12 Feb Grateful Patient Valen
1. How did your patient journey begin?
My journey began when I was five years old and had my first grand mal seizure. Then at ten years old I was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease (PKD). And in eighth grade I had two Harrington rods placed all the way down my spine to correct severe scoliosis.
Complications from PKD kept me in and out of the hospital growing up. Shortly after starting college I had both kidneys removed and spent almost a year in the hospital until I thankfully received a kidney transplant. I was 19. At 33 I fell ill and ultimately needed a liver transplant due to damage stemming from my PKD. Now at 36, I’m proud to say that I’m a dual transplant recipient.
2. How did your journey change you?
My health issues have fueled my desire to live a life of passion, positivity and purpose. My joyful spirit and boundless gratitude stems from all that I’ve overcome. I choose to focus on joy and I believe I survived all that I have to be the change I wish to see in this world, to help create a healthier and brighter future for generations to come and to be the role model for others that I wish I had when I was young.
3. Is there a specific medicine/treatment/medical device/pharmaceutical company you are grateful for?
I am very grateful for Otsuka Pharmaceutical who created the first treatment for polycystic kidney disease. This first treatment gives so much HOPE! As a dual transplant recipient, I’m also very grateful to the pharmaceutical companies who created the anti-rejection drugs that have helped keep me alive for the past 17 years.
4. Who are you most grateful for and why?
This journey has taken a village and I’m grateful for my extraordinary circle of support. From my parents who have taught me the power of unconditional love, to my husband whose dedication is admirable. I would not be alive today if not for my organ donors. I am also grateful for my exceptional medical team. I would not be alive if it were not for all of these hardworking and selfless humans.