Numbers Driven


Our days and world revolve around numbers. From how many hours of sleep we get by what time we set our alarm clock to wake us the following morning. To how many hours we work a day and what our target income is. By what age we think we should have a certain number of children and live in a certain number square footage home.

Unfortunately, some of us are forced to focus on other numbers in life. For instance, the 25 million Americans who have kidney disease, the thousands in America and millions worldwide affected by polycystic kidney disease and the more than 570,000 Americans who have kidney failure, also known as end-stage renal disease (ESRD). Including the 99,201 people who are waiting for a kidney transplant, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

The value of a number depends on the individual and what is being counted. We kidney warriors pay close attention to the results from our lab work when we get blood drawn. As these numbers can indicate a time-frame of when we will need to start dialysis, if someone is a hopeful kidney match for us, or how healthy our kidney transplant is.

lab work

Today marks eleven years and seven months since I received the gift of life. I get monthly blood work and anxiously wait to receive my results. The first test result I look for is my creatinine, the measurement used to evaluate kidney function, which is currently 0.99. It is easy to become concerned when you see one of your levels too low or too high. It is important to be conscientious of your health and your blood work results; however, it is our doctor’s job to evaluate our health and fine-tune our medicines based upon our lab results. I believe it is natural to become overwhelmed by statistics and blood work results, but sometimes focusing on numbers can play games with our mind when how we feel can be just as important as our lab levels. Although our lives seem to be numbers driven, I have learned not to let numbers consume me. Rather concentrate on how we feel and be thankful for how healthy we are today.

Speaking of numbers, are you up for the challenge?

31 days

In honor of March’s National Kidney Month, the PKD Foundation is taking on daily challenges that can help raise awareness of polycystic kidney disease (PKD). I encourage you to celebrate the month and help spread awareness of PKD by participating in the 3rd annual 31 Days of PKD Challenges! Share your progress on social media to encourage others to join too! Follow along on Facebook and Twitter for daily updates.

Please visit where you can click on the days of the month to learn more about each challenge.

Happy World Kidney Day, friends!


  1. Hilda

    Can a person with high blood pressure be a living donor

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Hilda,
      I was very sick at the time that my donor got her work up to donate her kidney to me. So unfortunately I was not actively involved and am not aware of all of the details in regards to that. I know that a donor receives a full evaluation to make sure that it is safe for them to donate. I am not sure what the perimeters are for the blood pressure of a donor. I suggest reaching out to your doctor to get an answer to this question.

  2. Jackie

    Hope you’re still recovering well each day! Sending love!

    • Valen Keefer

      Hi Jackie,
      Thank you! Had an evaluation at physical therapy today and looking forward to starting my sessions next week and working on getting my strength back. Lots of love to you and your family! xoxo


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