By: Isha “Ice” Cole
Kidney disease is a health issue that affects many people around the world. In the United States alone, more than 10% of the population age 20 or older has chronic kidney disease (CKD). Those suffering from CKD are 16 to 40 times more likely to die than to reach End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD), otherwise known as kidney failure.
Multifaceted entertainer David RUSH defied those odds, and now has a new lease on life. Four years ago, RUSH, born David Petterson, was told by his doctors that he was suffering from Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) and only had one year to live. Now 28, the New Jersey native proved them wrong.
RUSH is currently signed to international Hip Hop star Pitbull’s Mr. 305 imprint, and is the mastermind behind his own 2009 hit remix “Shooting Star” featuring Pitbull, Kevin Rudolf and LMFAO, as well as Pitbull’s popular hit “Go Girl.” Despite suffering from kidney failure and doing dialysis for several hours each week, RUSH joined Pitbull’s 2009 nationwide Rebelution tour, and gained his own fanbase along the way.
Fortunately for RUSH, his brother Dwaine a.k.a. “Monsta” was a perfect kidney match, and the date was set for the transplant surgery. November 9, 2010 is now what Rush calls his “second birthday.”
As David RUSH prepared to hit the stage for his first post-surgery concert in Atlantic City, the young songwriter/lyricist sat with UrbLife.com to discuss living with kidney disease, his new RUSH[ED] webseries chronicling life before and after his surgery, and how love kept him going!
Talk to us about this disease that you were diagnosed with years ago. What went wrong with your kidneys?
David Rush: I had Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis; it’s a kidney disease that was not allowing me to get the waste out of my system that I put in everyday with food.
What led to this diagnosis? Did you have symptoms?
DR: The diagnosis came after a routine check up. My blood pressure was high, and then my blood work came back abnormal.
What was a typical day like while you were dealing with this kidney disease?
DR: I would get up around seven in the morning, hook up the dialysis machine, prime it, hook up and sit on the machine for four and half hours. Then I would clean up and start my day. So, it would talk like five and a half hours in total.
How is your name David RUSH tied to your disease?
DR: David being my real name and the “Rush” comes from the blood running through my arm when I use to do dialysis. You can literally feel the rush of the blood in my arm!
What were the requirements that you had to meet before you were added to the kidney waiting list?
DR: Well, I was overweight, and that was the main problem. I was 400 pounds, so I had to lose at least 100 pounds to be eligible for a transplant. I was on the list, but just inactive.
Talk about your kidney donor, your brother. Did you ask him to donate or did he volunteer?
DR: He volunteered, no question. He said that it was going to be him no matter what. He willed it to happen. It’s like he knew! [laughs]
Did you have any other potential donors? Was anyone else screened?
DR: No, I didn’t, but I did get a call one day before my wedding for a kidney. The donor just was in a car accident and died, but he had diabetes and was 53-years-old. So I turned it down, but I was lucky to have made that decision, because it turned out that it was a bad kidney.
What has this done for your relationship between you and your brother?
DR: Oh man! It brought us closer then we already were. We‘ve always been tight, but now it’s on a whole different level. I’ am my brother’s keeper and he is mine! Down for life!
Heading into a big surgery such as a kidney transplant, what were the emotions you were going through?
DR: I was more scared for his safety, because I was use to being sick, I just didn’t want anything to happen to him. I was more nervous for him then myself, and I wanted things to go smooth.
As you lay on the operating table, what was the last thing you remember thinking about?
DR: The last thing I thought about was my family, and said to myself “God it’s on you, bring me through this like you always do.”
What was going through your mind when you first woke up after the surgery?
DR: The first thing I thought about and said was “Thank you Jesus!’ Then, “Where’s my brother and is he ok?! Then I said, “Where is my wife, my mother, and my little sister?”
How has your recovery been after the surgery? What type of treatment did you have?
DR: It’s been up and down, after three weeks of pain, it was not as bad. I was on a lot of pills and steroids that made me eat so much, and I couldn’t work out. I was in isolation for 90 days, so I gained about 20 pounds, but hey, I was living dialysis free so I wasn’t complaining!
Last July you married your long-time girlfriend. How much of a role did your wife play while you’ve been going through this entire ordeal from beginning to end?
DR: Man, my wife has been here all in my life. She actually was the one that found my disease when she did my blood work at her job. She has been by my side through this all. She even took off work for weeks during my recovery to be there for me, and went to all my clinic visits still to this day! I love her.
So now that you’re fully recovered, you can concentrate on your music career, so what’s up next for you on the music front?
DR: What’s not up next! I dropped a mixtape while in recovery, I’m featured on a big record with Frankie J called “Dream Girl,” and another record with a new artist by the name of Pure called “Fell In Love.” I also dropped my own single “Party Like We Do,” plus I have the RUSH[ED] soundtrack to go with the webseries. So it’s ball game, I’m going harder then ever!
Talk a little about the RUSH[ED] project.
DR: Rush[ED] produced by ZM Wright. All I can say is, this is truly my life between-the-lines! I’d rather let the people watch this and get to make out of it what they want! Its powerful television!
How do you look at life today?
DR: Like I always did. Everyday I’m going to just live hard! RUSHIA!
RUSH[ED] webseries trailer
RUSH[ED] webseries, Episode 1
CLICK HERE to read MyCentralJersey.com’s story on David RUSH’s surgery, and see more photos. Watch their video report below.