Born and raised in New Orleans, where she’s spent all of her 70 years, Jerrydean Queen loves to party. From Mardi Gras parades to Carnival balls, Jazz and French Quarter Festivals, Queen’s calendar is filled with celebrations. This mother and grandmother would like to be around for many more of these festivities and so she decided to focus on her health last year when she attended a free kidney screening offered through the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program.
Queen suffers from both high blood pressure and diabetes, but did not realize that these were risk factors for kidney disease.
“I learned so much at the screening. They told me that high blood pressure can damage the kidney’s filtering units and how important it is to keep it under control. They also checked for protein in the urine and explained that this can be the earliest sign of kidney disease,” says Queen.
She reports that the screening was a wake up call for her. She’s now taking insulin for her diabetes as well as blood pressure medication. She’s also cut out salt and starch, drinks no alcohol and has added in lots of vegetables to her diet.
Queen gets her exercise by walking to pick up her granddaughter, Tyrion, from school and riding her stationary bike. Queen’s daughter, Terrell, works full time and so she’s also been charged with cooking and keeping house. “I never thought I’d be doing all of this at this age, but I enjoy filling in for my daughter and the fact that I’m an integral part of the household is an added incentive to stay healthy,” says Queen.
Queen recently decked out her Shih Tzu dog in his Mohawk wig and tuxedo jacket and showed him off at the Barkus Ball Parade. She is looking forward to the Strawberry Festival coming up shortly. A diehard college football fan, Queen is also planning a trip to Jackson, Mississippi to watch her beloved Southern University take on Jackson State.
Recently, Queen decided to have her kidneys checked once again through the National Kidney Foundation’s Kidney Early Evaluation Program. She learned that since last year’s screening, her kidney function has increased significantly. All the hard work has paid off.
Queen smiles broadly when she says, “It’s a true cause for celebration!”