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Aaron's Story

"I was informed by the doctor that my right kidney was in very poor health and that there were likely no options for "repair.” "
In 2011, I started experiencing pain on the right side of my abdomen. It would come and go and vary in intensity. At the time, I was very active and believed the pain was muscular in nature.

There were times the pain got so bad that I had to go to the hospital. I went to the ER twice over the next year and was quickly put in touch with a urologist. Initial tests suggested a potential blockage which was causing my right kidney to drain slowly.

After those episodes, the pain completely disappeared and I went months with no symptoms. Tests at that time showed my kidney function on my right side had increased back to 100%. I was given the option to go on and live my life or continue with more invasive tests. Being in my early 20's I chose to not have any further tests done.

Fast forward to late 2020 – I was symptom and pain free. I had been working as a municipal police officer since 2014 and had recently attained the position of crisis negotiator for the surrounding regional departments. I had also gotten married and had an 11-month-old boy at home.

In October of 2020, I started experiencing the same pain that I had felt in 2011. It was dull and constant for about three days when I decided to go to the ER. I suspected it was kidney-related and my anxiety and stress levels increased more than what they normally were due to the demands of my job.

I should add that I was 33 at this time, a non-smoker and living a healthy and active lifestyle. I had no other health ailments and part of my regular duties at work required me to ride a police mountain bicycle.

While I was at the hospital, I had a bunch of tests done. I was informed by the doctor that my right kidney was in very poor health and that there were likely no options for "repair.” Removing it all together looked like the only option.

I was obviously shocked and very stressed. I took a few days off work to think about my options and talk to my urologist. My pain symptoms completely disappeared again and I returned to work the following week.

I began going through to process for kidney surgery as all tests pointed toward the fact that I had a non-functioning right kidney. There were still many uncertainties, and I had to fully trust my urologist -  that I was making the right decision and that I was also in good hands.

On Feb 2, 2021, I went in for surgery and had my entire right kidney removed. Despite being completely asymptomatic again and resuming my full  duties at work, I knew that surgery was the best and smartest decision for my future well-being. I was later informed that a birth anomaly was causing the drainage issues that eventually blew out my kidney.

The stresses around preparing for the surgery while striving to function around the workplace and at home was like nothing I had ever experienced before. My recovery was quick and I was back to work in full capacity in just over a month.

I am now four months post surgery. I often reflect on my experiences – the stress management, preparation and recovery. I'm grateful to have my health and I am grateful that I can live a normal life with one kidney.

Thanks for reading my story!