#NephMadness 2022: Personal Observations

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Vicki Ivancevic @VIvancevic

Vicki Ivancevic received her kidney transplant in April 2013 at the University of Wisconsin. She is a business analyst, dog mom, avid knitter, and reader.

I participated in the very first NephMadness in March of 2013. At that time, I had been on home hemodialysis for about 18 months after starting in-center hemodialysis in January of 2011. Through my own research, I chose to be listed for transplant at the University of Wisconsin even though I was living approximately in the Chicagoland area. During my time with both in-center and home hemodialysis, I found that the kidney-related education that I received at my dialysis centers to be lacking. I was used to details like the ones I had received in written communication as an IT analyst. Twitter was the place that I found that I could find links to informative articles written for someone with an analytical mind and much like the old joke “no one knew I was a dog”…or in this case a patient and not a fellow nephrologist.

Dr. Joel Topf was one of the first nephrologists that I followed, at the beginning mostly because I liked his Twitter handle @kidney_boy. Initially I only followed his tweets but gradually, I tiptoed into responding to some of his Tweets and even joining Twitter discussions on topics related to journal articles. I was amazed that instead of being pushed away like “Hey, we are all doctors here, this isn’t for you”, my viewpoints were welcomed and my questions were answered like I was a peer, not an interloper. I also reminded the participants a few times to consider the person, not just the patient.

When NephMadness was announced that year, I sent a bracket to Dr. Topf as a lark and because he asked me to 😃. As I recall, the topic was related to breakthroughs in treatments of patients with kidney failure. Some of the selections were known to me and others required a Google search to help me understand the basics so I could make my selections. It was an educational experience!

At that time, I never thought that sending in a bracket based on nephrology was something that anyone would take seriously from someone like me. But Dr. Topf did. He encouraged me through his tweets and I ended up learning a couple of things along the way.

The absolute best part of the process was feeling like I was on somewhat of a peer basis with these educated doctors and doctors-in-training. I think that the experience has helped me even to this day as I continue to navigate life with a transplant, advocate for myself, and encourage others to do the same.

Thanks, Dr. Topf, and thanks, NephMadness!

Joel Topf wrote about Vicki’s NephMadness entry contemporaneously in 2013.

– Guest Post written by Vicki Ivancevic @VIvancevic

As with all content on the AJKD Blog, the opinions expressed are those of the author of each post, and are not necessarily shared or endorsed by the AJKD Blog, AJKD, the National Kidney Foundation, Elsevier, or any other entity unless explicitly stated.

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