By writer to hellenicnews.com
Froso Andronikou cried after they instructed her she’d must go on dialysis.
“Once I first heard the phrases… I actually had tears popping out of my eyes, which is stunning for me as a result of I had most cancers and when the physician instructed me I by no means cried,” mentioned the 53-year-old Cypriot now dwelling in New Jersey.
However then she did what she’s all the time accomplished—she confronted the problem.
“I’ve to be proactive. I can’t be depressed about it and be like ‘Why me’ or ‘Woe is me.’ I can’t do any of that.”
At 36, Froso was identified with polycystic kidney illness. The progressive illness replaces wholesome Kidney tissue with cysts and the kidneys ultimately cease working.
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It’s why she’s on a mission to discover a kidney donor.
Polycystic kidney illness is genetic, though nobody in her household has ever had it. Docs inform her it’s a mutation.
It began with a small ache and elevated blood strain.
They ordered an ultrasound. On the display screen, there have been all these cysts.
“I had no expertise with any type of severe medical issues as a result of I used to be 36. I used to be wholesome in any other case. I believed that these had been tumors.”
They instructed her she had polycystic kidney illness, however nobody may inform her a lot about it so she stayed dwelling for 2 days and took to the web.
“By the tip of the second day I used to be very sad with what I used to be studying,” Froso says.
She ended up going to the Rogosin Institute in New York, a “kidney hospital.”
Froso was a daily affected person there.
Once they instructed her there was nothing they may do for her, she stopped going.
“I ended going after a couple of years as a result of it was simply tiring and time-consuming to simply drive there for a urine take a look at and a blood take a look at.”
She went for second and third opinions. Everybody mentioned the identical factor.
“There’s nothing we are able to do for you. There’s no medicine. I’ll see you in 20 years whenever you’re having issues.”
She discovered a kidney specialist nearer to dwelling that she likes, coincidentally the identical nephrologist that first identified her.
Nonetheless, there was nothing to assist her.
As we speak’s medicines are helpful to sluggish the development of cysts when caught early sufficient, however they had been created too late to learn Froso.
She had thought of anti-rejection medicines out of Europe when she was youthful as a result of additionally they sluggish the development of cysts, however these medication weren’t authorised within the U.S.
“I used to inform my dad if I ever get arrested and so they name you it’s as a result of I’ve ordered medicine from one other nation. However I by no means did it.”
This previous yr, her kidneys received worse.
“I all the time hoped and prayed that it wouldn’t occur however right here it was like nearly out of nowhere.”
It was so unhealthy she needed to begin dialysis in June.
She goes 3 times per week, hooked as much as a machine for three hours and 45 minutes. The method cleans her blood and removes extra fluid.
It’s chilly. It’s uncomfortable and it leaves you exhausted.
“It’s like operating a 5K in two minutes,” she says.
Sitting throughout from her is her 83-year-old father, Dimitri.
“He has continual kidney illness which occurred from medicine so it’s totally totally different from what I’ve.”
He was prescribed medicine for migraines that broken his kidneys. He’s been on dialysis for eight years.
Seeing her in the identical state of affairs has been painful.
“I may inform from the start once I first began I may see the unhappiness in his face and his expression from seeing me 30 years youthful than him sitting throughout in one other chair.”
She’s so younger
It’s uncommon for somebody of Froso’s age to be receiving dialysis. She’s the youngest particular person within the room the place she will get therapy.
“Nurses are behind the scenes, whispering how younger I’m. And the way ‘oh my God It’s so unhappy.’ I can hear them. They’re bringing one after the opposite to see how younger I’m. I’m like ‘oh my goodness.’
She maintains an upbeat perspective, the identical perspective she used together with her breast most cancers, which has been in remission for 5 years this month.
“Individuals are extra unhappy for me than I’m for myself,” she says. “Simply because I’m on dialysis life doesn’t cease.”
Discovering a donor
Froso is searching for donors which have the commonest blood kind, O constructive.
That makes it arduous to seek out organs as a result of it’s a blood kind that everybody can obtain so there’s excessive demand for O constructive kidneys.
She’s on the transplant listing at St. Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey and she or he’s testing on the College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Cleveland Clinic in Fort Lauderdale.
It may very well be eight to 10 years earlier than Froso finds a donor.
The donor course of
Those that need to be donors for Froso however don’t match can nonetheless donate their kidney in a sharing community.
The kidney would go to a recipient who does match you, then you definitely can be eligible to obtain a kidney sooner or later must you want one sooner or later.
However folks prepared to donate a kidney to Froso won’t be so keen to offer to a stranger.
“I perceive that. It’s an enormous deal,’ Froso says.
Froso is documenting her expertise on Fb, attempting to teach folks about kidney illness and organ donation. She’s stunned when folks inform her they don’t know what dialysis is and that it’s important to be on it for a lifetime.
Froso lives in New Jersey not removed from her mother and father, Dimitri and Elena, who’re each retired.
Like many Greeks, she helped her father run his restaurant, The Espresso Store, for 36 years earlier than opening one in all her personal.
A few yr in the past, she went to work for a company relocation firm.
“It was loads much less annoying.”
Her household got here to america in 1974 after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus.
“My mother and father mainly misplaced all the things and began from scratch,” she says.
They got here from town of Famagusta, northeast of the inexperienced line.
When her father arrived within the U.S. he labored at two eating places to assist his household whereas learning for an electrician’s license.
“He realized a whole lot of issues about cooking,” she says. At some point when the restaurant chef didn’t present up, he stuffed in, launching a profitable profession as a chef and restauranteur.
“My dad was a celeb chef earlier than celeb cooks. Meals critics would come from New York and ask for his recipes. He by no means gave them.”
In 1984, he opened The Espresso Store.
Froso says he’d nonetheless be working there in the event that they hadn’t compelled him to promote it and retire 5 years in the past at age 78. He preferred the shoppers who had been extra like household over time.
Froso was raised in a Cypriot Greek family. The household nonetheless attends St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church in Piscataway, New Jersey.
The invasion of Cyprus
Froso was solely 7 when the Turks invaded Cyprus. They had been celebrating her mom’s cousin’s marriage and her father had gone to the capital to get visas for them to go to household in america.
“Whereas my dad was gone, they began the emergency broadcast over the radio.”
Her mom was terrified the Turks would bomb the capital whereas their father was there.
Fortuitously, Froso’s father heard the announcement and rotated.
Every week or so later, her father was conscripted into the army and assigned a submit. The household stayed with neighbors.
Then the Turks began to bomb.
“I keep in mind going to the window and searching outdoors and seeing the planes truly drop bombs,” Froso says.
They drove to a different city with British bases hoping they’d be protected.
“We had no thought the place my dad was. My dad didn’t know the place we had been.”
After a few days they returned dwelling and located her father sitting on the entrance porch ready for them.
Just a few weeks later, phrase received across the Turks can be bombing once more.
“My mother mentioned to my dad, I don’t care in the event that they throw you in jail, you’re not going and we’re holding our household collectively.”
By this level, the household had visas so they may journey to america, however Froso’s father needed to keep behind.
They took a ship from Cyprus to Greece, after which flew to america, arriving Aug. 30, 1974. Froso’s father joined them later in October.
“It was bizarre as a child as a result of as a child you don’t get the severity of it. You see your mum or dad apprehensive and it does have an effect on you,” she says.
They need to additionally contact her St. Barnabas organ donor coordinator, Allison Mooreman, straight at 973-322-5082.
— to hellenicnews.com