SHERMAN, TX -- The National Kidney Foundation averaged more than 90,000 new patients with kidney failure per year over the last five years. That's more than the population of Sherman, Denison and Ardmore combined. This is the story of the Paulin family who've been impacted by this disease.
From the outside, the Paulins may look like any other Texoma family. But in reality, they're going through a daily struggle to save the life of one of their own.
When the Paulins made Sherman their home over 20 years ago, it was to chase the American dream. But even with a stable career, a beautiful home, and four great kids, kidney failure has made their lives more of a living nightmare.
"I love all my sons the same way but that's my oldest boy...the first little baby I held in my arms," says father Jose Paulin when asked what he would do if he lost his son to kidney failure. "I mean that would kill me. I don't have any words...that would kill me."
Last summer, the Paulin's oldest son, Jose Julian, was diagnosed with kidney disease after having a seizure. Kidneys are our bodies' way of filtering waste from our blood. And since Jose's kidneys never fully developed, his blood collected enough waste to form a blood clot in his lung.
The Sherman High School graduate is recovering at Texas Health Presbyterian WNJ from surgery that removed the clot last week.
But he won't be leaving anytime soon.
Out of the 5 stages of kidney disease, Jose's now at the final one: End Stage Renal Disease also known as kidney failure where the options to live are limited and more extreme.
"You need to find a suitable donor," said Internist specializing in kidney disorders Dr. Muhammed Choudhry of WNJ. "It needs to be a collaborative effort between the physician and the patient, usually there's going to be several doctors involved in the team including the surgeon, a general medicine doctor,probably an infectious disease specialist. After the transplant, you need to be on certain very expensive medication.'
Now at age 23, the Paulin's oldest son is at college age but instead of paying for his education, Mr. Paulin's working overtime to pay hospital bills.
Mr. Paulin says "We don't know how we're going to handle this."
Of more than 485-thousand Americans with kidney failure like Jose's, only 20% of them are in his age group. Since he doesn't qualify for government aid, the cost for Jose's new kidney, whether from a living or deceased donor, was quoted to the Paulins at $125,000.
Family and friends are fundraising to help cover costs.
Information on upcoming fundraisers will be posted here. In the meantime, you can donate to:
JOSE JULIAN PAULIN MEDICAL BENEFIT TRUST
AMERICAN BANK OF TEXAS
401 E. TAYLOR ST.
SHERMAN, TX 75090
In part 2, we'll take a more in-depth look at Jose's progress and the kidney transplant process needed to help save his life.