January 12, 2018

Voices of PKD: Brenda Conway, Fall River NS

brenda1_voicegraphic.jpgI was diagnosed with PKD in 2003 at the age of 33. My diagnosis was a shock as I didn’t know of any family members being affected. I reached out to my father’s family in BC, who we had never met, and discovered that my cousin had been diagnosed around the same time I was. 

I worked full time as a cardiovascular surgery RN. Now, 14 years later, I am on disability. I suffer from hypertension, chronic pain and fatigue, frequent UTIs and pyelonephritis, and increased abdominal girth from enlarged kidneys. I also have Crohn’s disease and depression. Crohn’s makes managing my PKD more difficult. My Crohn’s medication is contraindicated in PKD. I wake up every morning wondering if today is the day my kidneys will fail and I will need dialysis and a kidney transplant.

My son Brandon, 28, was diagnosed with PKD when he was a teenager. He doesn’t have any symptoms at present. My daughter Jamie, 22, has so far tested negative for PKD but has Crohn’s disease. Luckily, I have an amazing family to help me cope with my illnesses. My husband, Lyle, is the love of my life. When he married me in 2015 in sickness and in health, he took on a lot. He has sat with me for hours during several trips to the emergency room. He helps me cope with my daily struggle and reminds me to stay positive. He is my hero! I also have a gorgeous two year old granddaughter who keeps me going. 

I try to be a positive person and see the good in everything. I try to get regular exercise at the gym and eat a mostly plant based diet. I am determined to live a long and happy life and to see my grandchildren grow up!

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