At the age of 22, Anthony was working a great job with advancement opportunities in front of him. Everything was going well in his life and he was looking forward to a bright future. He didn’t think much of it, but he often had a buzzing feeling in the back of his head and his doctor had told him he had high blood pressure. An emergency room visit and a series of tests revealed that he was in kidney failure and his kidneys were functioning at only 5% of capacity.
Anthony was told the situation was incredibly dangerous and that he would need ongoing dialysis treatment to survive. His reaction was shock and disbelief, and he immediately became worried about his unknown future. He became depressed but remained determined to not give up.
Instead of making the decision to quit his job and having others care for him, he made a choice to fight the disease. The path ahead of him was a mountain. But even though that mountain was covered in fog, he began to climb.
In order to continue working a full-time 40 hours a week job, Anthony went to dialysis at 5am in the morning. Then, he would take a short nap, wake up and work 1:00-10:00 pm shifts. He was physically and mentally exhausted but remained determined to maintain a positive mindset for himself.
“The battle isn’t in the dialysis chair – though that takes its toll physically. The main part of the battle is in the mind,” he said. Anthony knew his positive mindset would help him along his way. “It’s work to stay positive and many choose not to do it.”
Anthony’s doctor told him that a transplant would be his best option, but Anthony was worried about the surgery and the wait time for a transplant. He also felt uncomfortable asking friends and family to donate. Just as he was getting used to dialysis, it was a lot to process.
Then, at a gathering to celebrate his birthday, Anthony was approached by his sister-in-law who told him she needed to talk to him. She said she had been talking it over with her husband for some time, she knew her blood type was a match, and that she wanted to be his living donor! Anthony was floored but accepted. It was the best birthday gift he’d ever gotten.
Soon after, Anthony and his sister-in-law began the testing process for transplantation. Two weeks later he found out his wife was expecting their first child. Both he and his sister-in-law passed the testing, and surgery was scheduled for 3 weeks before the baby was due to be born.
Anthony’s surgery was a success, and his son was born 2 weeks later. After recovery and returning to work, he was presented with a fortuitous opportunity to apply for a career as a biomedical technician in the same dialysis unit in which he was formerly a patient. Anthony got the job and feels grateful every day for work that fuels his passion for helping others overcome their physical and mental challenges with kidney disease. If given the choice of an easier journey free of chronic kidney disease, Anthony says he would still have followed the difficult, uncertain path because it revealed his true purpose.