Don’t kid around with your kidneys

By Dennis M. Ayotte, Jr
La Prensa de San Antonio

Kidney disease is the 8th lead­ing cause of death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Preven­tion.

Moreover, an estimated 31 mil­lion people in the United States (10% of the population) have Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD).

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) knows these numbers all too well and will host Kidney Action Day in San Antonio at the AT&T Center on Saturday, October 6 from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to raise awareness. The event is free to the public and encourages people like Tina Martinez to come out.

Last January Martinez was ready to give in to her battle with kidney disease.

“I think I’m just going to die,” she said after speaking with her doctor. Her ankles were swollen from
all the water she was retaining; she could hardly walk and had no energy to do the simplest of tasks.

When Martinez was first diag­ nosed with diabetes, admittedly, she didn’t listen to her doctors. She ignored her diet and health until if finally caught up with her. Her diabetes progressed and eventually led to her kidneys shutting down.

Her kidneys went from 95 per­ cent functionality to five percent. Her future looked bleak as she refused kidney dialysis even at the suggestion of her doctor.

Nearing her final days, Mar­ tinez’s family insisted she take action and try kidney dialysis. Still, she was hesitant because of all the horror stories she’s heard about dialysis. Her doctor reiter­ ated the severity of her condition she still refused.

“I heard horrible things about dialysis like when you go on dialysis your life is over, you’re tied to a machine all day long and you feel sick afterward,” said Martinez.

However, her family got in­ volved and quickly learned the awful things she heard wasn’t the case.

“After a week on dialysis I couldn’t believe how I felt,” she said. “I had energy and just couldn’t believe it. I kept think­ ing I wish I would have known, really known, what dialysis was instead of suffering for a long time and nearly dying.”

She could have been just an­ other statistic today, but she’s not. Martinez is healthier than she’s ever been.
Martinez went from not be­ ing able to walk in to the clinic for her first dialysis treatment because her kidney disease was so severe to now being able to volunteer at her church, push a lawnmower and shop without using a motorized wheelchair. Her story is one of success, but unfortunately they don’t all turn out like this. Today, Martinez uses her story to inspire oth­ers and encourage preventative measures.

“Listen to your doctors,” she said. “The consequences are so much worse.”

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