In 1992, the author’s first child was born. Although a very healthy 24 years old at the time, he decided that he should do the responsible thing and purchase health insurance. Unexpectedly, there was protein in his urine- a sign of kidney disease. A nephrologist diagnosed his problem as Iga Nephropathy (Berger’s disease), a very rare disease. 80% of the people with it live their lives symptom free; the other 20% decline abruptly around age 40 and go into kidney failure. Knowing this, Lewis had checkups to keep track of his kidney health, and sure enough, around age 40, his kidneys started shutting down. Over the next few years, he progressed into end stage renal disease and required dialysis.
Very involved in his church, Lewis believes that this is God’s plan for him, and that he should just trust. And trust he does. As with anyone with a severe illness, he has a lot of ups and downs. Papers aren’t filed on time with the transplant coordinators, his brothers turn out not to be suitable donors, dialysis treatments cause his blood pressure to climb to dangerous levels. In the end, though, a series of events and a group called the
Alliance for Paired Donation, gets
him his needed kidney – and saves his brother’s life.
Lewis lays this at the feet of God, pointing out that his brother was a minister, his own donor was a minister, and that he himself had played Jesus in the church pageant for a number of years. Personally, I see it as a lot of good people doing the right thing- and going above and beyond that in several cases. His wife managed progress through the transplant program, making sure every paper was where it needed to be. He was very proactive in his own care. I’m happy that he had his faith, and that of his family and friends, to help him through this, but it was also very important that he helped himself. The book is decently well written and reads as if the author was telling you the story in person. If you’re looking for medical detail, this isn’t the book you want, though.