Staying positive through tough times can be challenging, but, sometimes, a little inspiration is all you need to keep going. For many people, Patrick Gee is that inspiration! He has started his own non-profit, which is dedicated to educating underserved communities about Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), cardiovascular disease, obesity, and nutritional wellness. We had the chance to speak with Patrick Gee and this is his story!
Where do you live? Chesterfield, Virginia.
What do you enjoy doing?
I’m an ordained minister, and I love helping folks. I like listening to jazz music, reading nonfiction books, and entertaining my 9 grandchildren.
How many years have you been living with type 2 diabetes? 17
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Could you tell us about your T2D diagnosis?
In April 2013, during a routine visit with my endocrinologist, I found out that I had only 35% of my kidney function remaining. Never in the 10 years that I’d been going to her did she ever tell me that diabetes is the #1 cause of kidney disease. I didn’t understand why I hadn’t been told when I had 75% or 50% kidney function.
We understand that you received a kidney transplant. Can you tell us about your experience?
I got on the kidney transplant list in 2016. A year later, I was lucky enough to receive a transplant. After the transplant, I endured 4 surgeries and was hospitalized for 33 days. On the 47th day, my kidney finally began to work. A few months later, I was told I needed to lose weight. Being overweight can also increase one’s risk of kidney damage. I joined a weight loss group at the hospital. Two and a half years later, I’m still a part of the group.
Are you concerned about your children developing T2D and/or CKD?
It’s a big concern. My second-to-youngest son has diabetes, and we recently learned that he has chronic kidney disease as well.
Knowing your son was at risk for developing CKD, did you have a conversation with him about getting tested for CKD?
I’ve had that conversation with every member of my family, down to my grandchildren. As a parent, you never want your children to be impacted by anything you’ve gone through. When my son was diagnosed, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Hey Dad, you told me this.” That was probably the most hurtful thing to hear. Seeing my son in the hospital was like looking at a younger version of myself. It made me think about all the things that I could have done to avoid CKD in T2D. And now here it has fallen on one of my children.
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What would you say to someone with T2D about the importance of getting tested for CKD?
Everybody with type 2 diabetes should get tested for CKD. As I look back over my life now, all those years of being unmanaged or undiagnosed are starting to catch up with me.
How important do you think diet and lifestyle are in reducing one’s risk of developing CKD?
Being African American, I’m inherently at risk for diabetes, so I really need to be more cognizant of the food I’m eating and my lifestyle. Instead of eating fast food, I should do more cooking at home. Eat more diabetes- and kidney-friendly diet, even if you’re not at risk.
How has your CKD in T2D journey impacted your life?
I was inspired to start my own nonprofit organization that educates underserved, disenfranchised communities about chronic kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and nutritional wellness. The organization promotes patient empowerment and early intervention through screening, which can be as simple as a urine test.
How do you stay positive?
I’m a person of faith so I remain optimistic even during uncertain times. When I look back on my kidney journey, what should have killed me has given me a voice.
What is your hope for the future of CKD?
I hope there is a cure.
What is your plan for the future?
To be the best advocate by living the example and see my 2-year-old grandchild graduate from college.
To learn more about CKD in T2D and to access helpful resources, visit CKDandT2D.com
Source : https://blackdoctor.org/the-secret-to-living-with-chronic-kidney-disease/
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