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Welcome to the Donation Page of
MaryKatherine Michiels-Kibler

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From MK ~ Thank you for supporting PKD Foundation. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Here is my Story written in 2007 when I first found out I had PKD at age 13. I am now 17 and living with PKD.

Excruciatingpain~school~mom~car~hospital…nurses…doctors…a sharp needle in my arm…relieved of the pain…

About a month ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Kidney Disease. I woke up that morning feeling terrible; I stayed in bed long after my mom woke me, not wanting to face the day. When she came in for the second time wondering why I had still not gotten up, I told her I did not feel well. She reminded me it was picture day and because I did not want to be the only 8th grader missing from the first page of the yearbook, I forced myself to get up.

When I got to school I stood on top of the stonewall in front of the school and tried to smile when all I wanted to do was lay down on the cold sidewalk. As we headed upstairs people began to ask me if I was okay. I realized I would not be able to get through the rest of the day. This was the second time in two weeks I had felt like this, so when my mom finally picked me up she decided to take me to the hospital.

When we got there the nurse sat me down and began to ask me questions about how I felt. I answered them the best that I could but I began to feel the little breakfast I had eaten come up my throat. Luckily the nurse was accustomed to this so she quickly grabbed a pink bowl that was shaped like a jellybean and led me to a room. She told me she was going to have to take some blood tests and give me an IV. I have never liked needles much so I began to get a little scared. My mom quickly grabbed a magazine from the shelf that had a picture of Obama on the front. I remember thinking how much he must be going through and I did not feel the pain as much.

As soon as the IV was in me I felt much better, to the point that I thought I could just get up and go back to school. But the doctor said that he would like to run some tests on me to make sure. He gave me this stuff that he said was apple juice but it tasted more like Windex. He said it would be about an hour before they could run the tests. So there I was, lying on a hospital bed, an IV in my arm, drinking my Windex tasting apple juice.

My thoughts wandered to my cousin Olivia who is four years old and has Leukemia. She has lost all of her hair, spends multiple hours a week in the hospital and is living off of a port in her stomach. At four years old, before she has even seen much of the world, she is already fighting for her life. I also thought of another cousin who was just diagnosed with Epilepsy. Everyday he has to take a pill and if he forgets he has a seizure. After I thought of all these people my situation just didn’t seem that bad.

It was time for the CT scan and one of the nurses rolled me to the scanning room. I was told to stay still as the bed moved in and out of a donut shaped hole in the scanner. As my mom and I waited for the test results we began to talk about normal everyday things: the weather, school, the election. After a couple of hours passed we began to get anxious. So my mom walked out to find a doctor. She was gone for a while. When she returned her face looked distorted. I couldn’t quite decipher her expression. “What?” I ask as she enters the room. She does not answer. She just stands there looking like she is going to cry. “What mamma? Tell me, ” I say again. “Well honey, looks like there’s another thing we share. You have Polycystic Kidney Disease, the disease grandpa and I have. Only you have eight to ten cysts on each of your kidneys and we think one just broke.”

Then she began to let some tears roll down her cheeks. At first I tried to be strong and not cry, but then for some reason tears started to roll down my cheeks. We sat in that little room for a while, half crying and half laughing before we checked out of the hospital and drove home.

I later learned that Polycystic Kidney Disease is a hereditary disease that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow in the kidneys. In time and without the proper care the cysts can multiply. To keep them healthy there are certain foods that I have to stay away from and I have to drink a crazy amount of fluids everyday. There is no treatment and there is no cure. It is the number one kidney disease in the world. But there is hope and lots of research is being done to find new treatments. So in a way I like to think of myself as a pioneer on an adventure to make new discoveries.

My cousin Olivia has a blog so that friends and family can see how she is doing. On the first page of it there is a saying that says, “The story of our life; the trials and joys we embrace along the way.” I think that the key word in this quote is embrace, because if we embrace challenges they just don’t seem as bad.

I think the biggest thing that I have learned from having Polycystic Kidney Disease is responsibility. Because no matter how much my mom, my dad, my friends and even the middle school dean at my school remind me to drink water it is my responsibility to make sure I do. It has influenced me to watch what I put into my body and most importantly to take care of it.

By MaryKatherine Michiels-Kibler



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