By Lisa Ballantine and Sebrenia Johnson
This is a shared story of a kidney donor and recipient told through the eyes of both participants who are related through the marriage of their children but were brought closer together because of a paired kidney exchange.
When I first met Sebrenia, I was impressed with this kind, godly yet fierce woman who was to be my son’s mother-in-law. I saw her ability for compassion and kindness toward others. We connected immediately, and she has since become a dear friend. In fact, we call each other sister-mom since there is no term for our relationship, and as we share our children now, and love each other as sisters, this seems fitting.
As I got to know Sebrenia, I learned that this amazing woman was being hindered by her lack of a functioning kidney.
To manage my kidney disease for the past 13 years, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday for three hours and 15 minutes I needed dialysis treatment. I also had to incorporate a renal diet into my lifestyle, which included many food restrictions. As a dialysis patient I had to adhere to no potatoes, cheese, milk, chocolate, dark-green leafy vegetables, beans, cornbread, bananas, tomatoes, orange juice, colas, ice cream, peanuts or products with nuts.
These foods are high in potassium and phosphorus and could be detrimental to the heart and bones of a person with limited or no renal function.