I feel honored to be included among the DPC Education Center Board of Directors.
In 2008, this is not something I would have ever anticipated. I went on vacation that spring thinking I had the flu or something similar and ended up hospitalized with kidney failure. At that time, I had no prior awareness of End Stage Renal Disease and found a lot of strength in the educational classrooms provided by Dialysis Patient Citizens.
For almost four years, I was an in-center hemodialysis patient, while working towards a kidney transplant (which was an interesting journey on its own), and continuing to work full-time in the Kansas City, Missouri, area. I received a transplant four years ago. As a result of my professional background, I am always interested in emergency preparedness as it relates to dialysis patients and others with special medical needs, and have been a part of the Kidney Coalition for Emergency Prepredness.
Two things that have been key to my success on this journey are becoming educated about my situation and the strong support team I developed, both among dialysis clinic staff, other medical providers, family and co-workers. I have found that the most important things about dealing with ESRD are developing a strong support infrastructure and becoming as educated as possible about the disease. One of the challenges is that there is a lot of conflicting information available about ESRD and how to treat it. For that reason, I am proud to serve on this Board, as the Dialysis Patient Citizens Education Center is a great source for locating factual information to help educate ESRD patients, their caregivers and others in the kidney community.
In particular, I have been motivated by one of my late co-workers, who in spite of suffering through several serious medical situations in her life, never let those challenges get the better of her. She encouraged me to take control of the situation as best I could, and to not let the challenges get me down. I hope to continue bringing that attitude to my time on the Board of Directors.