I’ve always considered myself a healthy guy. I spent 8 years in the United States Marines. I’ve been a State Police Officer since 1993. I’m a father of 5. I was feeling fine and living my life, until I got news that just didn’t make sense. After a standard life insurance health assessment in 2002, the doctors found that my kidneys were only functioning at 65%. I didn’t even feel bad! This didn’t run in my family at all – not anywhere. My doctor’s told me, with certainty, that eventually I would need a kidney transplant. As you can imagine, I was upset. I couldn’t believe it. I worried about how I would work. What would happen to us? Why did this happen to me? But, then I thought, well, what do I do? Forget the what-ifs…it’s done. I need to take care of it.
I did everything I could to avoid going on dialysis. I had to limit my protein – which meant medications and drastically reducing how much meat I was eating, which wasn’t easy.
I had always been a registered donor, but I never thought about needing a transplant.
One of my biggest concerns was how I could continue working and supporting my family, if I had to go on dialysis 3 days a week.
Over the years, my energy deteriorated. Sometimes it was hard to get out of bed in the morning. I felt exhausted. I knew this wasn’t right.
I first spoke with my brothers about this in 2011. My brother David is 9 months and 20 days older than me, so we’d always been like twins. He started the process of being tested as my living donor. After seeing many doctors, they saw he was in perfect health. He was a strong match.
By the time our transplant took place, my kidney function was at 18%. If it would have reduced to 15%, I would have had to go on dialysis. Thankfully, the timing was right. My brother, David, donated his kidney to me on April 30, 2013. Immediately after surgery, I felt better.
Organ donation is probably one of the most important & most noble things anyone could do. And, it’s not about dying…it’s about helping someone in need. There’s always people out there. Regardless of your personal physical condition, everyone can join the Registry
Although I’m not really a planner, I look forward to spending more time with my family. I have been able to retire from the State Police, and I know I’ll stay busy with my children. Life is much better today, and it’s all because of donation.