Compass mag, Fall 2001. Bottom row: Ada Moss Fleisher, Helen Kirschner, Sharon Piercy, Gandhi. We listed everyone's name on the inside cover, w/their permish of course. My ex-boyfriend a bearded Simon Baniewicz is on the top row. Harry Mitchell is another RN in the top row.
For many years, Sharon Piercy, RN, was an integral part of New Directions.
She was a perfect role model: mom, nurse, dog-lover (Shotsi was a hypomanic schnauser), and finally she moved from English Village Apartments in North Wales to her own home in Wynnewood.
She'd always owned a vacation home in the Pokies where she lives now.
As a divorced woman she showed what an intelligent, motivated woman could do to have the best life possible. Despite her bipolar disorder.
Sharon has kindly given me permission to write about her. She remains a very active 61-year-old despite her bipolar and her .... well, I'll let you read about it later.
Back in the day, Sharon and I would give educational workshops on Bipolar and Depression. I'll always remember when we spoke to the nurses at Dixon Nursing School at Abington Memorial Hospital. The story of her first psychosis was amazing!
Like me, she has Bipolar 1, the kind where you go off your rocker.
Mine, of course, went away 10 years ago.
About 6 months ago, I got on my upstairs computer. All my computers (upstairs desktop, Dell laptop, Acer laptop) have different address books.
I typed in part of her address, hoping it would show up - "pier" - and sure enough, there it was.
I wrote her that I was in end-stage renal failure due to lithium toxicity.
To my shock, she replied that she herself was "on the list." Meaning, the kidney transplant list.
Yesterday, I spoke to Denis Hazam, who runs a DBSA support group at University of Pennsylvania.
He'd had a cadaver transplant six years ago but the kidney was failing fast. Sure enuf, he's on dialysis three days a week.
It was life-saving. He had run out of energy and could barely move!
We need our kidneys.
I call Denis frequently to bolster his spirits b/c he goes to dialysis Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. His wife Fran cooks him healthy meals. One nite while he was at dialysis, she went out for pizza. He can't eat cheese and tomatoes. Or mustard! What's that about?
So here was Sharon, far away but certainly not forgotten, with her failing kidneys. Incredible we take these drugs, we're so trusting, and then - bam! - we pay for it.
Think of you often but I'm bad at keeping in touch. How are you doing? Just read an article from the Kidney Foundation that 10 or more years of Lithium causes permanent Renal damage.
About time it was put in print.
I got a peritoneal catheter in April but still holding off dialysis.
I credit working with my horse, lots of fresh air, sun and exercise.
My daughter has lost 80 lbs and is trying to lose enough to give me one. I'm just not sure I want that. I've been on the list 2 yrs and just agreed to take a healthy one over 60 which will increase my chances.
I still work full- time. I have to until I'm on Medicare.
Sharon's palomino Penny. (I just made up that name. It came to me thru an extended session of ESP.)
So, 10 years or more on lithium and then you're, scuse me, fucked!
I wrote Sharon back about the guilt we feel toward our living donors.
They'll die on the operating table or afterward, they won't have a full life, what if they want children.
We all go thru this.
I met a man at my son Dan's wedding. Tom. He and his girlfriend live in Florida. Insulin diabetes ruined his kidneys and he's been on dialysis for 6 years.
Then his 40-y-o daughter offered him a kidney.
He was in terror! Yes, that's how we all react: gratitude and horror.
I'm gonna see him in August if I'm still alive after my spine surgery. He and his girlfriend "Kat" will be at Grace's first birthday party.
Can't wait to talk kidney talk!
Each time I take my pills - morning and nite - I check to make sure I loaded my pillbox correctly:
4 Cellcept - the big two-tones, the generic has ugly colors vs. the lovely brand names
3 Prograf (tacrolimus - I just love that name) - the smaller capsules
1 Prednisone - tiny white