No warning signs… no nothing…

Soaking wet bed, horrible back pain and a stomach that feels so bloated. I feel like I gain 30 pounds over night. This is the story of my second kidney infection in two months, so a trip to HUP is in my future. I promise, Mom. We need to figure out why this is happening. I actually haven’t had a kidney infection in 6 years, so two in a row is slightly concerning to me. Seriously just slightly. For some reason, I think my organs are for me, not against me. Haven’t they proved that?

My bladder and kidneys have always been such a pain. From a young age, I suffered from bladder infections and then kidney infections. In 7th grade, my kidney infection was so severe that I spiked a fever of 106.3. Looking back, it is a miracle I survived that fever. Especially because my parents didn’t take me to the hospital right away. I love to bring that up to them occasionally. I cheated death and then cheated it again. 😀

In high school, to prevent surgery, I was given the option to catheterize myself three times  a day to prevent having surgery on my bladder. The doctors discovered that I had a diverticulum. Basically, it was a pocket that developed on the side of my bladder and the urine would store itself there. Because of this, my bladder was never emptying properly. The urine would eventually travel to my kidneys and cause infection.

I was SO mad. I did not want to self-cath. How weird and embarrassing is that? I walked out of CHOP that day on fire. Sorry Mom. The doctors and nurses spent a good majority of their day threatening me and explaining to me that this issue needed to be resolved. They informed me that it was serious. It could prevent me from having kids in the future (who cares), I could lose a kidney (you only need one) or I would have my bladder removed and carry a bag with me everywhere I go. Hot.  (Can they even do that, I thought?) That last threat beat the teenage attitude right out of me.

I agreed to self-cath. Side note: The CHOP doc who treated me over 20 years ago saw Camryn last year for an appointment. He remembered me…well. After two years and a lot of follow-up appointments, it actually worked and the surgery was cancelled. I was happy, but bitter that they were right. Those docs and nurses sure know their stuff.

I will always be prone to annoying UTIs, but 3 pregnancies proved that my kidneys were awesome.

After delivering Aubrey and Courtney, my kidneys shut down. One of my first medical memories at HUP, was being on dialysis and that terrified me. All of the memories from my childhood came flooding back. I will never forget staring at that machine, unable to talk because of the trach, tears streaming down my face, terrified that I was going to have to deal with this again, but obviously worse now. What if I already lost a kidney and they haven’t told me yet? Side note again: They tell the patient things VERY slowly in the ICU. They don’t want to freak you out and cause agitation. 

My kidneys took a hit and were the last organ to recover, but we were granted a miracle that they did. From my recollection, dialysis didn’t last long. Thank God.

Every time a nurse tried to cath me at HUP, I begged to do it myself. Because of how weak I was, that would have been impossible, but it was a full circle moment for me and I wanted to be in control. My pride was gone. Plus, things are so much easier when you do them yourself. I proved independence so many years before and during my journey, I despised that I was dependent on everyone for everything.

Another side note: I started writing this over the summer. Appointment at HUP scheduled.







  1. Kellyann Mitchell on September 14, 2017 at 7:33 am

    Goodness, I can’t even fathom having to self cath! Glad to hear you have the appt scheduled, hope they get to the bottom of what is going on.

  2. Mom on September 14, 2017 at 8:12 am

    Thanks for obeying your mother! I could go on and on about this, but prudence will be used and I will not.
    Let’s hope that HUP will resolve this situation quickly.
    It’s sister site, CHOP, did it many years ago so now it’s their turn. Now it will be up to you, Kristi, to follow their instructions to the letter of the law. Sorry, honey, but I am still your mother and allowed to give you my opinion!

  3. Gail on September 14, 2017 at 8:18 am

    Hi Kristi,

    Try not to remind Mom and Dad too often that they didn’t take you to the hospital immediately when you spiked that 106.3 fever. I am the queen of reliving moments like that and beating myself up for what I could have done, should have done, etc. Until the day my father died he could not talk about an incident in which he was riding a bike with me in the basket, he hit a stone, I bounced out of the basket and broke my collar bone and took several stitches to the head. He was 78 when he died. I was 5 when it happened. After all those years had passed, he still could not talk about an incident in which he THOUGHT he caused his daughter harm. Knowing your parents, they were doing what they thought was the right thing at the time – promise! And I do know you probably do it to tease them a bit because of your wonderful sense of humor!

    Additionally, your wonderful Mom was extremely instrumental in connecting me with a doctor at CHOP for my almost 24 year old daughter. She pushed me to switch from DuPont to CHOP and a Dr. Casale operated on Rachel and corrected her urinary tract reflux. At the time DuPont told us it was too late for surgery, even though we went to see the urologist there faithfully every 6 months since Rachel was diagnosed at the age of 2. Rachel was in fifth grade when DuPont decided it was too late for surgery. I will be forever grateful that I listened to your Mom and made the switch! I’m pretty sure she pushed so hard because of what you went through all those years (still punishing herself for what she could have done, should have done, etc).

    So…. make sure you get to that appointment at HUP. You have 4 beautiful daughters who think the world of you, along with your siblings, parents, and a large circle of friends. I hope your condition is not too serious and can be fixed relatively easily.

    Never lose your great sense of humor – EVER!

  4. Bobbi Smisko on September 14, 2017 at 8:45 am

    Not only are your journaling notes memorable reading, they are also informative. One never knows when one may need certain information for themselves or others. Thanks, Kristi for your vulnerability!

  5. Barbara J McEvoy on September 14, 2017 at 9:29 am

    So sorry, Kristi! Rachel has suffered with kidney disease. It is an added burden for sure. Get well! We are all rooting for you!

  6. Julie Kovaleski on September 14, 2017 at 2:28 pm

    I’m sooooo grateful you are okay. You have AMAZING things to continue to do and share in your life. ❤

  7. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Bumps… they keep life interesting. So do deadlines!! 😂

  8. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:16 pm

    It is all good! Miss you all.

  9. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I hope I can help just one person!!

  10. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Thanks Gail. My parents just love my sense of humor…at times. This too shall pass. ❤️

  11. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:21 pm

    I love your opinion. It is all starting to make sense now that I am being held captive by three kids who love to torture me. They ALL act like me. Ugh!! ❤️❤️

  12. Kristi on September 14, 2017 at 9:22 pm

    It waS so ridiculous. I felt like it was a sick joke at the beginning, but like everything else, it became the new norm.

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