Nebraska City man has been battling kidney disease since 2016, needs transplant
In this time of Christmas, thoughts turn to the value of giving and the appreciation of receiving.
No one understands those kinds of thoughts better than Nebraska City’s Zac Denton.
It has been two years since Denton received medical news that would change his life and underscore the importance of giving and receiving.
What began as an investigation of headache symptoms became the discovery of kidney disease—advanced kidney disease.
Denton was told that there was no way of knowing for sure how he had gotten the disease and that it had progressed to the point where he had just two options for treatment.
Those options were dialysis or transplant.
There is no cure.
With the benefit of hindsight, Denton looks back and remembers times where he didn’t feel well and self medicated.
“I am a typical guy,” Denton said. “Going to the doctor is the last place I want to go.”
Denton’s work ethic and his involvement in the food service industry made him feel like sick calls were not an option. He was needed at work. He would tell himself it wasn’t that bad, take an over-the-counter remedy, and power on.
Maybe that wasn’t a good idea.
Denton advises people to give themselves the gift of that doctor visit. If you don’t feel well and you don’t know why, it’s time to find out.
Rather than focus on the past, what might have been, Denton is working hopefully toward the future.
He told his doctors from the outset that he wanted to remain a full time employee for Sapp Brothers of Percival and, although he gets drained at times, he has been able to live up to that promise.
That’s been do to the generosity of those around him—his wife and family and his co-workers.
Hilda, Zac’s wife since 2012, has been a God-send. She supports him in every way possible.
“My wife has been awesome. She is about as great a person as you could ask for,” Denton said. “She’s been there for me.
“She is the best cook in the world. I’ve had a lot of different restrictions on what I can and can not eat. She’s able to make anything taste good.”
In addition to the food, Hilda and Zac’s mom are caregivers, which enables Zac to be placed on the kidney transplant list.
And now, he waits.
The transplant list is a long one and Denton said he hopes that a kidney can be located soon—be it from a family member or from an unrelated donor.
Up until this week, Denton was able to get by without dialysis. But with his kidney function now at five percent, that treatment is coming into play.
The prognosis from here is to begin dialysis and hope that it doesn’t last long.
He’s always at the ready in case a kidney should become available. If a donor should pass and have a kidney that’s a match for Zac, he could have a very small window, precious minutes, to decide for the donation and make the journey to Omaha for transplant.
There is the option of a live donor transplant as well.
Zac said he hopes that people will consider being a donor.
It’s as easy as checking boxes when getting a driver’s license—just check the organ and tissue donation box. If something where to happen to you, that designation could be a chance at life for someone like Denton. There’s a chance you might be a match for Denton now.
Since it is unnecessary to have two kidneys, a healthy person could donate a kidney and still lead a full life.
To find out more and fill out a form, visit secure.nebraskamed.com/livingdonor
Meanwhile, Denton will continue to work and to enjoy his family.
He and Hilda have a six-year old son, William, who goes by Junior.
They have a Christmas to celebrate together and Denton said he expects to feel better for Christmas once he gets going with dialysis.
Sometimes living through this kidney issue can be pretty overwhelming. He would like to feel better.
He would like to be able to wrestle with his son, which is just not something he’s physically capable of right now.
Having a family pet isn’t an option either, due to the chance of infection, and he knows that a lot of kids get immense joy from a dog or cat.
Rather than focus on the negative, Denton chooses the positive. He has the present of presence to give to his family as he waits for the greatest present of all—the gift of life from a potential donor.