John Sinclair, with wife Karen, needs a kidney transplant. (Submitted photo)

“In the last year, there has been a significant deterioration in function”

March is Kidney Month

A former editor of the 100 Mile Free Press is in need of a new kidney.

“I was first diagnosed in about 1994,” said John Sinclair, who lives in the 108 Mile Ranch area. “I was experiencing some symptoms similar to what my father had.”

Prior to his own diagnosis, Sinclair’s father went into renal failure and had to go on to dialysis.

Despite experiencing the same symptoms for many years, it wasn’t until he went to see his family physician and mentioned the similar symptoms and asked the doctor to check it out. Tests were done, which determined that Sinclair shared a hereditary rare form of kidney disease with his father. Sinclair’s youngest daughter is also living with the same disease, being diagnosed when she was nine. However, the Sinclairs are confident it will be manageable since it was found very early.

“I had experienced the symptoms for many years before that but it was always written off as something else. They didn’t believe that it was actually kidney disease I had but it wasn’t until a local doctor did some tests and discovered that was in fact what was going on.”

Some of the symptoms he suffered from were gout, muscle aches and pains, severe back pain around the kidney, headaches and intestinal problems. Perhaps the worst, he said, was fatigue. Gout is also unusual for someone in their early 20s, such as Sinclair was when he started experiencing the symptoms, to be afflicted with. However, when Sinclair had tests down prior to the aforementioned diagnosis, the gout was typically attributed to some metabolic disorder.

“In the ensuing years when it was determined it was kidney function, some of the other symptoms I was experiencing made a lot more sense. One of the worst ones is fatigue. There is a general feeling of being unwell. You never quite feel right,” he said. “There are days when the symptoms are not that prevalent and other days where you are almost incapacitated in bed. It comes and goes but there is always that general feeling of not being well and very fatigued.”

Sinclair said over the 26 years he has been officially diagnosed with kidney disease, his kidney function has always been fair until the last ten years, where the numbers have really fallen and his kidneys have deteriorated more.

“In the last year, there has been a significant deterioration in function. A year ago, I was just at over 35 per cent kidney function and in the last year I have gone down to 15 per cent, which I was told was to be expected. At this stage, I’m not on dialysis but because it was such a rapid decline last fall, on the advice of caretakers in the Renal Clinic in Kamloops they said it was time to start prepping for dialysis. At that time they had figured I would probably be on dialysis by Christmas time.”

Fortunately, by smart dieting and healthy exercise, Sinclair has delayed going on dialysis. However, he was told that it is time to start looking for donors because his kidneys will inevitably fail.

A couple of family members have started the testing process to see if they are a match. One friend was also tested but was ruled out after not being found as a suitable match.

“It’s pretty much a numbers game. You need one kidney but you have to get 20, 30, 40 people willing to be tested. The transplant team in Vancouver will take a look at anyone willing to donate.”

People who are willing to be tested can either contact the Transplant Unit at Vancouver General Hospital at 1-855-875-5182 and mention the Sinclairs. All information on potential donors is confidential if they wish it to remain so. They can also call or text Sinclair’s wife, Karen, at 250-706-7032.

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