IU Health University Hospital

Rare autoimmune disease caused her kidneys to fail

Patient Story

Cindy Mundy is pulling out all the stops – including vehicle window stickers. She needs a new kidney.

When she felt healthy, Cindy Mundy loved training dogs and riding her bicycle. But these days she counts on her two miniature collies to provide comfort as she awaits a kidney transplant.

Diagnosed in 1991 with a rare autoimmune disease, Mundy became a patient at IU Health last year when her kidneys began to fail. Named Granulomatosis with polyangiitis or Wegener’s Disease, the diagnosis causes inflammation of the blood vessels that can cause damage to walls of the arteries and veins. The damage interferes with normal blood flow to tissues and can injure or destroy organs.

Many patients show symptoms similar to a cold or sinus infection such as nasal congestion, fever, weakness and joint pain. Mundy was initially hospitalized closer to her Columbus, Ind. home but was rushed to IU Health Methodist Hospital when she began coughing up blood.

“I spent two weeks in intensive care on life support and coded twice,” said Mundy. “At one point they told my mom if I made it through the weekend they’d know the next course of treatment.” She started a high dosage of Cytoxan, a type of chemotherapy that caused her to lose her hair. She developed staph infections and was treated with antibiotics.

“Over the years you go into remission but you never get rid of it. You’re on drugs and off drugs,” said Mundy. Because of her health she is no longer able to work and is on the waiting list for a kidney transplant and is in the care of nephrologist Dr. Louis Seele.

“He’s said over and over he can’t believe I’m not on dialysis. I know I’ve fought it off but it’s getting closer,” said Mundy, who is married to Kenny Mundy. Her four siblings have been tested as a match, along with her husband and her daughter.

The family started a Facebook page “Find a Kidney 4 Cindy” and they have created car stickers for their vehicles. According to the National Kidney Foundation more than 3,000 new patients are added to the kidney waiting list each month. The IU Health Kidney Transplant Program performs more than 200 kidney transplants annually. In 2018, the program ranked #33 out of 240 transplant centers performing kidney transplants.

“I have a lot of faith in the transplant program and in IU Health,” said Mundy. “My daughter was born at Methodist at 33 weeks and came home on Mother’s Day 1998. Before that I lost a son here due to preterm labor. IU Health has sort of become my second home.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Journalist, IU Health.
Reach Banes via email tfender1@iuhealth.org.

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