In December 2010, one phone message changed everything for Greg Baldauf. After thirty-five years of living with polycystic kidney disease (PKD), he learned that his kidneys were in renal failure and he would need a transplant to survive. My New Kidney & Me tells his story: the long search for a donor, the anxious lead-up to transplant surgery, the sometimes-disorienting recovery process, and the gratitude and joy that came after. Baldauf’s words will be illuminating for anyone going through this situation, describing the physical, psychological, and emotional struggles that can come when facing a failure of the body. My New Kidney & Me brings the mysteries of transplant surgery out of the dark and hope into the light.
Greg Baldauf was born in Chicago and lived there for most of his life, eventually raising a family with his wife, Audrey, in Evanston, a northern suburb. After completing an undergraduate degree at Northwestern University, he briefly taught high school English in downstate Marion, Illinois. Returning to Chicago, Greg did graduate work in counseling at Loyola University. While completing a PhD in counseling psychology, he was hired and eventually became a professor of psychology and student development at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois. In his thirty-one years at Oakton, Greg studied and taught wellness, men’s psychology, topics in human services, and substance-abuse counseling. He also explored aspects of multicultural psychology and spirituality through the study of Incan shamanism and working with Andean medicine people in Peru. Greg is the father of three wonderful children who play an essential role in his story. He’s now humbled and fortunate to have three amazing grandchildren: Cybele, Stella, and Graham. Now retired, Greg and Audrey live in Venice, Florida.
"Greg Baldauf weaves a story that only a patient can tell, describing the roller coaster ride he took from his diagnosis through to the post-transplant phase. His emotional ride will at once make you laugh and cry. I was privileged to be a small part of this story. A mandatory read for anyone who has a loved one experiencing kidney disease." - Dr. Yolanda Becker, transplant surgeon, University of Chicago Medicine
"Greg Baldauf's well-written, informative, and heartwarming book is a needed resource. It makes my heart sing (or better: it makes my lone remaining kidney sing). He writes from the invaluable perspective of a PKD patient, giving a vivid account of what someone seeking a preemptive transplant goes through. It's a challenge to write about disease without being morbid, depressing, and reciting dark facts. Baldauf succeeds in teaching while making you smile." - Suzanne F. Ruff, author of The Reluctant Donor
"I thoroughly enjoyed Greg's well-written and poignant account of his transplant experience. I think the feelings of helplessness he experienced and the emotional ups and downs will resonate with any patients who've gone through the process. This is an invaluable resource for patients, families, healthcare workers, and anyone who has been touched by kidney disease." - Dr. Kevin Nash, nephrologist, NorthShore University HealthSystem