It’s been a year since my kidney transplant— and wow, what a difference a year can make. It’s nice being able to enjoy life again, even the little things are enjoyable. Before my transplant, I had pain every day and wondered if I was going to be able to do much of anything.

When I was 30, I was diagnosed with ADPKD, just about the same time my mother went in for a kidney transplant with the same disease. She’s now 26 years kidney strong. I’m now 56 and my problems started around 45. There was mild pain at first, but over the years it became worse. When I was 50, I started calling out from work and was put on low sodium, low protein, low cholesterol, and low potassium diet. The pain was constant, making everyday things hard to do. I reached Stage 5 when my kidney function was down to 14% and got approved for the Nation Kidney Transplant list, knowing it could be up to an eight-year wait. After this, I started posting on social media looking for a living donor.

I was very fortunate to find a donor. Anyone who donates life is a true hero. Seven months later, I had my transplant and six months after that my non-working kidneys were removed. I also have two children, one with ADPKD. He’s 21 and the cysts are just forming, with no symptoms as of yet. I know there are still challenges to overcome, but as of now, it’s nice to be part of my family and all we do.