Kidney Transplant

Hello, my name is Perla Chavez Cuellar. I am 27 years old. I was diagnosed with Kidney Disease in September of 2010. I started dialysis on December 13th, 2011. I was doing peritoneal dialysis, meaning dialysis treatment every night. I started doing 8-hour period treatments, and as my body began to deteriorate I was doing 9-hour period treatments. In addition to peritoneal dialysis came more medicine, more blood pressure problems. There is no cure to Kidney Disease, but with a kidney transplant you can live a normal life. A kidney transplant allows for an overall better way of living - no more dialysis treatments, clinic visits weekly or monthly, no blood work done every month, no more carrying my dialysis machine everywhere.

After starting dialysis, I wasn’t able to go on the waiting list for a transplant due to my immigration status; I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. Because I was an immigrant I could not receive any help from the government. A social worker was able to get me Medicare insurance because without dialysis I would die. It took about a year to receive that, and once I did I got the catheter placement to begin dialysis. At the time, it was the most painful thing that had ever happened to me.

Thankfully, I received my working permit in 2013. Fast forward to August of 2014 when I started working for a vacation company where I’m currently employed as a travel consultant. It is a commission-based job. I received medical insurance short after through the company. Before applying for a green card, I needed to have the working permit for 3 years. In 2016, I applied for a green card and received it last year in May 2017. After receiving my green card, I could go on the waiting list for a kidney. However, I wasn’t ready at that specific moment. In order to receive a kidney transplant you have to be ready physically, mentally, and financially. Months went by as my doctors and I noticed I wasn’t doing as good as before. In November of 2017 I told my Kidney Transplant Coordinator I was ready for a transplant. I was officially on the waiting list by December 7th, 2017.

On March 10th, 2018 I received a kidney transplant at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. Today, March 22nd, 12 days post-transplant, my new kidney has been working outstanding. The pain is unbearable, there’s good, bad, and even worse days. I am out of work for an unknown period of time, and bills are starting to pile up. The proceeds from this fund will go towards my medical bills and helping provide for myself and my household while I go back to work. As I mentioned before, my job is commission-based only, so I am currently not bringing in any money. I have been taking from my savings, but unfortunately that will not be enough. Even with insurance I am still responsible for a lot of money out of pocket. For patients not covered by health insurance, a kidney transplant typically costs up to $260,000 or more total for the pre-transplant screening, donor matching, surgery, post-surgical care, and the first six months of drugs. For patients with insurance, it varies depending on their insurance. Afterward, it costs about $17,000 a year for anti-rejection drugs.

I am extremely thankful for everyone who took the time to read my story and is willing and able to contribute towards my medical bills. Every dollar donated is truly appreciated to help me get back on my feet after my surgery. I am forever grateful for my second chance at life! Thank you so much to everyone in advance!


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Chavez Perla 
Norristown, PA
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