Monday, February 9, 2009

Paul's Story

My name is Paul Gibbs. I'm a 34-year old film student. I also work at the Clark Planetarium, and spend much of my time helping to raise a 4-year old nephew and 2-year old niece, with whom I live.

I have had impaired kidney function my whole life. Before the age of 5, I had 9 surgeries for a condition known as Bilaterral Ureteral Reflux. The condition resurfaced in 1996, but was treated medically, rather than surgically.

In November of 2008, I was informed by my doctor that my kidney function was dangerously bad, and that I may need a kidney transplant and/or dialysis. I was shocked and, frankly, terrified. Further tests told me it was worse than believed. Dialysis and a transplant were virtually guaranteed. My kidney function is at 11%, and my creatinine level (which should be 1) is 6.

Fortunately, after a difficult process, I was granted Medicare coverage for the surgery, which makes it possible for the surgery to take place. More than a dozen people came forward and were willing to be potential kidney donors. Two of them, my twin brother and a close friend, were tested. While my brother was unable to donate because of an abnormality in his kidney, my friend has been identified as a good match.

While Medicare will provide good coverage, there will still be considerable expenses, especially the medications I will be on for the rest of my life.

I'm holding up pretty well, and looking forward to when this over and I'm recovered, so I can go back to working, making films and, most importantly, have the energy to keep up with my niece and nephew who are really the most important things in my life.

3 comments:

Jahn said...

Paul--you're in my heart and prayers! i'm sorry i'm not in a position to donate funds, nor do I have type O blood to give you a kidney . . . but I would certainly do so if I could!!

warm regards!!

Jahn

Anonymous said...

God be with you and your family.

You can't give up .....You haven't given me a chance to star in one of your films yet. How about "Slumdog old Fart" That should be a real hit!

Keep laughing it IS a great medicine.
Bob aka Paul Sycamore

J. Lee said...

I too am at stage 5 renal failure. I've been on dialysis since June of this year. My creatinine level when diagnosed was 27. My brother was recently tested and hope to her positive news soon. Luckily this happened while living in Taiwan and so far has not been a financial nightmare if it was in the US. Congrats on getting a donor. I hope the meds work and everything continues to go smooth.

Josh Lee