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There's More to
Life Than This


Twenty years ago, I was working a shift supervisor at a fast food chain - I was also a new mom and newly engaged to my partner of five years. In November 2003, I started feeling very tired all the time, no matter how much or how little sleep I was able to achieve I was always fatigued. My work environment was becoming more more toxic and stressful. I began having intense pains in my lower back (now I understand this pain as kidney pain). I was suppose to be working part time hours, but I was managing to get overtime on each pay cheque because I was doing my own workload and the work of incompetent coworker to complete my work. He wouldn't balance his tills and would leave them to me to organize. I was slowly falling apart. I was trying to be everything to everyone and do everything by the book at work. It started wearing me down, that I did reach out for medical help, I could feel my body falling apart. I was brushed off, being told that it was seasonal depression and to buy myself a sad lamp, but I felt it was more than just sadness.

C+K, engagement 2003

On January 4, 2004, I collapsed at work. I was training a new manager and I was determined to train him to the best of my ability because I didn't want him to repeat my incompetent coworker's mistakes. I stayed at work until we completed the closing shift. I went home, to let my partner know that I had to go to the hospital the pain was unbearable. 

I was admitted to North Bay General Hospital (Civic Site) during the early hours of January 5th. During my assessment, I was monitored by several specialist. I had organ failure and I was only 23 (nearly 24) years old. During my first ultrasound, I heard the doctors comment to one another: "Interesting."  "Fascinating." I was told I had the lungs of a 75 years old. From the different tests I found out that I had a number of abnormalities, including an infection in my left kidney, an unusually fatty and poorly perfused liver, a markedly abnormal gallbladder with surrounding fluid, and cyst on my right ovary. This is also when I found out I have a duplex kidney.

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