Jewell Newsome, known by most as Angel is a gorgeous, 39 year old woman who never gives up. Angel attended Edgewater High school and then went on to further her studies at ITT Tech. After graduating with her Associates Degree in Engineering she went to work for Super Vision International (now Nexxus Lighting) on their production line making fiber optic lighting with aspiration of getting her bachelor’s in engineering in the coming years. It was the birth of her beautiful baby girl Aliyah that initially delayed her continued education. Aliyah was born prematurely and had fragile health for the first 5 years of her life. Angel devoted all of her time to caring for her daughter and working to support her. As Aliyah’s fifth year began, she seemed to strengthen and her visits to the hospital with her was no longer necessary. Unfortunately it was right around this time that Angel was blindsided by an unexpected health concern. Angel was diagnosed with IgA Nephropathy in October of 2000, She was only 28 years old and had been healthy all of her life. Things were happening so quickly. Her condition was detected during a regular annual physical check up. Angel discussed with her doctor how increasingly tired she was and that she wanted to confirm that it was just lack of sleep from having a then 5 year old that was full of energy. The doctor did routine test and a blood test as most do for a regular physical. During this visit her blood pressure registered high which had not happened before. The doctor attributed it to stress and requested a follow up appointment be set for the results. The morning of the follow up appointment Angel called to cancel becuase she was scheduled to speak at a conference for her lighting agents. It was during this call that a concern ignited. The nurse taking the call was adamant that Angel not cancel. She told her that is was necessary for her to come in regardless of the time. Angel said she was racking her brain, just trying to figure out what it is they needed to tell her so urgently that it could not be said over the phone. Arriving at the doctors office, she was called back immediately. The doctor again checked her blood pressure which was higher than before. He explained that the blood work indicated a reduction in her kidney function and that he had already arranged for her to be admitted to the hospital. For Angel, things got a little blurry for a moment, she never imaged anything could be seriously wrong. Fighting back the tears, she wrote out a check for the twenty dollar co payment and handed it to the front nurse. She gave it back to Angel and told her there was no payment required for this visit, she said that is when she knew she could be dying, a doctors office refusing payment. This is not good. She called her mother and drove to the hospital just 10 minutes up the road. Upon arriving, a Nephrologist (kidney specialist) and her mother were already there waiting on her.. All she could do was pray for the strength to face whatever would clearly be a life changing experience. Angel’s room was ready and waiting, the nurses got her situated and then the doctor came in to explain what had been determined from the initial testing and to how they were planning to proceed. He explained that she was going to be placed on an initial high steroid treatment to hopefully slow the declining function of her kidneys, the rest was a blur for her. It was clear that they didn’t have all the answers. The doctors questioned if it was Lupus, Grave’s Disease, etc… they had already ruled out Diabetes. Soon enough they gave her the diagnosis of Iga Nephropathy. IgA nephropathy is a kidney disorder that occurs when IgA-a protein settles in the kidneys. After many years, the IgA deposits may cause the kidneys to leak blood and sometimes protein in the urine. Scientists do not know what causes IgA deposits to form in the kidneys. IgA nephropathy may run in families or be related to respiratory infections. No consistent trigger for the disease has been found. No one else in her family has had any form of kidney failure, well not that anyone knows. When Angel was diagnosed she was at stage 4. Her kidney function was at 25 percent and they were recommending dialysis immediately. She had to change her diet and increase the amount of water she was consuming. Now despite Angel’s admittedly poor eating habits she regularly drank lots of water and worked out often. Angel didn’t know what to think or how to feel. She had dealt with so much already. She was not giving up and she was not a quitter but by no means was she ready for what life had in store for her.
Angel was able to prolong being placed on dialysis for about 4 years but it was inevitable. The doctor’s put her on peritoneal dialysis with which she stayed on for approximately just over 2 years. Unlike in-center hemodialysis, you do not need to travel to a dialysis center for treatment when on peritoneal dialysis. So Angel was trained at a dialysis center and was able to do treatments at home but being attached to a machine for 8-10 hours at night being unable to handle emergencies was very frustrating. As a single mom with an 8 year old she wanted to be able to move freely and play in the evenings with her daughter like most mothers. But as disheartening as it was for Angel she didn’t let it keep her down. She kept her faith. She believed that a kidney transplant was not that far away. She was right. Feb 2005, Angel received that call saying she needed to get to the hospital because someone unfortunately passed but had been an organ donor and would be a great fit for her. The doctor performed the transplant and Angel spent months recovering. Angel struggled a bit after the surgery. Her doctors said openly that the kidney “did not take that well”. Once again Angel turned to her faith and was determined to get through and see her daughter grow up. Most kidney transplant patients are able to live with with their new kidneys for 10 years. Angel and her family are optimistic that she would be able to live comfortably on this new kidney for the next 10 years. Currently it’s only been 6 years but sadly Angel already needs a new kidney. She is presently is suffering from some other health complications and was laid off from her job in September. Despite her financial situation and current health concern she has been put on the transplant list once again. Her doctors are hoping for a living donor this time though. They are hoping that a living donor ‘s kidney will “take” better that the last kidney. Angel and her family believe that there is someone out there that can be a match and will donate a kidney to her. When I asked Angel what she wanted the public to do if anything, this is what she said:
1-Become an organ donor. You may not be a match for Angel but you can save a life.
2-Visit your doctor regularly. Any noticeable change in your body should be addressed with your doctor just in case.
Heyfla asks that you reach out to Angel with a donation, words of inspiration or with anything that you believe can make a difference. Email Angel Newsome at email@example.com .
We encourage you to: GET TESTED. GET INFORMED. GET INVOLVED.