I was diagnosed with ADPKD at thirty-five. While my mom knew her siblings had kidney issues, she thought she did not, since she had no symptoms. It took twenty years for my kidney function to gradually decline. I had a few episodes of cysts popping and kidney stones, and a week’s hospitalization for pain, but I didn’t experience the daily pain that many go through. In 2008, with my function around 20-25 percent, my nephrologist said it was time to start the transplant process.

Though I’m about the most introverted person around, I opened up to some people close to us from church for support. I started a CaringBridge blog about the pre-transplant process, which allowed family and friends to know that I was open to a living donor, though I was trying to prepare mentally for dialysis if needed. I remember and treasure the five people who offered to be donors. My wife was the one who ended up being my hero. August 18, 2008, was our date at Northwestern Memorial in Chicago.

During the first eighteen months after the transplant, my nephrologist said I wasn’t a “poster child” for transplantation. I experienced BK virus, CMV virus, a year-long case of shingles, and kidney function lower than expected. Things improved after that, and now these are “the good old days” that I am blessed to enjoy. Thanks to my wife’s sacrifice, I’m able to work, help lead a computer volunteer team at church, and we attended our only son’s wedding earlier this spring! We just set up our trust and wills recently, with the PKD Foundation in part of the trust.