NephCure Champion Spotlight: Anthony Pisa

Anthony Pisa was officially diagnosed with IgA nephropathy (IgAN) at 51 years old through a kidney biopsy completed in August 2019. His condition presented itself during a high blood pressure episode which was abnormally related to his medical history.

Anthony was part of an HMO program (a certain type of health insurance plan) for years and decided to leave due to the lack of attention to his health. He chose a PPO (preferred provider organization), and when he visited his new primary care physician about his blood pressure, his primary doctor recommended seeing a nephrologist based on Anthony’s and his family’s medical history. This was the first time he was ever recommended to see a kidney specialist in his life, even though he suffered from bouts of gout (no family history) and inconsistent blood labs in his early forties.

Anthony’s father dealt with kidney-related issues and received a transplant at 52 years old. This history was shared with all preceding hospitals and primary care physicians, and at no time throughout this journey, was there a deep dive into finding out if there were any hereditary concerns.

The nephrologist quickly reviewed historical labs and ordered new ones. He found that there had been a long slow trend of protein spillage. He quickly asked Anthony to get a biopsy so they could identify exactly what was going on.

Once diagnosed, the option given was diet, steroids, or potentially, a clinical trial. Steroids did not seem like a good option, so the focus was on diet and trying to get into a trial. Unfortunately, this all happened during the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, and Anthony had to wait to travel to from Seattle, WA to California to visit Stanford Hospital, where the trial was based. Four months passed, and it was decided to take the risk to attempt to get into the trial. Unfortunately, Anthony’s eGFR result was 1 point under the trial’s cutoff at 30, this was very disappointing. So therefore, he went back to Seattle to discuss other potential options, which did not produce viable results.

In July 2021, Anthony’s eGFR levels fell to 6, thus, he decided to conduct peritoneal dialysis. During this time, many of his family members were going through the process of being screened as kidney donors. In October 2021, he was truly fortunate to find a match in his cousin and received a kidney transplant in November 2021.

As of January 2023, Anthony is doing well and continues to focus on his personal health. He enjoys supporting and helping others as well. He is glad NephCure has been available to him and his family. NephCure’s resources have been extremely helpful in supporting decisions along Anthony’s journey.

To help continue to raise awareness about rare kidney disease, share your story with NephCure here.

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