Hi. My name is Niem, and I work as a web producer in California.
In 2009, during a routine physical exam, I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (Stage 3), specifically, IgA Nephropathy, which has no known cause. Six years later, in 2015, despite doing what I could with medicine, nutrition, and exercise, my kidneys failed as I entered Stage 5. I was feeling weak, tired, and foggy-headed.
After getting a special Peritoneal Dialysis (PD) catheter surgically placed into my abdomen and receiving training at Satellite Wellbound, I began PD treatments in January of 2016. I began to feel better, but life expectancy on dialysis on average is 5-10 years. I wanted to live longer than that if possible.
The best treatment (not cure) for kidney failure is a transplant from either a living donor or a deceased donor. The average life expectancy for living donor kidney transplant patients is 12 to 20 years. For deceased donor kidney transplant patients, it's 8 to 12 years.
I got on Stanford's 8-to-10-year-long waiting list for a deceased donor kidney, but I couldn't stop there. I knew I had to try to get a living donor kidney. Asking family and friends to donate one of their kidneys is not easy. I guess that's one of the reasons they call it The Big Ask.
Fortunately, writing about my need for a living kidney spurred my best friend, Jason Garcia, to courageously look into seeing if he could be a match. And amazingly, he was! We had our kidney transplant on December 2017 and both of us are doing well. I will forever appreciate his Big Give and love Jason and his family for what they did for me.
The blog on this website offers our personal accounts leading up to the transplant. Jason very graciously shared his experiences of the screener tests and his feelings about everything. I kept track of my thoughts and emotions as well.
I hope you enjoy my website, and invite you to contact me through this form if you have any questions or comments:
The photo above is from Kyoto at the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine. The kanji characters on the wooden stick offering represent a wish/prayer for good health. Here's to your good health as well.