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Don’t Wait Until Transplant to Pursue Your Dreams

Don’t Wait Until Transplant to Pursue Your Dreams

Don’t Wait Until Transplant to Pursue Your Dreams 
Written by: Kevin L. - Dodge City, KS

Kevin is a past member of the Heartland Kidney Network Medical Review Board and the Patient Advisory Committee. Kevin is sharing his struggles and success with ESRD. He shares his focus on the positives that came out of his diagnosis, spending time with his daughter and pursuing his Bachelor’s Degree through the Vocational Rehabilitation program. Feel free to share his story with your patients or share patient stories with us to be in the Patient Heartland Headlines newsletter.

In February of 2009, I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease. When I received this news, I was devastated. At the time, I worked at our local funeral home as a funeral director and embalmer. With having to receive dialysis treatments every other day for 4 hours a day, there was no possibility of being able to work, since I needed to be on call. I did not know what I would do to support my family; I had never been in such a position in all my life.

My wife and I decided that I had no option than to start receiving disability benefits. I reluctantly agreed to receive disability benefits, but on the condition that I would not just sit around waiting for my transplant. I had my Associate’s degree but had never taken the time to pursue my Bachelor’s degree; it always seemed like something in life got in the way. I visited my local SRS office and discussed my options with them; they explained that the state would help me financially towards pursuing my degree. I then began classes through Ottawa University online.

I found that the time that I spent on the dialysis machine seemed to go much faster by studying rather than to just sit there and watch TV or sleep. Although the reading material in some of my classes did tend to make me extremely drowsy.

I received a call from the kidney transplant center on August 29, 2011. Needless to say I was overjoyed. By the time that I received the call, I only had 3 classes left to finish my degree. The courses were only 8 weeks long so I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I did sit out for one semester and went back in October and finished my degree in March of 2012.

I have come to realize that utilizing the rehabilitation benefits that were offered to me will prove to be an extremely valuable asset to me. I am now in the process of filling out job applications and feel much more confident when I can put an X in the box when they ask me if I have completed a Bachelor’s degree. I can also consider myself an influence to my daughters when they finish high school and begin their journey into college.

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