Sharon is ready to thrive

In 2017 I was living in the Twin Oaks Apartments, a housing community in North Davidson. Suddenly, without warning, we were told to vacate the building in 30 days. It was being bought right out from under us by a condominium developer. 

The suddenness of the whole thing was very upsetting and so I stepped in to advocate for myself and the residents during this time of need.  It was awful what we had to go through and I felt so badly for everyone. 

I was doing okay. I had the energy and the time to work with a team of people to make sure those who were not able to advocate for themselves could get the support they needed. This involved all kinds of work. I spoke at a city council meeting about the need for low-income housing. I helped search for apartments and houses for the other residents. I also organized meetings with attorneys, church members and community activists; and eventually, as a team, we came together and happily everyone found housing, including myself.

During this time I also worked a full time job at a state-supported maternity home as a house mother. I cleaned, cooked and basically nurtured and cared for the young teen mothers who lived there.

I was self-sufficient and independent. While I wasn’t rich, I was taking care of myself and also able to serve others.

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And that’s when I got the bad news that my kidneys were not operating at full capacity.  I went in for a regular eye doctor’s appointment when they noticed that the blood pressure in my right eye was extremely high. I went to my primary doctor who sent me immediately to a kidney physician.

Normal kidneys operate at a level 15. Mine was only five. Apparently I had a birth defect that had caused my kidneys to be much smaller than the typical adult’s.

In an effort to prepare me for the much-needed dialysis, my kidney doctor put a stint in my left arm that didn’t work. I had five additional surgeries and none of them worked so they decided to make a more drastic intervention and put a catheter directly into my chest.

During this time, I had to quit my job.

I’m still not working full time. I go to dialysis three days a week for three hours each time. The dialysis can be painful and exhausting. Often I come home and need to rest. But on some other days I feel great. It’s unpredictable.

I don’t have any family who can support me financially and many of my friends are living right on the edge and unable to help out either.  I am currently relying on a nonprofit called Vision Possible to help me with my bills and am actively looking for a part time job that will allow me to make some money while also continuing the dialysis which I absolutely need.

I am thrilled to share that it appears I’ll be undergoing a kidney transplant in October.  I’m in good health, relatively speaking, and have been working very hard with Atrium Healthcare and Wake Forest Healthcare to be on both kidney lists.

To be honest with you, taking care of my physical health sometimes feels like a full time job! I’m ready now to not just survive but thrive.

I’m grateful to Speak Up Magazine for giving me a chance to share my story and I love being a vendor for the publication.  Please consider getting a subscription using my link, so that I can become more independent with each passing day.

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Your subscription does the following:

  • Gives you full access to all Speak Up content, articles, and community features.

  • Provides an ongoing voice for the voiceless and creates an income opportunity for people facing hardship.

  • Directly supports Sharon as she work to improve her situation by selling magazines and subscriptions to Speak Up.

  • Cost: $10 monthly or $120 a full year.

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