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January 30, 2011

Posted Jan 30 2011 9:49pm
Hello,

My name is Michael Burke, and this is all new to me (blogging that is).  I have some family and friends who believe that I have something important to say, and it is my hope that in the coming days and months that I do not disappoint them.  You see, I am a Diabetic, and have been for 27 years - my anniversary (if you want to call it that) was December 28th.  As some of you may know, Diabetes can ravage your body, litterally tear you down until you have to be built back up piece by piece.

What does this mean...it means, among other things, despite taking as good of care of myself as I possibly could over the years (something that I learned very well from my sister, Linda), Diabetes can take your eye sight (mine has been damaged to the point that I have needed laser surgery of my retinas several times); it can mess with your cardiovascular system (I have had 5 stents placed in my heart, as well as double by-pass surgery); and not to be out done, Diabetes can seriously damage your kidneys, and this is where my story will begin (although there will be times I will talk about my past heart and eye surgeries).

But it is my kidneys that I have the most dire need at the momment.  Last year, March 29th, to be exact, I met with a transplant Nephrologist (kidney doctor) for the first time.  I knew this day was coming eventually because I saw my regular Nephrologist on a consistent basis and she (Dr. Melanie Hoenig at Joslin Diabetes Center) had been preparing me for this eventuality for some time...the time had come and Dr. Hoenig referred me to the Transplant Center at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and Dr. Martha Pavlakis.

It was at this appointment on March 29, 2010 that Dr. Pavlakis began to explain the who transplant process to me and my wife, Christine.  Even though Dr. Hoenig had been preparing me for this, I was still overwhelmed...man was I overwhelmed...and scared like you wouldn't beleive, because now my life on the "T" (ransplant) list was about to begin. 

At this point, my brother Tom (I still call him Tommy) and I had spoken about the possibility of him getting tested if I ever needed it.  I explained to Dr. Pavlakis that Tommy was willing to be tested to see if he was a match, which she thought was great and explained that the success rates among live donors, especially siblings, was very high.  In the next breath, Dr. Pavlakis explained that she would list me on the national transplant list for a perfect match kidney in the event that Tommy was not a perfect match to me or could not donate for any other reason.

In the coming days and weeks leading up to my transplant I will tell you my story...parts of it will be raw, some will be funny, some will be terrifiying (at least to me), but most of all it will be real.  I would appreciate any feedback that you have - constructive or otherwise, or if you have questions, don't hesitate to ask.  I don't have all of the answers about kidney transplant, but I hope to shed some light on it to those who wish to read it...please feel free to, and I encourage you to, share this blog...pass it along to as many people who care to read it.  Hopefully I will be able to help other transplant patients as I go down this road.

Thank you for reading and thank you for following...

Michael


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