A gift of free­dom

Fol­low­ing a May trans­plant, Jon Michael is re­cov­er­ing and will take part in the 2018 Kid­ney Walk

Truro Daily News - - Colchester County - BY FRAM DINSHAW

Seven years ago, Jon Michael no­ticed swelling and went to the doc­tor for what he thought would be a reg­u­lar checkup.

The swelling de­vel­oped into re­nal fail­ure by 2016 and he un­der­went dial­y­sis treat­ments. This past May, the Truro man un­der­went a kid­ney trans­plant op­er­a­tion.

Now on the road to re­cov­ery, Michael and his fam­ily will join others for the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada’s 2018 Kid­ney Walk on Sept. 15 in Truro.

“I feel re­ally, re­ally good now,” he said. “I have a whole new per­spec­tive on grat­i­tude. I have free­dom again, I can do all the things I en­joyed do­ing be­fore. Within the first week or two, I was just… oh my God, I can go camp­ing, hunt­ing, on long drives.”

Michael was di­ag­nosed with a kid­ney dis­ease known as fo­cal seg­men­tal glomeru­loscle­ro­sis. This form of kid­ney fail­ure can cause edema, pro­tein in urine, weight gain, fa­tigue and a va­ri­ety of blood prob­lems.

Be­fore Michael was di­ag­nosed he en­joyed an ac­tive life­style in­clud­ing long walks with his wife Julie and their eight chil­dren, camp­ing, cy­cling, snor­kel­ing, hunt­ing and road trips across At­lantic Canada.

Once end-stage re­nal fail­ure set in by 2016, Michael had to at­tend hemodial­y­sis in Hal­i­fax sev­eral times a week, leav­ing him too ex­hausted to en­joy time with his fam­ily or pur­sue his usual pas­times.

How­ever, af­ter sev­eral weeks he was able to con­tinue his hemodial­y­sis at home, which he found less tir­ing.

Michael still had to spend three to four hours hooked up to the ma­chine sev­eral times a week.

None­the­less, the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada helped him out, for ex­am­ple by pro­vid­ing gas cards to cover the costs of his di-

al­y­sis trips to Hal­i­fax. Back home, he had strong sup­port from Julie and their chil­dren Jonathan, Austin, Rees, Cole, Lan­don, Chayce, Madi­son and Aden.

“I can’t stress how im­por­tant hav­ing a good sup­port team was,” said Michael. “My wife was re­ally, re­ally good and be­side me. I’m just look­ing at her and fall­ing in love with her all over again.”

With his kid­ney treat­ments and trans­plant be­hind him, Michael is now a vol­un­teer for the Kid­ney Foun­da­tion of Canada’s Truro chap­ter, aim­ing to raise aware­ness about kid­ney dis­ease, dial­y­sis and or­gan dona­tion.


Jon and Julie Michael are seen here with five of their eight chil­dren. Jon is fi­nally able to en­joy the out­door life­style af­ter un­der­go­ing a kid­ney trans­plant on May 23. He plans to take part in the Sept. 15 Kid­ney Walk in Truro.

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