Raising Awareness of Kidney Health
In mid-May of 2014, I returned to dialysis treatments at St. Paul's Hospital in Saskatoon, after thriving for over 34 years, with a wildly successful kidney transplant. I am using this time (three times a week for four hours per treatment) to write a trilogy of stories that raise awareness around kidney health, called "Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality ".
Your generous contribution of $20.00 or more will help me to attain my goal of self-publishing, and thus, to bring my personal story to life in book form.
Three times a week, four hours each time, on life-saving dialysis thearapy.
An early endorsement written by Ilara S-Gaudet:" 'Dancing with Rejection'....what a journey! The world needs this story...not only because it's a story about dialysis, transplantation and kidney health, but also because it's a story about love and creation and embracing life in the very darkest hours...and the story itself is a pearl of respite, which is the true significance of this book."
My story :
In 1979, at age 19, I was diagnosed at Sunnybrooke Medical Center in Toronto with End-Stage Renal Failure. Only a scant fifteen years prior to this, ESRF was pretty much an assured death sentence.
My father Robert Gaudet died of kidney failure on November 22nd, 1963, before readily available dialysis therapy was an option.
At Sunnybrooke, there were highly trained kidney specialists who immediately recognized my symptoms. Thanks to this, I received an emergency operation that allowed the life-saving intervention of dialysis, the following day. Dialysis is a technological marvel that allows the kidney patient to have their blood cleansed by an artificial kidney machine.
A page from my sketchbook..."Scene from Dialysis 10:48, April 4th, '79."
My neighbor dialysis patient at Sunnybrooke Hospital in Toronto. May 12th, 1979.
At age 19, I designed and painted "Recovery 1".
My first response, after I felt better, was to design and paint a mural called “Recovery 1”, that I donated to the hospital. It was urgent for me to leave my mark on the world. My brush with an early death greatly influenced my artistic direction. Thinking of my artistic heroes, who had painted monumental murals that earned them a certain sense of immortality, I decided early on that I would not leave this life without leaving a legacy of artwork behind.
St. Mary's Basilica in Halifax, N.S., site of mural "Trinity 1981".
Shortly after my kidney transplant, I drew a picture that symbolized the "Holy Trinity", or Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. I brought my sketch to show the archbishop at St. Mary's Basilica. To my delight, he contracted with me, at age 21, to paint a mural depicting my vision.
Age 21, working on the mural "Trinity 1981" at St. Mary's Basilica, Halifax.
The finished mural symbolizes the "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" within the geometric bounds of three triangles within a triangle.
Standing with my mother Shirley Gaudet and Archbishop J. Hayes after the unveiling.
My early success fueled my determination to forge ahead with my career as a working artist. I decided early on to carve out a career as a mural-painter. With this focus, I have in the interim designed and painted well over sixty large murals from coast to coast in Canada, with an emphasis in the past couple of decades in Western Canada.
Please click here to view my mural-painting portfolio.
Thirty years later, in 2011...working on "March of Trinity" at Sacred Heart Church in Saskatoon.
(Left to right): myself, Archbishop Donald Bolen, Parish Priest Father Sabah Kamoura. after the unveiling of "March of Trinity"
While my decision to pursue the career path of “monumental mural-painter” has been very fruitful, the question of precarious health lead me to reach out to the renal (kidney) community, to create a Facebook page called “Kidney Transplant Donors and Recipients ”, where we welcome and embrace the renal community worldwide. We welcome anyone with a “kidney connection”, in all stages of their health journey. My wife Sharon originally came up with the idea to form this group, and she and I were the first members. After about two years, the group has grown to over ten-thousand strong!
So, much as I hoped that my career as a muralist might assure a certain measure of immortality, the formation of KTDR has superseded this goal, as it is a living, thriving community. It has far exceeded my expectations, to say the least! And, it continues to expand its reach on a daily basis.
Since I re-started thrice-weekly, four hour dialysis treatments, I have fast-tracked a writing project that I've dabbled in for a few years. Thanks to this dedicated “me-time”, I am just about ready to release Book 1 of a trilogy called, “Dancing with Rejection: A Beginner's Guide to Immortality ”. Thanks in large part to my friend and mentor, the best-selling Saskatchewan author Wes Funk, I'm going ahead to self-publish. You might say, I don't really have the luxury of unlimited time to wade through “rejection” letters from the publishing houses. Don't you think it might be a bit ironic to stare down these notices for a project of this sort?
After juggling countless moving parts, I was thrilled to hold the first copy proofs in my hands.
The costs associated with editing, formatting and printing Book 1 of the trilogy are $4899.00. My wish is to pay homage to my late father Robert Gaudet, with the publication of this book series. Please help with the funding of this project. Your contribution of $20.00 or more (plus shipping) will entitle you to a signed copy of Book 1 of the trilogy.
The adventurous visual artist Michael Gaudet has written a new book, Dancing With Rejection: A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality. It tells the moving story of the death of Michael’s loving father, his own near-death experience and life as an artist. There is romance, medical traumas and synchronistic brushes with the metaphysical. Michael is a muralist and portrait painter among his many other pursuits and this book is another piece of artistry with rich lustre. It draws you in close provoking a notable intimacy much like his visual art. Reading this inspirational story is a reminder that when there is hope, there is possibility and that good things are present even in the worst of times. Despite his many difficulties, Michael, his family and friends and all who support him are grateful for the blessings in life and the many miracles they’ve encountered along the way. Dancing With Rejection: A Beginner’s Guide to Immortality is a powerful work that will continue to profoundly impact our thinking about chronic kidney disease and and kidney donation.