BY JYOTHSNA HEGDE
Atlanta, GA, May 5, 2023: “If you don’t go on dialysis now, I can’t promise that he will make it to the weekend,” Pushpa recalls that call in January of last year from her husband Vishnu Dureddy’s nephrologist. It was a Wednesday. The couple’s life had changed in an instant, and forever. Today, Dureddy has stage 5 kidney failure and spends up to 18 hours on a dialysis machine everyday. He has been diagnosed with FSGS, a rare hereditary condition that is estimated to affect about 7 in one million people.
Dureddy is in dire need of a kidney transplant.
Vishnu Dureddy lives in Suwanee with his wife Pushpa Dureddy and his two daughters aged 15 and 13. An IT professional, he continues to work from home. Pushpa serves as a physical therapist.
The words, “The sooner the better,” from our healthcare providers are what compels me to implore for ANY BLOOD TYPE living donor to come forward to help save my husband’s life, Pushpa appeals.
It all began about twenty years ago, when Dureddy was
diagnosed with high blood pressure. In 2013, he was diagnosed with focal
segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a condition that can lead to kidney
failure, which can only be treated with dialysis or kidney transplant. He
was asymptomatic for many years with medication. But last year, his creatinine
levels skyrocketed, putting him on emergency daily dialysis. “I was also told that
there is an imminent risk of a stroke or heart attack,” Vishnu said. He also
lost his father the past year due to cardiac arrest, caused by the same kidney
disease, after being on dialysis for 3 years.
What is FSGS?
FSGS is characterized by dysfunction in the part of the kidney that filters blood (the glomeruli). Each kidney is made up of approximately one million tiny filters called glomeruli. Much like a coffee filter that keeps coffee grounds in, glomeruli filter the blood, taking out the water-like part, which becomes urine, and leaves the protein in the blood. When glomeruli become damaged or scarred (sclerosis), proteins begin leaking into the urine. Only some glomeruli are affected, but continued damage can lead to kidney failure.
In the U.S., approximately 40,000 people are living with FSGS, and more than 5,400 people are diagnosed with FSGS every year. (Ref: https://nephcure.org/)
“I thought I had to think about all this only in my seventies, but never so young, at this stage of my life. I can’t do all the physical activities I want to do. I cannot have simple pleasures like taking my daughters to the movies, going out for dinner at restaurants. My family life is really restricted. It has to be scheduled around dialysis,” Vishnu Dureddy says.
“With my husband’s rare blood type 0 -ve, he has a long wait of 8 years for a kidney transplant. Instead of taking family vacations this past year, we filled our calendar with trips to register for kidney transplants in multiple states; plans of outings with friends and family have become limited and completely revolve around his dialysis. His ultimate pleasure of a sweet tooth has now become survival eating; weekend family eat-outs almost banned with a big list of food restrictions. Simple pleasures of life have taken a back seat. His once-annoying snoring has become my reassurance that he is breathing,” Pushpa said.
An introvert by nature, Dureddy turned silent immediately after the diagnosis. The family was not very active on social media either. But when none of the immediate family members qualified for a transplant, Dureddy was placed on the transplant waiting list and the family decided to reach out and appeal through all means possible.
“Our dad means the world to us. We want to be able to do the things that we can’t do anymore. And that’s only possible if our dad gets a new kidney. Help our dad find a kidney donor by sharing our story and following us on Facebook and Instagram. The more you share, the easier it is for our dad to find a kidney donor,” the daughters appealed.
“I’m registered (transplant wait list) with Emory right now. I’m also getting evaluated at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville and MUSC in Charleston, South Carolina. If somebody’s willing to come forward to donate, they can enroll themselves within Emory with me as the recipient,” Dureddy said. Emory, he noted, will reach out to them to initiate a complete evaluation process, to ensure benefits outweigh the risks after donating the kidney.
What if someone is willing to donate but their blood group does not match? While a direct match of the donor is the best-case scenario, there are other options. In kidney paired exchange, if a donor is willing to donate a kidney on patient’s behalf, but patient is incompatible with the donor or want to try to find a better match. With kidney paired exchange, the donor will donate their kidney to another recipient in exchange for a compatible kidney for the patient. “It helps me go up in the list to be on the top of the list for a living donor from a different person.” Dureddy said.
Originally from the state of Andhra Pradesh, India, Dureddy graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from RVCE, Bangalore. As it turns out, this author also is an alumnus of the same university, around the same time. Another alumnus and Atlanta resident, Chanakya Bhogaraju helped me in reaching out Dureddy’s college mates. His friends and former hostel roommates were more than willing to help.
“Among our friends from college, Vishnu is one of the
most proper and well mannered individuals. He has a calm demeanor and is a very
nice person with a super genuine personality. He is a gem of a person.” — Arun
Krishna, Houston, USA
“Vishnu is an extraordinary friend, with a heart full of compassion and kindness. In college he never hesitated to lend a hand to anyone in need, and his selflessness is truly remarkable.” — Vikram Reddy Kunchala, Austin, USA
Despite all the challenges and compromises, the family is thankful for his life, the support from family and friends and hopeful for a kidney transplant one day. “But his recent change in lab levels puts him at imminent risk for cardiac complications, and constant reminders from our healthcare providers to find a living donor asap is the reason for this plea,” Pushpa says.
While Dureddy has been on Emory’s waiting list for close to 2 years, the average wait time is five to 8 years. “Since my father had a similar condition, had complications with his dialysis, it’s a bit fearful. We don’t want to be in that situation or stage and that’s why we are trying to work on finding a living donor. Rather than wait for five to eight years,” Dureddy said.
“I can’t bear the thought of my girls growing up without their father, the biggest rock of support each and every step of their way. Any living kidney donation in his name, regardless of compatibility, through the “kidney exchange program” or “kidney paired donation”, living donor kidneys are swapped so each recipient receives a compatible transplant, puts my husband on a living donor waiting list, on which the wait is LESS THAN A YEAR. His chances of a healthy long life can happen only with a living donation,” Pushpa appeals.
The toughest thing, Pushpa adds, is the uncertainty of it all.
The search of a kidney donor is still on with kids going from store to store, planting signs on streets and reaching out every possible way.
“If you are a viable donor, “compatible O blood type” would be an immediate blessing for us, but Any blood type can help save him through the “Paired kidney exchange program”. Please contact Emory at 1-855-366-7989, fill out an application at https://www.EmoryLivingDonor.org
Even if you yourself can’t help, please lend a hand to help us reach our donor by sharing this message with ALL YOUR CONTACTS. A simple forward can change our lives. Know more about our dad and follow us on https://www.facebook.com/OurDadNeedsAKidneyVishnuDureddy/
The cost of the Donor evaluation and surgery will be covered by the RECIPIENT’s Insurance.
For any questions, you can reach us at 404-957-7822 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org,” the family appeals.
And if you do one worthy thing today, please share this family’s story with your friends and family. Vishnu Duredy’s life depends on it.