This post is submitted by one of our patient co-investigators, Suzanne Ruff. Suzanne is one of the only people in her family without kidney disease, though she is a proud living kidney donor!
It was over 15 years ago now that I heard my mother’s laugh for the last time. It was a deep belly laugh; it was the last time I heard her voice, too. Death is like that . . Mom died of kidney disease a couple of days later. When people expressed their sympathy to us, almost everyone said the same thing: “Your mother was so much fun!”
She was fun despite heartache, illness, and kidney disease, saying “Life is like a show . . . it must go on! No one wants to hear my woes! You have to roll with the punches!” One of her nephrologists came to Mom’s Memorial service and said, “I don’t go to every patient’s memorial service, but your mother was special. She was in quite a bit of pain at the end of her life, but she was the toughest woman I ever met. I learned a lot from her. She always told me she tried to ‘roll with the punches’ and she always made me laugh.”
Mom was a teenager when her mother died of kidney disease, a genetic disease called polycystic kidney disease (PKD). Her two brothers and two sisters died of PKD. Today, both of my sisters battle PKD and one of them is having a very difficult time right now... it’s hard to even think to laugh. But, somehow today, I’m going to find a way to have a deep belly laugh.