By Danielle Bradshaw from In The Cloud Copy
Bill Bradford has made helping others a lifelong habit, but now this veteran and former paramedic needs the help of others to keep on surviving. Bradford is living with PKD (or polycystic kidney disease) which is a genetic disorder of the kidneys that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow inside the organ.
How Does PKD Affect a Person’s Health?
While kidney cysts are usually harmless, those caused by PKD can change both the size and shape of the kidneys and this results in them becoming larger, heavier, and misshapen, thus causing the kidneys to slowly lose functionality over time. PKD can also result in high blood pressure and damages blood vessels in the heart and brain.
How the Disease Affects Bradford’s Daily Life
Bradford has gone on record saying that he has to take 13 different pills each morning alongside his meal to help him combat the disorder. He refers to it as the “Breakfast of Champions.” He knows that his health is on the decline, but he intends to combat the disease by bringing more awareness to it.
Because he knows the struggle of living with this disease, Bradford is the founder of End PKD. End PKD is an organization he put together to help educate people about polycystic kidney disease and eventually eliminate the disease. Bradford says that this way, he serves as a representative of the most prevalent, potentially fatal genetic illness in the world.
Approximately 600,000 people within the US alone suffer from the genetic disease; that number increases to a staggering 12.4 million when taking into account the worldwide population of PKD patients. Most people that have PKD inherited the gene mutation from one of their parents. It is possible – albeit much rarer – for the mutation to develop on its own, regardless of the fact that neither parent has the mutation.
The Impact of PKD
The average male kidney weighs less than one pound, yet Bradford describes his kidneys as weighing in at 25 pounds each. Bradford has been working tirelessly over the last few years to make the general populous more aware of PKD. The disease doesn’t take any breaks to accommodate him, however, as even while he’s continuing his fight against it, the symptoms a heavy toll on his body.
Bradford says that if you look long enough, you can see his veins constantly pulsating. He describes it as his veins being blown out due to the disorder. He was actually in the DaVita dialysis center for one of his three per week sessions at the time.
Each session has a duration of around four hours. There was actually supposed to be a follow up to the interview that helped to bring the readers this article, but Bradford, unfortunately, had some complications caused by the PKD and had to be admitted to the hospital.
Speaking with Sandra Scott
Sandra Scott is a dietitian that works with DaVita and she says that PKD can lurk within a person for years and they may never realize it. She goes on to say that even with knowledge and support, sometimes even that isn’t enough to survive PKD.
Scott describes Bradford’s fight with the genetic disease as him putting in as much effort as he possibly can. He’ll do whatever he needs to do for his treatments but sometimes he’ll end up in the hospital after a bad day.
Bill Bradford’s Comeback
Bradford, however, did make it home after the fright the disorder gave him, but he wasn’t quite up to a full-fledged interview. He did say that although he wants to get on the national transplant registry, he knows that it’s not a guarantee.
The dialysis that he’s currently undergoing does help manage his symptoms, but it’s also very hard on his body. Bradford says that he’s seen a group of 100 people start the procedure but that 5 years later, there’s only 35 out of that 100 left. Even so, he says that he’ll keep up his fight against PKD as long as he’s able to do so.
Check out the original story here.