My name is Mary Beaucage. I’m from Nipissing First Nation, outside of North Bay Ontario. I work in retail management, opening stores, recruiting, hiring and training, analyzing and forecasting sales.
I am a type 2 diabetic. As a result, my kidneys were affected. Diagnosed with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) in June 2013, I started dialysis immediately, 4 hours-3x/week for 2 years.
I had several severe infections including a severe staph infection which hospitalized me for 3 weeks and a blood infection while visiting my sister in Calgary. Upon returning from a hospital stay while I was there, I had a PICC line and an 8 week regimen of IV antibiotics.
I find I had to do a lot of my own research to be my best advocate. I started my journey at stage 5, I wasn’t prepared beforehand. I took an active role in my care, and learned what I could about the machine I dialyzed on, as well as my diet and fluid restriction. I worked hard to maintain some exercise regimen, mainly walking when I had some energetic days. I tried to continue working as I started dialysis, but that lasted less than 3 weeks, when I had my staph infection. It was then I realized I wasn’t wonder woman, and something had to give.
My cousin, Janice Pulak, from Thompson MB, went through testing to see if we were a match. Thankfully, after a year everything worked out, and I had my living donor kidney transplant on March 24th, 2015.
I am passionate about educating and advocating, and as I go through my healing journey, I’m finding strength in talking to others, especially in the aboriginal and northern communities. I became involved with Can-SOLVE CKD by referral, based on my involvement in the living donor initiative. Being part of research level and feedback workshops has been very meaningful to me.
These have been key motivating factors for becoming involved with Can-SOLVE CKD.