Interview with Cristian Fuentes Torres, Dialysis Patient


Hello, my name is Cristian Fuentes Torres and I am currently studying Criminal Justice at Universidad Interamericana in Guayama. A year ago I was diagnosed with kidney failure, and I have been receiving dialysis treatment for a year now. I was diagnosed with kidney failure because I had been vomiting and when I went to the hospital my hemoglobin was very low, and my blood pressure was too high. So they told me they had to perform emergency surgery on me to put a catheter in and get blood transfusions.

I’m 22 years old. In less than one year I have already been transfused about 13 pints of blood. At first, I needed someone to pick me up, I would always ask my mother to pick me up, because I would come out feeling very dizzy and exhausted. My mother felt like her world was falling apart when she found out that I was ill and would have to go three times a week to get treatment.

It was a very difficult process, because she has always been a single mom, and in addition to all the struggles she has gone through for us, now she would also have to deal with my illness, and help me, and accompany me, which is something she has always done.

It is very difficult to know that you may spend much of your life connected to that machine… You know? I don’t think that is truly living. That’s why, I’m looking for a way to receive a kidney transplant, I’ve been on a waiting list for a kidney transplant here in Puerto Rico and in Texas for about a year now, and until now I have not received an answer. My father was tested to see if he was a candidate but it didn’t work out due to the blood transfusions I had previously received, my body developed an antibody against him, so I would need to find another person, another candidate.

I know about cases of dialysis patients, at least at the center where I receive my treatment, where there are elderly patients who have been there for about twenty years or so, thirty years or so, and they have gone blind already because they also suffer from diabetes, many of them are already in a wheelchair, and all of this has a lot of complications, so this has affected me greatly, because now I don’t have a social life, so to speak. I can’t drink, I can’t eat like before, I have a very strict diet to follow and I basically can’t eat anything.

I have to limit the amount of liquids I drink because otherwise I begin to swell up. Many times I’ve even had problems attending university, other days I’ve ended up hospitalized due to the accumulation of liquids in my lungs, my legs, and my swollen hands.

All the work you have been carrying out for people in need has really caught my attention. That process of people donating blood, to me that is truly a gift, and for you to be able to deliver this message and obtain a large amount for the people who need it the most, that would be ideal.

I’d like to encourage young people to donate blood too, because this illness is not something that only affects the elderly, it also happens to many young people, like myself, I’m 22 years old and I’m a renal patient who is currently undergoing dialysis, and I’m constantly in need of blood donations. While in the past, I used to donate blood when I was well, when I was healthy, I was a blood donor, and now others are donating blood for me.