At 43 years old, Gloria was experiencing swelling in her feet, and through bloodwork and a process of elimination she was diagnosed with glomerular nephritis and nephrotic syndrome.
She was shocked. As a nurse herself, and with what she knew of her family history, she made an effort to live a healthy lifestyle. “Why me?” was her reaction. She felt she had “done everything right”, and was overwhelmed.
Her doctors thought it would be something she would just need to manage for awhile. They felt the chances of her going into kidney failure were rare. She took medications and modified her diet, but bloodwork eventually started to show signs of kidney failure. Her nephrologist informed her she would need a kidney transplant.
Gloria wasted no time reaching out to family and friends to see if they would get tested to be a living donor. Her brothers volunteered to be evaluated and, although both were matches, one was a better match than the other.
She received her first transplant at University Hospitals Transplant Institute in 2002, three years after finding out about her kidney disease.
11 years later, Gloria tore her aorta while doing a sit up. She woke up and was on dialysis. She was told her kidney had failed.
After doing in-center dialysis for a few weeks, she made the decision to move to in-home dialysis. She felt it provided her more autonomy, a more normal lifestyle. She was still able to work and travel if she wanted. In-home dialysis also provides near normal kidney function, and she felt comfortable with the process due to her nursing background.
Gloria continued on dialysis for two years until her second transplant in 2015, which took place at Walter Reed Military Medical Center. Gloria is in the military so she was listed at the VA and three other transplant centers. Her second kidney transplant came from a deceased donor - a young soldier who lost his life. She received his left kidney, and remains friends with the woman who received his right kidney.
How is she feeling today? “The transplants have afforded me the ability to enjoy life to the fullest, the best I can”. While she still has to be considerate of everything she does, she is able to work part-time, travel, and be with friends.