My Crozer-Keystone Story: Denise Robinson, Kidney Transplant Patient - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on January 26, 2016

My Crozer-Keystone Story: Denise Robinson, Kidney Transplant Patient

Media Contact:
Katrina Stier
(610) 447-6314
Katrina.Stier@crozer.org

Practice Contact:
Kidney Transplant Center
(610) 619-8420

Why I Love Crozer-Keystone

“Through it all I felt like I had an entire ‘country of support’ behind me. Everyone wanted this for me and they were going to go through it with me.”

Denise Robinson received a new kidney at the Kidney Transplant Center at Crozer Chester Medical Center.

Denise Robinson with Crozer-Keystone transplant
surgeon Sunny Fink, M.D.

Background

For nearly four years, Denise Robinson received kidney dialysis treatment at the Dialysis Unit in Upland. During one of her visits for treatment, she learned about the Kidney Transplant Center at the Crozer Chester Medical Center. “I learned about transplant during a Lobby Day at my dialysis unit,” Ms. Robinson said. “The information I got from asking questions gave me a better understanding of how a transplant works.”

The decision to undergo a serious surgical procedure like a kidney transplant is not one taken lightly. Ms. Robinson sought out advice from her doctor. “When I asked my nephrologist what he thought, he said, ‘Denise, you are too healthy and too young to stay on dialysis’ and that I was making a great decision. His words and the kindness of the staff who cared for me at the Upland Dialysis unit kept me going forward on my journey. Not every day was a good one, but my faith made me stronger and I actually grew even closer to my religion. All of these things helped me stay positive and hopeful.”

“I never doubted my decision to go for a transplant, even though it took me a year to make my evaluation appointment,” she said. “When I talked to my husband about my decision he said, ‘what if something happens to you?’ I told him, ‘something is going to happen to me- I’m going to get better.’ From then on, he was and still is beside me every step of the way.”

On April 1, 2015, Denise was discharged from the Kidney Transplant Center at Crozer Chester Medical Center after receiving a new kidney. “It was the start of National Organ Donor Awareness Month and my first day home as the ‘new’ me. I was looking forward to all the new things I would be able to do with my free time and I felt really healthy physically, spiritually and emotionally, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt this good.”

“Sometimes when you are on dialysis you start to think about yourself as a patient, because it takes up so much of your life. But I never forgot that as a wife and a mother, I was the one who needed to keep my family healthy too. That’s what Moms do- we take care of others. When I got sick I made a promise to myself that my family would continue to be my number one priority. I am so very blessed to have friends around me who made me realize I needed to take care of ME first and let others be short-time substitute caregivers for my family and me. Once I accepted that, I realized that I didn’t need to feel guilty for putting myself first! I had to be healthy for me so that I would be around a long time to take care of my family.”

Today, Tomorrow and Beyond

With her successful transplant operation done, Denise has time to reflect on the past and think about her future. “So, in this past year, I turned 50, I got a new kidney and I am going to become a grandmother for the first time. I’ve gone from worrying about being healthy enough to attend my youngest daughter’s high school graduation in 2016, to knowing I will be there to cheer, jump up and down and celebrate how proud I am of her.

And, I’m going to be able to do one thing that I love doing – travel. But I mean travel without having to come off the beach early because I have to go for treatment, or be limited to where we can go because of the time it will take driving there in between treatments. The folks at dialysis are great at making arrangements for you to receive treatment while you’re on vacation, but it felt like I could never take a vacation from dialysis- for almost 4 years, dialysis became my full-time job.

And I’m going back to work after I finish up a few more classes toward my degree. I am actually looking forward to going back to work!

People ask me how transplant has changed my life- for sure transplant has made me stronger and it has given me back things to look forward to. It feels great to wonder ‘how can I achieve something’ rather than ‘what will I do when something goes wrong?’

But one thing happened a few days ago that meant the most to me. It happened so naturally that I almost missed it. I was spending time with my daughter, not doing anything special really, just being together with one another. She became really quiet and then looked at me and said, ‘You’re Mommy again! You have all this energy and we laugh like we used to.’ It was then that I realized the “new” me after transplant is really the same person I always was – and I thank the Lord and my donor every day for giving me the ability to be ‘Mommy again.’ ”

For more information, call the Kidney Transplant Center at 610-619-8420 or visit www.crozerkeystone.org/kidney/transplant/

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