected it in 2000. I was temporarily put on hemodialysis but now undergo peritoneal dialysis three times a week for 10 hours while I sleep.
I am thankful for dialysis because it has provided me with the gift of life. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to become part of a larger community of empowered patients, like DPC’s Board of Directors, who are continually working to improve the lives of patients just like ourselves.
During the period of time when I was on hemodialysis, I discovered my passion for really getting to know my fellow dialysis patients and helping them remain positive and optimistic. I began visiting my dialysis facility on my days off from treatment to visit with patients and help raise their spirits, and was even asked by facility staff members to speak at various banquets for other people who were also suffering from kidney failure. I have traveled from my hometown of Selma, CA to Washington, D.C. several times to lobby for important legislation for my kidney community.
I am currently on the waiting list for another transplant, but I feel that being on dialysis has made me stronger and has given me a completely different outlook on life, even inspiring me to go to college to become a medical interpreter for Spanish speaking people who may have language barriers in accessing their health care.