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Parker aspires to help others going through dialysis

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Senior Micheal Parker

Senior Micheal Parker

IMAGE / Andrew Flynn

IMAGE / Andrew Flynn

Senior Micheal Parker

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When Senior Michael Parker was diagnosed with IgA neuropathy, also known more commonly as Berger’s disease, at the age of 16, he didn’t know what was going to happen to him.

“I only had about 7 percent kidney function when I went to Detroit’s Children’s Hospital,” Parker said. “They put me on dialysis right away.”

Michael eventually recovered enough to be sent home.

However, this wasn’t the first time life challenged Parker.

Parker was born in Flint on May 26, 1998. He spent his childhood in a four-bedroom house with six other people. His family, like many Flint residents, sometimes struggled to make ends meet.

“Since there was seven of us in my house, we didn’t have much money,” Parker said. “I also had to share a bedroom with someone for most of my youth.”

Parker came to Kearsley from Richfield Public School Academy in sixth grade. When he went  to the high school on his first day, he was overwhelmed like many incoming freshmen.

While they (the doctors) were waiting for the blood test to come back, they sent me home. When the results came in, they advised my parents to take me to Detroit Children’s Hospital right away.”

— Michael Parker, senior

“I was surprised by how big the school was and how many rooms there were, to be honest,” Parker said.

However, things would turn for Parker when one day he started getting sick.

“I started showing flu-like symptoms at first,” Parker said. “I went to the doctor and they did a bunch of blood tests and found a lot of protein in my urine. While they (the doctors) were waiting for the blood test to come back, they sent me home. When the results came in, they advised my parents to take me to Detroit Children’s Hospital right away.”

Parker spent weeks at the hospital and was forced to miss a lot of school.

“After a few weeks, the doctors diagnosed me with a kidney disease called Berger’s disease.”

Berger’s disease occurs when an antibody called immunoglobulin A lodges in the kidneys. This results in local inflammation that, over time, may hamper the kidney’s ability to filter wastes from someone’s blood.

Parker had to start — and continues — to undergo dialysis every week to filter his blood.

Dialysis is a treatment to help filter the blood when the kidneys can no longer do so.

“The doctors stick needles into a vein in my arm to pull blood out and through a huge filter,” Parker said. “The filter pumps the clean blood back into my body. It doesn’t hurt much, but it’s boring having to sit in a chair for three hours.”

Parker has been waiting to be put on a transplant waiting list but suffered a seizure months ago.

“If I have a seizure, I have to wait another six months before they schedule an appointment for me.”

But through it all, Parker has received support from his family and friends.

“Honestly, people treat me the same and I’m thankful for that,” Parker said. “Nobody treats me like I have a disease or anything.”

When me and my ex-girlfriend broke up, he (Michael Parker) was there for me. He’s always been a good friend, and he’ll stay that way. ”

— Carson Robinson, senior

Senior Carson Robinson remarked on how he and Parker have always been around to give support to each other.

“He’s a really great friend,” Robinson said. “When me and my ex-girlfriend broke up, he was there for me. He’s always been a good friend, and he’ll stay that way. It sucks that he’s going through all of this trouble with his kidneys because he’s a good person. If I had the opportunity to change it all, I’d swap places with him so he didn’t have to suffer in his current situation.”

Parker noted that after he graduates, he wants to go into a profession helping others going through dialysis.

“I intend on going to college to become a dialysis technician because I know what people on dialysis go through,” Parker said. “I want to help other people on dialysis and make them feel better, to show them that things will get better for them.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Parker aspires to help others going through dialysis”

  1. Aunt Logan Flore on April 14th, 2017 1:51 pm

    I love you Michael and I’m so proud of the MAN you’ve become! Xoxo Shot for the stars!!

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Parker aspires to help others going through dialysis