My name is Eryn and I am a kidney transplant recipient. I was born with congenital abnormalities and had multiple surgeries throughout my childhood to include a nephrectomy at the age of five. My singular functioning kidney allowed me to live a normal life, participating in social and extracurricular activities with the occasional doctor visit and testing that I overall did not seem to mind. In fact, my symptoms of kidney disease did not truly affect me until I was 24 years old. I had begun feeling the physical effects of the disease as it had progressed to stage 5 and I received the devastating news that I would need a kidney transplant or dialysis to help improve my quality of life. I was talked to about the risks and benefits and was told I would be an excellent candidate for transplant.
My dad was the first to sign up to donate his kidney. After months of extensive testing, we found that he was a match. The relief on his face and the emotional moment he told me the news are memories I will never forget. We underwent transplant surgery on April 6, 2016. When I tell you that I woke up feeling better than I have ever felt (despite the pain from surgery), I truly mean it. I had lived my entire life without “normal” kidney function, and to wake up with 18% function (and climbing) from 8% within a few hours was indescribable.
Transplant is not easy; it takes a village. My entire family has taken on my disease. It truly humbles you and makes you extremely grateful for everything you have and all the opportunities you’re provided as a result of the beautiful gift. My parents have made many difficult decisions and have sacrificed so much fighting to keep me alive since the day I was born. I can never thank them enough for their determination and love. They have given me the strength and courage to advocate for my health, continue fighting when I face adversity, and live life to the fullest.
My dad and I share a special bond and I feel grateful every day for having a part of him with me. Thanks to modern medicine, my amazing transplant team at the University of Washington Medical Center, my husband, family, friends, and most importantly my Dad and his incredible gift of life, I am happy to say that I am now not only living; but living and thriving.
My husband (at the time boyfriend) created a special video of the day of our transplant and leaving the hospital where he surprised me with a proposal in front of my family. The video can be viewed at: https://youtu.be/NMRQb2-M0Dg.
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