My name is Melissa Armstrong and I have been on dialysis for 13 years.
In 2003, I received a kidney from my mom’s best friend, Linda. Unfortunately, it only lasted until 2007 and since then I’ve been on dialysis. I was scared to get placed on the organ transplant waiting list again, but decided that I really wanted my life back, so I forged ahead on being placed on the transplant waiting list. The main problem in finding a match is that, I have really high antibodies due to multiple blood transfusions and from having had a previous transplant, I only match 2% of the population.
Waiting is the hardest part. I often wonder if I’ll ever get the call telling me that a kidney is available. I am so scared that I will die waiting – which is me and my family’s biggest fear. But my family gives me great hope. Not only are they devoted to me, but they inspire me.
My dad, Mike, received a kidney transplant 42 years ago from his brother, Gary, and my sister, Michelle, received a transplant 25 years ago from my mom, Maureen. Dialysis has consumed my whole life – 3 times a week, 4 hours at a time. I just really want to live as a “normal “ 38 year-old, that is not tied to a machine.