Carmen is a former beauty pageants contestant and has a passion for fashion, beauty & teaching others. Her ‘runway’ dreams have temporarily taken a new direction…towards finding a kidney donor. She was diagnosed with IgA kidney disease in Dec 08.

I am a single healthy female now, in my late thirties that was diagnosed with a chronic kidney disease called IgA Nephropathy on December 17, 2008. At that time, just a week before Christmas, I had lost 70% function in both kidneys and was going downhill pretty fast. You can read in more detail about how this bizarre diagnosis came about in my blogs.

This was a huge shock to me and if that wasn’t enough to deal with, I was let go of my event planning job two days later. I can honestly say I didn’t care one bit for the Christmas holiday and I probably had a little depression. I couldn’t wait for the new year, 2009 as it was going to be life changing, little did I know, how much.

After a few months of seeking gainful employment, attending job fairs, and networking events, I thought best to put my career path on hold and to focus on my health. How could I work a job when I was tired all the time? To my surprise, after things had been stabilized for awhile, they took a turn for worse and began to decline again quite rapidly. June 11, 2009, I was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease and now functioning at 15%. I was facing dialysis options, heading down the road for a transplant, and needing to move back home to my parents.’ These are huge decisions that needed to be made quickly and I, in my natural personality character traits, am very cautious with my decisions. I was still trying to process the emotions I was dealing with. Things continued to decline and just a few weeks later, I was down to 10%. The ever provoking question loomed-“why is this happening to me?”

Through awesome support of friends, family, and even strangers, along with holding true to my faith in God, and staying positive; have I been able to remain strong during these past handful of years. I have accepted this situation and have peace about it, hoping to be able to inspire others. As a friend of mine (who shares the same disease and successfully had a transplant July 2009) told me, “hey, this is just a bump in the road, you’ll be just fine, ace.” That’s right. This is just a bump in the road.

I have titled this Carmen’s Runway For Kidney because my true passion is fashion. My goal is to be an Image Consultant. What this entails is helping others not only find clothing styles and colors that compliment their body shape, their skin and hair color; it also compliments their lifestyle and represents who they are. For girls and women, I want to assist them with their make up so the whole image completes Yes, there are some men who like to dress nice and image is very important to them; so my consulting services do include men. Heck, sometimes men, in general do need more help than women when it comes to shopping for clothing. My journey right now is down a runway (like in a fashion show) and you are my audience cheering me on.

How you can help is by praying specifically for God’s guidance through this- His hand will direct the insurance companies, Medicare, the transplant team, the dialysis clinic team, the financial provisions, and the donor. This is another way you can help- consider being a live donor. There are websites to learn more about this. Or you can contact the Midwest Transplant Network.

Thank you for taking time to read my story. Thank you for your open mind and heart to contribute in any way. I promise to make this entertaining and even touch your heart. Many blessings to you and yours!