I was diagnosed with ADPKD through ultrasound in September 2016 at age 22. My father had recently been diagnosed as well, following kidney issues, and his lack of a relationship with his father made him unaware of the disease. My grandfather lives on dialysis at 0% kidney function. My father and I are still at 100% function, but are waiting for imminent deterioration.

Although it has been a burden to bear, my diagnosis has taught me about self-discipline and living a healthy lifestyle to better the quality of my life. Sometimes I’m fearful when I think of the pain I’ll have to face in the future, but I know I’m a tough cookie and I have to be strong if I want this life to be worth living—and it is! My diagnosis has revamped my outlook on life, and rather than let it keep me down, I get up and tell myself this disease can’t stop me, it won’t stop me, and I never let it put a damper on how I enjoy life.

Someday I will most likely receive a kidney transplant, years from now. At first, diagnosis can be scary, even heartbreaking. It’s up to you to rise above whatever diagnosis you may have and live your life to the fullest regardless. PKD doesn’t mean your life is over! I’m living proof of that.