As Mary Bosse recently finished a treatment, the Baldwinite sat in a chair in the South Nassau Communities Hospital Dialysis Center, keeping pressure on her arm.
Almost two years ago, her doctor told her that her kidneys were failing and that she had to hurry to the hospital.
At the time, she had been feeling ill, with a slight headache and stomach ache, seemingly nothing too worrisome. She wasn’t going to allow that to halt “my daily routine of meeting clients, managing bills, running errands, attending my daughter’s basketball games and my son’s track meets,” Bosse said.
The discomfort that she was feeling, however, was a sign of her much more serious condition.
Now she no longer works as a real estate agent, as she focuses on finding a kidney donor. “And finding one is not an easy journey at all,” she said.
The 45-year-old Brooklyn native sits for a four-hour dialysis appointment three times a week, while keeping her constant headaches, fatigue and loss of appetite in check. On Sept. 11, in the dialysis center, she recalled the beginning of her story. After finally seeing a doctor for what she thought was a bad stomach virus in the fall of 2017, Bosse was told that her blood pressure was dangerously high and that she needed to slow down.
“The doctor, being very concerned about my apparent condition, made some very stern suggestions,” she said. “I either had to take medication prescribed by him or admit myself into the hospital immediately. I, of course, went an easy route and took the medication. Obviously, this keeps me at my regular routine, and my kids don’t lose a step without mommy.”
Then her doctor phoned her a few days later to review her blood work results. She will not forget that call, she said. She was told her that her body was shutting down and that she might not survive the next few days if she didn’t head to the hospital immediately.
“I could only freeze up, of course, scared out of my mind,” Bosse said, but she was admitted to the hospital within the hour. She went through a series of tests, and, eventually, a kidney biopsy, and the results confirmed what her doctor feared — she suffered from Stage 4 kidney failure and needed emergency dialysis or her life would be cut short.
“I saw it in her face — in all the 30 years that I’ve known her, I’ve never seen her like this,” said Maureen Beauplan, Bosse’s best friend, recalling the night she received the call that Bosse was in the hospital. “Her eyes were crayon yellow, and her face was sunken in. They were telling us to make arrangements that night. Miraculously, she pulled through, and now we’re looking for the kidney.”
Despite Bosse’s dialysis treatments, Beauplan said, she still maintains her “super mom” lifestyle. “She has her son in different tutoring sessions, different after-school programs, and her daughter is a basketball star, so she takes her daughter to all these tournaments in between dialysis, in between throwing up or having headaches or not feeling well,” Beauplan said, adding that Bosse doesn’t allow two failing kidneys to stop her from doing what she needs to do.
“I would say when she started [dialysis], it was like being hit by a train, because she didn’t know her kidneys were failing . . . so mentally she wasn’t prepared for this,” Sharon Guskin, Bosse’s social worker at South Nassau, said. “For most patients, their kidneys fail within a slow period of time, so they’re able to prepare themselves emotionally [for] having to start dialysis.”
Guskin said she works with Bosse to accommodate her schedule as much as possible because she cares for her two children, Jayden and Katelyn Simpson, who are 15 and 14, in between treatments.
“Every time I feel like I can’t get through the day, I remember what she’s going through,” Beauplan said, “and I push my behind to make sure I do what I got to do, because she’s my inspiration.”
Bosse has faced a number of stressors that have contributed to her high blood pressure over the years. Both of her parents died suddenly and unexpectedly, which took a toll on her and her family. She said her father would have given her a kidney if he were still alive.
“It just seemed like there was a dark cloud over my head,” Bosse said.
“Outside forces are trying to make things difficult, but she’s going through it, and she keeps a smile on her face,” Beauplan said. “It’s scary, but she has never looked afraid.”
And her boyfriend, Marc Duvert, helps care for her kids, Bosse said through tears.
Beauplan said she drives Bosse to hospitals in the region to make sure she is registered for a potential donor. She shares updates about her best friend’s journey on a Facebook page called I Am My Sister’s Keeper.
Bosse said she is blood type O, but that hospitals would find a match to swap with if a potential donor were another blood type and would like to donate. She can provide contact with experts who can answer questions about the process and recovery time. All medical costs would be covered by her insurance. Her email address is MaryGBosse@gmail.com.
“My hope,” Bosse said, “is to find a match to help extend my life.”