As most of you know I've been diabetic for 24 years. About three years ago during routine blood work, it was discovered that my kidney function was 39%. As bad as that sounds, doctors don't even look at your kidney function unless it's below 60%, and many people live their whole lives with that reduced function and without incident. At that time my diet was adjusted to reduce the sodium amounts daily. My function remained at 39% until June of 2013 when it dropped to 24%. At this point planning began to prepare for future possibilities of dialysis and transplant options. My girlfriend, Shannon Zutell Machen and I attended classes and got crash courses on all things kidney related. Without her to ensure I follow my diet restrictions and staying on top of all the appointments, I'm sure I wouldn't be as positive or even as little healthy as I am. She has been a lifesaver. Just 2 months after that my kidney function dropped to 14%, technically this is when dialysis begins. During this time my body started to retain fluid as my kidneys couldn't clear the waste materials properly. This caused my body to be sluggish and without much energy. My legs felt like they were full of mud. The whole idea is to avoid dialysis, so enduring these symptoms was vital to long term health. So since August I've endured that, hoping no further symptoms arose. Since September I've been going to Hershey Medical Center to complete all my extensive testing to be put on the transplant list. Tom, my brother, has graciously offered one of his kidneys if he was a match for me. He's been a true hero in being so selfless and to offer without a second of hesitation. Since then Tom and I have completed our testing and matching to clear us for transplant. Hershey Medical Center reported that the only way I could have a closer match is if I had an identical twin. This is wonderful news to say the least. Our transplant is scheduled for March 18th, barring any last minute illnesses. It's been a tough last seven months, learning a lot, testing being done, and feeling helpless as my body has broken down. On January 18th, when I knew that transplant was probably two months away I opted to start dialysis before I got so bad I couldn't work anymore. Doctors and nurses praised the fact that I opted into dialysis myself before getting so sick it would be harder for me to feel better. Since beginning dialysis I feel so much better. I think the toughest parts of the whole thing were keeping it quiet from friends, family and my work family. The main reason for that was because of enduring the symptoms had me feeling like I ran a marathon every single day. The more people that would've known, the more that would have been checking in with me and in turn having me fixated on the negative when it is critical that I focus on the positive. Coming to work and going about my life as normal as possible has allowed me to stay as positive as possible. Had I focused on all these negatives, I'm sure it would've consumed my thoughts. Shannon also has a network of home based business people that she is coordinating with as a basic fundraising opportunity to help with bills while we are off work, meds, and running back and forth from York to Hershey for all the follow up care a couple times per week for both me and Tom. So if you see posts about sales, that's what it's for. All that's really asked is for positive thoughts, and well wishes. Anything more is graciously accepted. Good ole mom, Louise Spealman, tried taking this all in stride, but I know it's been stressful for her. She's a trooper though and as all us parents know, will do anything for our children. Tristan Adams, my son, is ok with everything now, as he's talked to mom and Shannon frequently. I think talking to me would get him too emotional, but he wanted to donate his kidney. I spoke with him about having to be 18, so that was tough to explain to him why he couldn't "save" his dad. Instead I praised his selflessness and generosity. I hope this catches everyone up to speed and I sincerely hope you all understand why I didn't tell many people. No ill will was intended, nor am I implying that telling any of you would've been negative. Literally every time I was asked by doctors how am I feeling, the answer was, I feel the worst I've ever felt, and I get to go to sleep and wake up feeling the exact same way. So you hopefully see why I wanted as few people as possible asking me how I felt.