Mark Simowitz

I am 58 years old and I am the first in my family to have PKD. I found out in 2005 while taking my college-age son to see his orthopedic doctor. I asked the doctor to look at my back since I was experiencing lower back pain. The doctor had me get an MRI and by chance caught part of my kidney in the MRI image. The doctor called me and asked me to come in the next day. Imagine my surprise when he stated that I had more than back issues.

I was a little upset as my regular family doctor had been prescribing maximum strength 800 mg Ibuprofen for years to control my back-pain issue. The orthopedic doctor reviewed my records from my family doctor and told me that my blood work from years earlier indicated there was something wrong with my kidney function. My family doctor never mentioned anything to me about kidney issues. I have been seeing a nephrologist for 12 years now.

This year I went through the process to be placed on the transplant list. My younger brother is going to be my donor, but our blood types differ so we may have to do a cross match. I never thought about PKD until I started experiencing some side effects this year. I have suffered through two separate battles with gout and constantly fight nerve pain in my feet and hands.

I often wonder if some of the things I was exposed to in the 80’s and 90’s when I was a young Union ironworker may have caused me to develop PKD. As an ironworker, I performed ironwork in a lead refinery, a quartz refractory, a Chevron plant where they used to make agent orange and I worked at the old uranium ore processing plant in Weldon Springs, MO, where I was exposed slightly (according to the Government).

I have three adult children ranging from ages 30 to 37, and so far, none of them have PKD.