A gift of freedom
Following a May transplant, Jon Michael is recovering and will take part in the 2018 Kidney Walk
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.