Chapter One: Diagnosis
Chapter Two: Donor?
Chapter Three: Dialysis
Chapter Four: Transplant
Chapter Five: Recovery
From My Lens
 Chapter One: Diagnosis

In 1996, I went through my usual tests with my nephrologist, Dr. James Lewis in Columbus, Ohio. He informed me my kidneys were working perfectly.

Fast forward to December 1998. Around Christmas, I began to have problems seeing. Being a photojournalist, I found this to be quite a problem. I went to an eye doctor and after several tests, he discovered my blood pressure was at an extremely dangerous level -- 260/140. Because of this, capillaries in my retina were bleeding, causing blurred vision. An hour later, I was in the intensive care unit at a local hospital.

Some time over the last two years my kidneys had started to fail. Now only about 15 percent of their function remained. This is what caused my blood pressure to sky-rocket. The oddest part was, I felt fine.

It was then I was introduced to Dr. Charles Pruchno, an internist in Cedar Rapids. He explained that the loss of kidney function was not reversible and I would eventually need dialysis and/or a transplant. He said my creatinine, a measure of kidney function, was now at 4.6. -- the normal range is .8 to 1.4 -- but with blood pressure control, the decline could be slowed or even stalled. This is exactly what happened. For the next nine months, my creatinine changed very little.

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