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Stories of hope

Stephanie McGuigan: Love, pain, and a kidney

Two individuals wearing hospital gowns, face to face, smiling

In April of 2021 as my last of three babies started to take her first steps, my strong, hardworking, healthy husband, Josh, was being admitted to the hospital for an emergency kidney biopsy. The week prior he had made an appointment with his primary care doctor, thinking he had a little acid reflux starting up. Routine lab work showed his kidneys were failing, and rapidly. The biopsy confirmed stage 4 kidney failure due to an auto-immune disease called Membranous Nephropathy. This was not the first time kidney disease had plagued our family. His mother, Mary, had just started hemodialysis a month prior. With a combination of steroids and other drugs, we were able to keep his disease stable, and ultimately get his autoimmune disease into remission, but not before the drugs took a major toll on his body.

December 2021 everything changed. The entire family contracted COVID. Tragically we lost his mother on December 23, 2021. Josh’s case of COVID was severe and scary. After he recovered, his kidney disease kicked into overdrive, and in June 2022 at 32-years-old he was listed for kidney transplant. That same month he started the process for PD Dialysis. I immediately started the required testing to be a kidney donor and decided match or not I was donating to help my husband. On October 31, 2022, I was approved and told I was a match!

On December 23, 2022 I donated one of my kidneys! We are both doing amazing, and our family is starting to try to live a “normal” life.

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