Daniel Gauvin - My Story
Since this is my first blog post in quite a while, I want to introduce myself – my name is Daniel and I am from Calgary, Alberta however I currently live in Boston. I have been living on the east coast for 6 years and am studying to be a doctor. I am months away from obtaining my medical degree and am extremely excited for the next step in my medical training. I am applying to residency programs in the field of internal medicine, which includes nephrology amongst other sub-specialties. Down the road I certainly see myself becoming a nephrologist, an interest of mine for many years. As someone with Dent disease, I have wondered in the past if I was talking myself into becoming a kidney doctor because of I have this perspective that would allow me to make my own unique contribution. Over time, I have come to appreciate the medicine and I’ve met other patients with chronic kidney disease (I have yet to meet another Dent patient at the hospital though), and have realized that it’s an illness that is highly variable and complex. Additionally, nephrologists are some of the most dedicated and intelligent doctors I have ever met. I rotate through all the different types of specialties and these physicians always stand out to me in a positive way.
I don’t want to make all my blog entries about medicine but it does consume a lot of my time at the moment. Back to my story, I have known I have Dent disease since a very young age (before I could even process it) and combined with my medical knowledge, I believe it helps me deal with the uncertainty of my illness. Talking to other individuals at patient meetings and connecting through my blog posts, I realize that I am lucky in a sense and there is a large group that are recently diagnosed who are processing information. I cannot begin to imagine what others go through, especially since the presentation of Dent disease is variable, meaning every patient might have different symptoms and hurdles to overcome and it can be difficult to find others going through similar experiences because of the heterogeneity. In the past couple of years, I have had to adapt following my transplant evaluation process in 2016. Thankfully my kidney function as been stable and I continue to accrue time on the transplant wait list in case I need to use that resource if I am unable to receive a kidney from a live donor. At the time, the evaluation process was intense. It felt like I didn’t have the chance to think, I went from having a silent disease in the sense that I don’t experience symptoms that impact my day to day life, to having to undergo all these tests and talking about needing a transplant and dialysis if I my kidney disease would continue to progress. In fact, my kidneys were not drastically worse one day to another, but I had reached an arbitrary number that equals to “real talk” next time I meet with my nephrologist in clinic. It felt like an unnecessary change in pace and I had to keep reminding myself that I continue to be the same person regardless of these stressors. I don’t blame my physicians at all, they have brought up transplant in conversation several times before. Instead, I think I did not allow myself to start preparing myself mentally for this next step at an earlier age. I encourage other patients in my situation with slowly progressive kidney disease to have conversations about transplant and dialysis early on since it is important to be prepared when the time comes.
Today, I feel much calmer about my situation. I have had time to process everything that has happened and am focused on the impact medicine has on me in my professional life rather than my personal life. I have survived the hardest part of medical school and my focus is to enjoy the ride now that I am done with my exams and continue to explore my interests (asides from waiting for job interviews). Unfortunately, I cannot make it to the patient meeting this year but I am happy to answer any questions and am available to talk if I can be of any assistance via email.
Have a wonderful day!