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When I was about twenty five years old, I purchased my party store. Working late hours and not eating right, I started drinking all kinds of soda pop. I was drinking at least two to three bottles of sixty-four ounce bottles a night. This went on until I reached the age of 65 years old, and I started to notice that my vision was getting bad. I couldn’t read the street signs twenty feet in front of me. I told my wife about it and she said that my sugar might be high and I didn’t want to believe her. A couple of days later I stopped by my older sister’s house, thinking she might know more than my wife and my sister told me I better go to the doctor and have my sugar checked. A week later, I was able to get into the doctor’s office and my doctor had my blood sugar tested, and it was 596. My doctor told me that I was lucky that I didn’t go into a diabetic coma. My doctor ran several tests and told me that I had blown one of my kidneys and was working on the other one.

After 10 years of working in the store, I went to the VA doctors and they told me that drinking diet pop is not as bad as drinking regular pop. But, I found out that drinking any pop, regular or diet with a caramel base is bad for your kidneys.

Slowly over a 12 year period, I started having a lot of swelling in my feet and legs. I had been going to my VA provider all this time and the first part of May of this year I went to the VA clinic without an appointment because my feet and legs had swollen so bad and I could hardly walk. Also, I had trouble breathing. While I was walking down the corridor, my case worker saw me and told someone to call an ambulance for that soldier. I was taken to Spectrum Hospital immediately. I woke up four days later and found out that a port was placed in the right side of my chest and I had my first dialysis treatment that night. I received my second treatment the next night. These two treatments helped remove the excess fluid from around my heart. Unfortunately I have congestive heart failure also.

I received dialysis the entire time that I was hospitalized. I am out of the hospital now and I go to dialysis three days a week: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And, it will remain this way until I receive a donor kidney.