Family History

Somewhere in North Bay early August 10 2018 some unfortunate fellow died from a Brain tumour. He had the foresight, and his family had the resolve to see that his organs were harvested and used to end the suffering of someone he and they did not know and would never meet.

I am that unknown recipient. The unknown donor is now part of me and my family.


My Great Grandmother, In the spring of 1923 George’s wife, Maria Alice had surgery to remove one of her kidneys. The reason for its removal is surmised to be PKD. The family was not at all happy with the way the operation was conducted, and seemed to blame Maria’s death on the surgery. Following the surgery, Maria suffered 9 weeks and died on July 25, 1923 at Holy Cross Hospital, in Calgary. The cause of death listed on herdeath certificate was “uremia.” She was 68.

My Grandfather Her son Grant, died at 58 suffering from High Blood pressure and eventually a heart attack. It is reasonsble to surmise that he also suffered from PKD because “The majority of patients with chronic Kidney Disease will die from Cardio Vascular causes before reaching End Stage Renal Disease”.

Beverly (my mother), Grants Daughter and his son, Murray (my uncle) both suffered from PKD. As you would expect Beverly’s progress was much slower than Murray’s which is consistent with medical research. “Male patients with autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) begin Hemo dialysis earlier than female patients. The rate of progression of many other renal diseases is also faster in men than women.”

Beverly lived to be 87 and died when complications developed between her renal medications and Heart medications, they became impossible to stabilize. She was fastidious with her weight, blood pressure, exercise and diet and lived a long healthy life with no dialysis. Murray chose no intervention; he passed away at the age of 64.

Murray was diagnosed with PKD after a car accident lead to bleeding in his urine, this was investigated and PKD was discovered. My mother Bev was then examined in 1980 as was I and she was treated by Dr Posen at the General Hospital. When I went to Dr Posen he said “This will kill you when your 80, don’t worry about this now, live a happy life. I have sick patients to take care of, so thank-you, good day to you sir!” So I did not worry about it. My family doctor could not control my blood pressure and it was never really under particularly good control.

My mother was not symptomatic, and my uncle died when I was in my twenties refusing all treatment. My Grandfather died of an apparent heart attack, in hindsight its hard to believe but PKD was not on my, nor my doctors mind.

My family doctor was my mothers doctor, so he knew about my PKD but we never discussed it. When he retired only the last 10 years of records were given to the new doctor. In the preceding 10 years I had received no treatment for PKD so my new doctor was unaware I was afflicted. When I started to complain of PKD type symptoms it was not the centre of my focus nor my doctors. My mother had no symptoms.

Around the age of 57 the PKD disease progressed to the point where I was always very tired. I did frequently reflect that my grandfather’s death at 58 and my symptoms were starting at 57.

Hong Kong Prophesy: In hindsight it’s all very obvious. While in HK on a business trip in 1995 I found myself in the Temple Street market in Central Hong Kong. At the end of a dark alley which opened up into a big courtyard filled with 20 or 25 palm readers. My reading included the following predictions:
~I had a kidney problem
~It would cause me great turmoil for 5 years
~My brothers and sisters would be unable to help me
~Once thru the turmoil I would have a good life until my death at 74

Sadly, the palm reader did not suggest I see a medical doctor. Time will tell if the last prediction comes true and I do live to 74, thats a stretch I think, but then with all the medical attention I get I will probably live forever.

To be fair the first 3 readings were correct. My brothers and sisters were unable to help me due to their own PKD prognosis, it has indeed been years of turmoil and I did have a kidney problem.

I don’t believe in Palm reading, Ouija boards, alternative medicine or horoscopes, but this certainly causes me to ponder

Back to Kidney Transplant