By Nancy Noble
I have been living with kidney disease since I was 25 years old. When I was in college, my knee started hurting. I didn’t know why, but it hurt a lot. My body was telling me something was wrong; I just didn’t know what. My boyfriend’s father was a doctor, so one weekend we went to visit his family and his dad ran some tests. My blood pressure was high, I had super high cholesterol and I had protein in my urine. He immediately put me on high blood pressure and cholesterol medicines. He told me I needed to see a nephrologist. I said, “What is that”? He said “A kidney specialist.”
I had just graduated and I was moving back home from Northern Michigan University. Luckily, my mom’s neighbor was a doctor at Henry Ford Hospital and I got in to see the doctor. I had a biopsy to figure out what was wrong (back then you actually stayed the night at the hospital for the biopsy!). I was told I had focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. Yikes! Try saying that three times fast.
After the diagnosis, my doctor kept me on high blood pressure and cholesterol medicines and said, “See ya in a year!” The thing about my kidney disease, at the time, was that it didn’t really affect my everyday life. I watched my fatty foods, but that was about it.
A couple of years later, when I told my doctor I was getting married, his only question was, “Are you planning on having kids?” I said, “Of course.” He changed by blood pressure medicine and that was that.
A little while later, I called to tell him I was pregnant and he told me I would experience some swelling in my feet. Did I ever experience swelling! By the third month, my feet were very swollen and I started having preeclampsia symptoms for the rest of my pregnancy.
When I was 26 weeks pregnant I went into the hospital and four weeks later my daughter, Sarah, was born. Ten weeks early — at 1 pound, 13 ounces!
Stay tuned for the next chapter and how I got to the place where I am today!