You may know my story, Yana B. but meet my friend Liz! We are Kidney Transplant Warriors with different stories but the same determination to live life out loud.
March is National Kidney Awareness Month and we’re here to spread awareness and to let others know they’re not alone. When someone finds out their kidneys are failing, oftentimes they feel alone and in despair– even though they know hundreds of thousands suffer from the same condition. We hope you’ll share our story with others so they don’t feel so alone on their journey.
We’re both survivors, moms, bloggers, and positive-influencers on Instagram. We love people, our families, smiling/laughing, style, sharing joy in life, and more.
LIZ S. (@espressofied)
I was an energetic, curious, strong-willed, creative child. I climbed trees and bookshelves like a monkey in the jungle, danced until I was dizzy from twirling, grabbed on to any other child to make friends, and just loved people (I obviously still do). I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at around the age of 9 and things began to get shaky.
I wasn’t allowed to have sweets and was on a strict diabetic diet as a child. I would endure reactions to blood sugar fluctuations, seizures, multiple blood tests and insulin shots daily, dozens of ophthalmic surgeries and procedures which eventually left me with low vision, and more. I became tired of what life felt like.
I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease/renal failure at the age of 33. My doctor told me that my kidney function rate was dropping and that I’d eventually need a kidney transplant. My nephrologist was proactive with my healthcare and helped me to understand what my timeline might look like and how I could get on the organ transplant list. When I first learned of the news, I thought I was going to pass out from the lack of oxygen going to my brain (& heart), then collapsed in my office chair to cry. I felt like I was the only person going through this disease at that moment. I felt alienated from the rest of the happy-go-lucky-world. I felt… alone.
A huge storm hit that very night and knocked out all of the electricity in the DMV area. It seemed fitting. I mean, why not? Might as well turn out the lights, literally, as I felt like my lights had been turned off internally.
I was put on the organ transplant list that same month and, thankfully, only had to wait 5 more months before receiving the call. I went into transplant surgery on June 1, 2013. All I know about my donor is that he was a 22-year-old male. He is an angel. His kidney and pancreas have restored me to life— I have great kidney function and no longer have diabetes. I live my life out loud for him, for others, for my family, and for myself. I’ve written to his family through my transplant center but have not heard from them. I understand why. I just want them to know their/his decision to donate life keeps giving, and giving, and giving.
YANA B. (@yanabstyle)
Full story available here
I, Yana B., am a kidney transplant warrior of over 20 years and a Lupus survivor of over 25 years. I received my kidney transplant from my mom after months on dialysis and a tough, scary battle with lupus. I’m very thankful to God that I’ve been able to live so many healthy years and not on dialysis. It’s a blessing above all blessings to be able to live a normal lifestyle and raise my children without being sick. My transplant gave me a second chance at life!
I received a living organ from my mother, who donated one of her kidneys to me via transplantation. I was in my third year of college at NC State University (I did my first two years at Morgan State University) and was trying to finish school. I was already on my second break from college due to having Lupus and its effects (chronic attacks) on my kidneys and I just wanted to graduate. I felt I was running late for life!
I’ve lived with Lupus for over 25 years. I have faced a lot of challenges. With Lupus, I was unable to walk at one point in time. My hair has fallen out on more than one occasion. I’ve been on chemotherapy and on 2 different types of kidney dialysis (hemo and peritoneal)— all at a young age. I am a testament to Buddha’s quote: “The mind is everything. What you think you become.” I believe that what you focus on is what you feed— and that is what grows. I never chose to feed the disease or my circumstances. I continued to focus on my friends, family, fun, and fashion at all times. Even when I was at the lowest point of my sickness, I made sure I stayed fly and smiled. I didn’t want my life to change due to the rude interruptions of an uninvited disease. I certainly wasn’t ready to die as I had a lot more to do, many places to see, and people to meet. So I continue to live life as normally as possible. [Read the full story here.]
WALK WITH US
We walk together wearing “kidney awareness green” while living out loud and helping others. Walk with us!
Have questions? Comment below!
Location: Washington, D.C.
Green Sequin Dresses by Badgley Mischka (@badgleymischka)
Professional Photography by Pablo Raya (@praya1)
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