A life dedicated to my kidney health

Veronica Martinez, 44, a lawyer in Mexico, was diagnosed with a single kidney and vesicoureteral reflux at an early age, which led to severe kidney infections and resulted in a kidney transplant. Throughout her life, she had to take care of her health by putting it at the forefront of her life.

I am a 44-year-old woman, who has always been in love with life, its challenges, amazing surprises, tough lessons, and overwhelming force. I’m a family-driven kind of person, strong-willed, caring, determined, energetic, sensitive, empathetic, extremely curious, and “a little bit too bossy” if you ask my closest ones.

My health problems began when I was born with only one kidney; a condition called renal agenesis. At 13 months old, I was also diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux, which caused severe renal infections and pain. This situation brought me to my “first date” with an operating room…one which became many during my life.

The surgery was successful, but by the age of seven, the infections had returned. On the advice of my doctors, I had to give up gymnastics, not only one of my most endearing passions but one that I was very good at to the point of making the national team. 

It was then, as a 7-year-old kid, that I had to acknowledge the fact that my health would have to come first in my life, even before fun times with friends, sports, and family trips. Ever since my health has indeed implied a certain level of sacrifice and commitment.

The kidney infections returned once more when I was 17 and lasted throughout my last year of high school, college, and through the first months of my master’s degree in Madrid, resulting in an average of three hospitalizations each year and numerous and painful treatments. Through those years I was very fortunate to be surrounded by family, close friends, and significant others who were nothing but empathetic, supportive and loving.

While living in Madrid, I was advised to consult a Spanish urologist, whom I went to see with, I must say, very little faith since I had already seen almost all the specialists in Mexico. I was surprised to be asked to undergo a different treatment. I finally overcame the worst infections and was able to enjoy my life without the fear of ending up in a hospital bed from time to time. 

However, previous infections and strong antibiotic treatments had caused severe damage to my kidney, and I was diagnosed with kidney failure in 2011. This was after numerous medical tests that I was asked to perform as part of the adoption process that I started at Yoliguani, the association where I adopted my two children (9 and 6 years old today, and a huge driving force in my life).

Since kidney failure is an asymptomatic disease, I would have never found out about my condition in time if it hadn’t been for the decision of adopting Lucía, my eldest. That is the reason why I see her arrival as a double blessing, miracle, mission, happy coincidence, or whatever anyone might call it. Lucía’s homecoming not only allowed me the privilege of becoming her mother, but it also brought me the opportunity to attend to my health issues in good time to plan and prepare physically and emotionally for my kidney transplant.

Going through a kidney transplant is such a journey that it would take a lot more words than the ones I can put in this article to describe it.
But if I could go back in time to the early months of 2015 before the surgery, I would tell myself that if I could be brave and determined enough to face every single step and challenge of the process, I would be amazed by my inner power, resilience and by all the extraordinary things that life would bring in this second rebirth, despite the times when I would think that this was too hard to bear, and the fear was too strong to handle. 

Today, I can assure you that through this experience, I have come to know myself in so many ways and perspectives. It has made me evolve into a different person, much closer and true to my spirit and inner self, with a strong sense of perspective on life, the value of health, and positive relationships. I have the immense privilege of opening my eyes each morning with energy in my body and the will to move forward in life, with my family, my work, my loved ones, and my never-ending passion to live fully and freely.

 

I want to share my experience in the hope that my lessons can actively help others who are going through the same situation. I also hope they can raise awareness in society about the importance of better understanding this condition, which is so common nowadays, and how preventive measures can become essential to achieve long-term health. 

 

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