I have long term diabetes and was not aware of this until 2009 when I became extremely sick and ended up in the hospital. We found that my blood glucose was in the 600s, whereas normal blood glucose levels range from 70 to 100 mg/dL. I have struggled to control my blood sugar by taking medication and insulin, and even by modifying my diet. About 3 years ago, I was in and out of the hospital every 2 months or so (for at least a week with each admission), with fluid retention and high blood pressure. I was tested and retested for almost everything in the book when they finally tested my kidney function. This is when I learned that my kidneys had started to fail.
In less than a year after finding out that my kidneys were failing, I was told that I had to go to the hospital to have an emergency chest port put in and have a peritoneal dialysis catheter placed in my abdomen. I lost 50 pounds in retained fluid in 24 hours after starting dialysis in the hospital. I was in the hospital for 8 days on hemodialysis, and I continued to do hemodialysis for 8 weeks at a dialysis center after being released from the hospital.
I then had to wait for my catheter and port to heal, and began training to start peritoneal dialysis. Peritoneal dialysis is done at home every night while I sleep. The training takes from 1 to 2 weeks and starts by you performing the dialysis procedure manually 4-5 times a day. They then send you home with a machine that you hook up to the port in your abdomen that does the work for you. I am on my machine roughly 9 hours every night while I sleep. I have a lot of issues with my feet, and have been on and off antibiotics. The antibiotics also contributed to the damage done to my kidneys. I have had 28 blood infusions with over 100 units total in about a 2 year period. However, I now receive EPO shots twice a week which helps my red blood cells to build on their own so that I don't form too many antibodies. This is so I will have a better chance in find a viable matching donor.
When I go on any over night trips, my wife and I have to pack up my machine and all of the supplies that I need for the amount of nights that I am going to be away from home. I am on a special diet and have blood work done once a month. I must see a nephrologist once a month as well. My kidney function is checked every 3 months. I have a whole host of medical issues caused by my failing kidneys.
Since being on dialysis, my blood glucose levels have thankfully been under control without having to take insulin or other medication, which is rare, due to the fact that the type of solution used for my dialysis is sugar based. I have done a lot of research on kidney disease and dialysis over the course of these last 3 years. With my acquired knowledge, and at the suggestion of my doctors, I have applied at Tampa General Hospital to qualify for a kidney transplant. This is my best option at leading a remotely comfortable life. I have qualified health-wise for a transplant; however, due to not having secondary health insurance (and with finances being so limited), I do not financially qualify. The anti-rejection medications alone can cost upwards of about $500 a month after insurance.
After much research, I found that Go Fund Me provides a safe and reliable way to get the financial help that I need in order receive a transplant, and it also spreads awareness about my disease and how it has changed my life. I am trying to be added to the national donor registry, and to do so I must have a financial backing of at least $9,000. With that, please share my story, and donate if you can. Every little bit, every share and every dollar, helps! And I would be forever grateful for your kindness and generosity.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
- Josh Erdman
- Kim Wescptt
- Brown Male Monkey with Diaper and Pacifier
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