In 2009, after moving from America to Sweden I fell ill. At first, it was a sinus infection that would not go away, then shooting pain like lightning bolts going from my jaw through my brain. The E.R. doctors at the time proceeded with a sinus drainage, the experience was painful and pointless, since it was repeated 6 times to no avail. The infection traveled to the lungs, and quickly went from bronchitis to pneumonia. I was back at the E.R. this time, a month had elapsed and I had dropped from 180lbs to 160lbs. I stayed 2 weeks in the infectious wing of the hospital in Sweden before deciding to fly out to Paris France to see if they could find out what I had.
Four days, during 4 days I went through all possible tests and biopsies. Having traveled extensively prior to getting ill, all viruses and diseases were possible. Spinal tap, kidney and lung biopsies. I was so week by then that I couldn't get out of bed, my joints inflamed and locked weighing 146 lbs. In the afternoon of the fourth day the team of doctor and the professor of the Pulmonary department announced they were pretty sure they had pinpointed the culprit, however, my condition had deteriorated so much that there would not be a second try if they were wrong.
The doctors were right. It was WEGENER'S GRANULOMATOSIS.
For the next 6 months I learnt to handle chemothreapy, then for the next 8 years I managed an illness that had chewed up my kidney to 50%.
In January 2018, after completing my semi-annual round of chemotherapy, I got news that my kidneys were failing. This was so sudden it was surreal. I had not seen any signs or better said I couldn't see them because 2017 had been one long and arduous road. The new house I had bought, the family I had, my financial situation, all I had worked so hard to achieve all fell apart. My kidneys are now in the 5th stage of Chronic Kidney Disease (CDK 5 ); the point when the kidneys become so weak they eventually stop working.
A donor would, short of saving my life, give me a new life, one where I can taste, feel, live fully, without my body limiting and dictating what I can or cannot do or how active I can be.
I used to work as Touring tennis coach, a country club Head pro. The past 3 months I have been working at 50% of my capacity, eating away at my savings and at my weight, I have lost 12 lbs in the last 2 months. This past week I have been meeting with the transplant team at the Cleveland Clinic in Florida. I am now on a diet to help gain some weight back. I have started weight training again all to be in the best shape for the surgery.
A kidney transplant involves a heavy financial cost, costly drugs and nearly 10 to 12 weeks before I can run and swing a racket after the operation. Every donation of any amount will help tremendously.
My family is far away from me, the only family I have in Florida is my 2 year old daughter, who gives me strength and courage when the going gets tough. If you are not able to make a donation, please send your good thoughts and relay my story around you.
It is difficult for me to write about this publicly and ask for help, I have tried for so long to keep this quiet and only those close to me really understand how serious things had gotten.