This website is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000, which I plan to Ironman this November. At the tender age of 62, I will be the first to attempt such a feat – all to raise awareness about kidney health and funds for the National Kidney Foundation.
Since I just have one kidney, some have lovingly nicknamed me Viejo Loco Chingon, which (roughly translated) means Crazy Old Badass. I guess the challenge would scare away most racers at my age – no matter how many kidneys they have. But I think racing is worthwhile because I want to demonstrate that life goes on however you choose to manage kidney disease. Personally, for me, the answer was nephrectomy. But millions of people with kidney disease manage their conditions through alternate options, such as dialysis, stints or transplant.
What is Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)
According to the National Kidney Foundation defines Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) as the conditions that damage kidneys and decrease their ability to keep a person healthy by doing their jobs. If kidney disease gets worse, wastes can build to high levels in the blood and make the patient feel sick. Complications can develop, like high blood pressure, anemia (low blood count), weak bones, poor nutritional health and nerve damage.
The diagnosis of Chronic Kidney Disease can be scary, since the kidneys serve such critical roles. But there are several available treatments. If you have CKD, ask your doctor what’s right for you. If you aren’t sure whether your kidneys are properly functioning, ask your primary care physician to run routine blood tests, which are readily accessible tools used to diagnose kidney problems.
- Dialysis. A process which artificially removes waste products and extra fluid from blood when kidneys can no longer properly function, dialysis serves to replace kidney function. Dialysis is one of only two types of treatment for complete kidney failure. The other option is transplant. Many people prefer kidney transplant over dialysis because it allows more freedom and better quality of life. But organ donation can be problematic as far as locating an appropriate kidney as well as ensuring the body does not reject the implanted organ.
- Transplant. As described above, a kidney transplant involves surgically placing a healthy kidney from a donor into the CKD patient’s body.
- Stents. A stent is a fine plastic tube inserted into a kidney to allow urine to drain from the kidney into the bladder, bypassing blockages – such as a stone or growth – in the ureter (which connects kidneys to the bladder.)
- Medications. Several prescribed medications can support kidney function and ease associated complications for people who have compromised kidneys, have a single kidney, or may be at risk of CKD. These serve to reduce blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels, treat anemia, relieve swelling, protect bones and minimize waste products in the blood.
- Surgery. The option I chose, this plan includes the removal of one kidney without a replacement. Although many people can live healthy, full lives with a single kidney, it’s important that we maintain a healthy diet and stay active, while protecting ourselves from injury.
Join me in my effort to raise kidney health awareness and support the various treatments efforts to fight kidney disease.
About the Baja 1000
Promoted by SCORE International Off-Road Racing, the 50th anniversary of the Baja 1000 will feature hundreds of off-road racing legends. This year’s event will be held from November 14-18, 2017 in Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The first official race started in Tijuana, Baja California, on October 31, 1967, and was named the NORRA Mexican 1000 Rally. The race allows various types of riders to compete in different vehicle classes, from small and large bore motorcycles, stock Volkswagens, production vehicles, buggies, trucks, and custom fabricated race vehicles. The course has remained relatively the same over the years, alternating featuring a point-to-point race from Ensenada to La Paz, or a loop starting and finishing in Ensenada.
About Viejo Loco Chingon (AKA Dennis Rogers)
For more than 48 years – the majority my life – my kidney health was declining and I didn’t know it. In hindsight, I guess I should have suspected the root cause, since periodic intense pain in my lower right side troubled me since at least the age of 10. Long story short, an ultrasound revealed that I had a necrotic kidney, which USC Medical Center surgeons removed on July 17, 2013.