Real Life Hero Pt. 2

Part two of my first entry….Photo Essay.

I’ve had a long day hustling and bustling through the city trying to do things that 22 year old workaholics do (ie: rushing from class to work to home to school to finish assignments on time). I finished work at 11 o’clock tonight and rushed my way across the city (via GO Bus) to my friend Stephanie’s dialysis appointment. Three times a week she goes to the Brampton Civic Hospital to have her blood filtered of toxins that harm her body…mainly her kidneys.

This is Stephanie.
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Stephanie is just shy of 23 years old right now. She is my best friend and a blood lab technician which always amazed me because she has lupus. Currently, she is relaxing and preparing herself for the idea of a potential kidney transplant.

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STEPHANIE 5STEHPANIE5

The machines in the hospital are quiet. Except for the odd beep or two if someone is having a nightmare and their blood pressure slightly goes up. Other patients are all around Stephanie, also receiving their dialysis treatment, so we had to try not to laugh at all, since it was early in the morning.


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Today Stephanie received a donor information package, which is the next step in her recovery process; the transplant.

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It takes a lot of emotional and mental strength to be able to go through, let alone donate an organ of yours to a loved one, even an unloved one. Stephanie is extremely cool, calm and collected as she skims through the notes provided by her specialist regarding what steps will be taken next.

We are hoping that she does not have to wait on a transplant list for a long time. The average wait time for a kidney varies based on your blood type. Obviously the more rare your blood type, the harder it is. Stephanie is also susceptible  to catching other illnesses. While in the hospital early last summer she  contracted shingles.

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Steph’s arm is permanently scarred from shingles. Also down her back. Shingles takes over one side of your body. She recovered very quickly but it was quite a scare that kept her in the hospital a few weeks longer.

 

Stephanie has made a friend in dialysis that has had so many blood transfusions that his blood type has changed over the years. Ty, her friend is a few years older and is on his third kidney transplant, awaiting another on dialysis beside her on each of the three nights she has dialysis during the week.

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This is the machine that is connected to Stephanie’s catheter; a tube attached to her chest that filters and cleans the ‘bad blood’ out of her body.)

The reason I chose Stephanie is because she is not only my friend, but going through an extremely crucial point in her life and smiling through it every day. She is extremely brave, and one of my real life heroes. Stephanie hopes that she receives a transplant later this year, so that she can quickly recover and go back to school so she can become an ultrasound technician. She wants to change her life and start progressing, but it all starts with the transplant.

Brampton Civic takes amazing care of Stephanie.  It’s hard to believe now, but a few months ago, Stephanie was just under 200lbs from water retaining in her body when she first became sick. She is now healthy, working towards fitness and health goals to make the transplant easier to recover from.photo

She has overwhelming support and love from all friends and family, including myself. We are awaiting testing to see if all of our blood types match, and metaphorically sitting around a circle with a bottle in the middle waiting to see if any of us are able to be her match – which is what we all hope for.

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Stephanie and I in 2010 before her kidney failure.

This is my best friend Stephanie, and she is my real life hero.
Who’s yours?

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