Carol Persohn needs a kidney transplant.
The 69-year-old Dubois resident only recently began talking about her plight publicly. She reluctantly put a Facebook post up about her medical need this spring in hopes that someone may be moved to help. “I really struggled going public,” she explained. “I dreaded putting it on Facebook, but I know to get one, I’m going to have to do this.”
Carol is running out of time. The most recent tests of her kidney function indicate she is on the verge of needing to go on dialysis.
It was by fluke chance she found out about her deteriorating kidney function. Carol suffers from a rare condition called Diabetes Insipidus. It causes her to be easily dehydrated and suffer from electrolyte imbalances.
The condition was discovered after she began picking at her food when she was two years old. All she wanted was to drink milk or water. Her doctor sent her to Riley Children’s Hospital for testing when she was five. She ended up staying at the hospital for 15 days as they attempted to ascertain what was wrong with Carol. Her parents couldn’t stay with her; they drove up from Dubois weekly to visit.
She still remembers the taste of the instant mash potatoes and jello they served up.
After testing, they determined she had Diabetes Insipidis and she began receiving daily injections to help regulate the condition. If they hadn’t found it, she likely would have died. “Another term for it is water diabetes,” Carol said. “It is very rare and at the time there were very few cases of it.”
She didn’t tell anyone about it. When she announced her struggle with the disease and her need for a kidney, classmates and friends she’s had for years were surprised to learn about the diabetes.
“It was a different time,” Carol said about growing up with it. “I had a great childhood. But, I just wanted to be normal.”
She took the injections daily until she was a junior in high school and began to regulate the diabetes on her own. “I am always thirsty,” Carol explained. “I drink a lot of water and of course, that means you go to the restroom a lot <both are symptoms of Diabetes Insipidus>.”
Anyone that has known Carol for any length of time has likely noticed she always has a water bottle nearby. Even before refillable bottles became normal, she always had one filled with water.
Carol loves to work. She and her husband, Duane, are always busy. He still operates the family appraisal business and she is usually on the go making deliveries for Uebehlor & Sons. They also maintain their home in Dubois and on Mondays, they drive up to Indianapolis to babysit their grandchild while Duane works remotely.
She has always loved working and improving herself. She began a long career with Kimball International at their piano plant in French Lick. From there she found a knack for training and worked her way into human resources. When she was 50, she completed a bachelor’s degree in human resource management through St. Mary of the Woods while helping her husband build his business, working at Kimball International as a trainer and raising their two boys, Abraham and Nathaniel.
Carol even served on the Northeast Dubois School Board in the early 2000s.
Throughout her career and life, Carol has continued to monitor and control her disease privately while dealing with other issues potentially connected to it. Regular checkups have always been part of the process and that is how she found out about the looming kidney failure.
In 2018, She was on a regular visit with her endocrinologist — diabetes and thyroid diseases are closely linked and Carol has thyroid issues — and her doctor happened to order a kidney screening.
“She is an internal specialist and she knows about my Diabetes Insipidus,” Carol explained. “She ran the lab and told me she didn’t like my kidney counts.”
She recommended Carol see a nephrologist. “He had me take all these labs — it was like 18 to 20 lab tests,” she said.
When they convened, his message was simple. Her kidneys were failing and eventually, she would need a transplant.
Carol decided to take a trip to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota for a second opinion, which they confirmed her kidneys were very scarred and would require a transplant in the near future.
She teamed up with the University of Kentucky Kidney Transplant Center to find a donor. Family and friends have come forward to help and several have gone through the donor screening process, but no one has been approved to donate a kidney.
“My youngest son was going to be the one; he was a match,” Carol said.
But, he didn’t pass the screening.
“They are very picky about who they allow to donate,” Carol said. “They won’t jeopardize anyone for me. I wouldn’t want them to.”
After three years of attempting to find someone on her own, her waining kidney function is forcing her to go public to see if anyone is moved to consider donating.
For those interested in helping, whether a friend or kind-hearted stranger, can contact her at 812-827-4210, or Duane Persohn at 812-309-8692.
An individual with healthy kidneys can do just as well with only one kidney. The process will be completely covered by the Persohn’s insurance.
If you want to remain anonymous, you can also contact Carol’s donor coordinator, Todd Maynard at 859-323-2467 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Give Todd Carol’s name as the person to whom you would like to donate a kidney. If you go through the process but don’t end up matching with Carol, your kidney could be used by another person needing a transplant through the “paired exchange” program.
Working with Todd also enables you to remain anonymous during the process.
However, whether or not you help Carol directly, this program can help someone needing a kidney. The Donor Shield program also helps with lost wages and travel reimbursement for those on the “paired exchange” program.
Carol is a faith-filled person. She has given the process up to God. It will be easier on her physically to go through the transplant process before she has to go on dialysis, but if it doesn’t work out, she’s going to keep moving forward with her life.
“I never really had any fear or gotten upset about the transplant,” she said. “I trust God,”
She has faith in whatever happens in her future. She simply wants her request to be out there in case someone feels compelled to help her or another kidney recipient through their generous donation.
Prayers Carol finds a compatible donor. She’s a wonderful person
I truly wish that I could help this woman. But I only have one kidney due to kidney cancer in 2010. I have been third stage kidney on my kidney since they removed my right one. Had a tennis ball size tumor, center of the kidney, so I lost my right one. Carol has the strength of our lord in her. I can feel her faith. So Carol you have prayers from me, I truly hope that you are saved by getting a kidney donated. There are reasons for everything that happens in the world. Some good and unfortunate some bad. I truly believe in miracles, and I hope and pray one comes your way. I read your story and it touched my soul. Be strong Carol and continue with your faith, be strong.
Saying Prayers Carol finds a compatible donor very soon!
Wow, I also suffer from diabetes insipidus, and was disqualified from donating a kidney to my spouse due to this condition. Unfortunately, I’ve have been diagnosed with kidney disease recently as well now, but thankfully I’m only in stage 3.
I pray you get your kidney Carol, as I know the toll dialysis takes on someone, both mentally and physically. My husband’s been in it for many years now. Hang in there!
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