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?

Real life hero

So this is my first real post.

It’s extremely nerve-wracking, to be quite honest with you. It’s like going into a new grade at a new school at the beginning of September, and you’re 6 years old again, except the only pressure is a blank white screen staring back at you.

Tonight I am going to do something even MORE nerve wracking than writing a published blog post. I am attending my best friend’s dialysis appointment for the first time. Earlier this week I had asked her permission to do my photo essay assignment for my Online Web Writing & Design class. I believed her story is extremely powerful, and she is one of my heroes.

A lot of girls my age look up to a lot of entertainment pop-culture figures. I believe that you should be able to relate to your role models. Your role models should be people you know, people you love and people who inspire you to be and do better.

My friend got really sick at the end of my first semester last year. She had went on a vacation just before New Year’s and came back around my birthday in March, and one day everything changed. As long as I’ve known her, she has had lupus.

lu·pus
ˈlo͞opəs’
noun
  1. any of various diseases or conditions marked by inflammation of the skin, especially lupus vulgaris or lupus erythematosus.

But recently was diagnosed with kidney failure and had to immediately be put on dialysis to save her life, so to speak. She is currently undergoing dialysis three times a week to filter toxins out of her blood.
Now, I am no stranger to the complicated kidney world. A few years ago, my own sister underwent the same health issues my best friend is facing. My sister’s situation was a bit more complicated, as she had a child prior to her kidneys failing almost completely. She underwent a kidney transplant surgery, with the kidney being given to her by my mother and is now in her final year of school working towards her Masters Degree as a single mom at 24. So, long story short, I wanted to understand more the process people go through, especially at such a young age. I also wanted to document this for my best friend, Stephanie who is unable to get an outsiders perspective of her own sickness.

This assignment will be dedicated to my best friend, my sister, and also, youth everywhere suffering from kidney failure everywhere. These are just a few stories, and the reason I felt this was so important, is because I read an article about Aboriginal Australian youth, around the same age as my sister and best friend. Kidney disease is one of the leading chronic killers among Indigenous youth.

http://www.kidney.org.au/HealthProfessionals/IndigenousResources/IndigenousCKDStats/tabid/773/Default.aspx

for more info click link above.

Just something I found interesting. Have a great day.

Stay tuned for the photo essay on my bff Steph.

Three Habits of Highly Effective Bloggers

Great advice

The Daily Post

2768163918_f9d7699341_z Image by claudiasnell

Summer is over (at least in my neck of the woods), which means back to school…and in my case, back to trying to blog more.

I don’t miss much about school, but I do miss the ritual of new school supplies. I was the sort of nerd who loved shopping for new notebooks and binders, covering my books (is that still a thing?), and developing new organizational strategies every year.

In that vein, here are a few tips for how to organize and support your blogging efforts for maximum efficiency. Think of it as your back-to-blogging prep list. 

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