Kidney disease has been part of Andrew’s life since he was 7 years old, when he was diagnosed with Hydronephrosis. Now 29, Andrew has had kidney disease for the majority of his life, but he’s guided by the principle that his kidney disease doesn’t control his life, he does.
Andrew began dialysis treatments when he was 19. While Andrew’s exposure to kidney disease happened so early in his life, he does not remember how he felt about it at its outset, but vividly remembers the beginning of his dialysis treatments.
For three-and-a-half years Andrew persevered through his dialysis treatments, becoming deeply engaged in reading and writing to overcome the effects of his treatments.
Andrew was finally able to receive a kidney transplant after three-and-a-half years, which allowed him to get off of dialysis and attend college, the way he always wanted. He began studying social work, pursuing a career to help others suffering from medical disabilities.
While Andrew’s life was finally back in his control, his kidney transplant failed after just a few years, and now has
been back on dialysis for the last 5 years. He still loves reading and challenging his mind, and is currently writing a fiction novel on a hero’s journey which he plans to publish. Andrew has never allowed dialysis to stop him from working to achieve his dreams.
Managing new careers while juggling dialysis treatments can be a challenge, but Andrew has stayed active, engaged, and shown courage in seeking support from his employers while balancing his day job and treatment routine. At the beginning of his treatments, he recognized the need to take time and process what’s happening to his body, and it was then that he realized what his body is capable of and how to adjust his lifestyle.
Andrew has since learned that it’s important to continue trying new things and pursuing his goals, but it’s okay if your body won’t allow you to do all of the things your mind wants you to right away.
Andrew’s perspective of taking his treatments seriously and listening to his body has guided his recovery, but hasn’t stopped his long-term goals and ambitions. His unique perspective of kidney disease and dialysis has made him passionate about deploying his knowledge and insights to help others.
Andrew hopes to attend the Dialysis Patient Citizens National Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. this fall, bringing his powerful firsthand experience to lawmakers on Capitol Hill where he will continue raising awareness and advocating for others in the kidney disease community.
His long-term goal is to continue advocating for the dialysis and disabled communities at large before members of Congress, helping lawmakers understand the impact their policies have on the people they affect. Specifically, he aims to secure more resources for the disabled community so they will have the capacity to pursue their passions and live on their own terms.
Not yet 30, life with kidney disease is routine for Andrew, and he is eager to make his mark and explore all that life has to offer outside of dialysis.
It’s this determination to make a difference that propels Andrew’s discipline and commitment to his dialysis treatments. Dialysis can take a toll, but Andrew is confident in his motivations and desires to live a fulfilling life, and to help other patients do the same.
Here’s Andrew’s advice to the dialysis community:
“It’s important to take some time to breathe. Just trying to soldier on is not doing yourself credit, but know that you can overcome it. Nothing that I’ve tried to do in earnest has been unattainable”.
Andrew knows that there’s more to do, more to see, and more to accomplish than what he’s experienced so far, and he will continue spreading this sense of purpose to the dialysis community as he pursues a career in advocacy.
Patient advocacy could be right for you too, and the team at DPC is eager to help. If you would like to speak with any of our advocates, or learn how to become one yourself, feel free to get in touch with us at www.dialysispatients.org or by calling (866) 877-4242. We can’t wait to meet you!