What It's Like

August 17, 2021, 5:04pm EDT

Laurie with Sidney the Kidney in the snow at Kidney Walk

We are proud to share a firsthand account of what it is like to be an immune compromised individual, living through the 4th wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. This journal entry is being shared, as written, before boosters were recently recommended for patients like Laurie. For more information about COVID-19 and kidney disease, visit kidney.org/covid-19 or call our toll-free helpline, 855-NKF-CARES.


Journal Entry: August 5, 2021, written by Laurie C.

My life as a kidney transplant recipient without having antibodies with the Covid vaccine

I received my altruistic kidney transplant on December 10, 2018 after being on dialysis for 6+ years. The hoping and waiting for a kidney is something that only those who are in that situation can understand. It was truly an amazing feeling when I received the gift I had dreamed of for so long. So protecting this gift at all costs is something I think about every minute of everyday.

Research is showing that my immunocompromised body has not built up antibodies to fight covid leaving me in a very vulnerable situation. I have been asking and relying on the public to think about others, and not just themselves, by getting a vaccine that can save lives - MY LIFE!

I am constantly reminded that my life is not like others. I have to trust myself, be safe and unapologetically, ask the question, “Are you vaccinated?” when I am not sure of someone’s status. I wear my mask to protect myself and others. I am the protector of my precious kidney and know that I have to be vigilant at all costs - but does it have to be that way? Why should my life matter less? I put my life on hold while waiting for my kidney transplant once, and I don’t want to do that again. It’s exhausting to continually have arguments/discussions about this with people, including my own family.

I am fully vaccinated, yet wholly unprotected. My doctor says act as though I never got vaccinated. Imagine everyone has covid.

Living with an invisible illness is challenging. If people can’t see your illness, somehow it doesn’t exist.

Health is something that people take for granted. It won’t happen to me! Sure, just like I never imagined I’d be on dialysis, need a kidney transplant and be on a first name basis with more doctors, nurses and surgeons than I ever thought.

I have been at home, missed a lot of events, couldn’t see my father when he was dying from Covid three months ago, avoided people without masks, sometimes feel like I have to make excuses why I can’t go places with friends, and the mental health aspect is draining.

People don’t care about one another. All you have to do is wear a mask. You don’t have to sit 4 hours at dialysis with huge needles stuck in your arm. You don’t have to wait for a transplant that you're not sure will happen. You don’t have to continually worry you’ll get sick because your body isn’t protected.

The biggest concern people have is when can I go to a restaurant; have my wedding; go on vacation and the list goes on.

All I ask is that people are empathetic and just try to understand what it’s like to never know when today will be the day I become sick and possibly lose my precious kidney - or my life.