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Cecil Blackman: Transplant Patient Story

A Wonderful Treat

Ongoing high blood pressure led to Cecil’s kidney failure in 2004. Yet, that was just the beginning of his health challenges. Several medical conditions, including infections in his spine, as well as a prostate cancer diagnosis, followed by stomach cancer, kept him on dialysis for nearly 15 years.

Surgery and radiation took center stage to treat his cancer. He had to wait two years to get through his treatments and be designated “cancer free” before embarking upon a kidney transplant. Still working 70 hours a week while on dialysis and getting very little rest, his kidney disease took a lot out of him. He also admitted he wasn’t taking care of himself and doing what he needed to do.

“I would feel good and think I didn’t need dialysis. Depression also played a part. However, after the spinal cord infection, I took my treatments seriously, because I didn’t want to go backwards. I finally listened to my body.”

Cecil made it through all of his medical challenges and on Halloween of 2018, he got the call he had been waiting to receive. A kidney was available. Given the date – October 31 – he was thrilled for such a treat and happy it wasn’t a trick.

“It’s been tough, and sometimes you have to go with the flow, hang in there, and not give up. My wife was very supportive, and my friend James drove me back and forth to my appointments. Even my dog helps to keep me going, because he needs exercise every day.”

When Cecil considers the care he received during his journey, he marvels at the support and encouragement from his surgeon, Dr. Yang, as well as Brittany, the nurse coordinator.

“They are very caring and gave me a lot of support over the years. They told me I would get a kidney and they were right. It has removed a weight from my shoulders.”

After taking a year off to make sure his body gets used to the new kidney, he is walking, which he calls ‘alone time with yourself,’ and trying to turn off any negative mental noise.

“The brain is important. If you keep thinking about problems, it never gets a rest. Today, I don’t have any complications, and I feel good.”

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