I must start this post off with some incredible news… two weeks today, I will receive the most fantastic Christmas present I could ever wish for. My loving (and oh so patient) partner, Andy, will ‘share his spare’ – and donate his kidney to me on the 14th December! With just two weeks to go until the ‘big day’ or T day as it is known in our house… I just had so many thoughts and feelings around the transplant, that I had to write them here!
Firstly, the overwhelming feeling I have is one of gratitude. I feel so incredibly fortunate, to have somebody who is willing and able to give a kidney to me. That is a gift that not many people get – and I recognise it with every fibre of my being! I am absolutely incredulous that there is somebody in my life who is so selfless as to go through all of that, just to make my life better. I will never be able to repay such a gesture. Having that support during the diagnosis and dialysis has made it doable – and to top it off by giving me a kidney… I am just so speechless. With Christmas approaching, a conversation inevitably arose surrounding Christmas presents. As Andy sat and pondered what to get me – I sat, mouth agog – wondering how he could possibly be considering which perfume to buy me for Christmas, when he was giving me a kidney. I think he is good on the present front for the next fifty years!
Alongside these incredibly warm feelings of love and gratitude is the feeling of pure, cold fear. Fear for so many things surrounding transplant. Fear for Andy; fear for myself – and above all – a fear that it won’t work. I know, everybody tells me I just have to be positive – and I most definitely am. I have absolutely everything crossed! However, I would be lying if I did not admit that this is the scariest thing I have ever faced by a mile. I am the type of person who gets a fluttering feeling in my stomach, just going to the Doctors. So, the very idea that I can, voluntarily, walk into a hospital and have a transplant – and all that it entails – that is inconceivable to me at the moment. Indeed, there are times when I feel so overwhelmed by the prospect, that I think I won’t be able to go through with it. Then a voice somewhere in my head reminds me that I have no choice and that this is the best possible chance I’ve got. I try so very hard not to think about it – but it is absolutely all I can think about! It is with me twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I have continued work and kept myself busy, getting ready for the festive season. The tree has gone up; presents have been wrapped and even a few Christmas carols have been sung. However, when eating mince pies, decorating the house, or watching Christmas films – it is not visions of sugar plums dancing in my head! Instead it is visions of operating theatres, needles, drugs and nurses. I am just making a Christmas wish that it will all be worth it in the end – for both me and Andy… that’s all I want for Christmas this year.
Ever since diagnosis, I have had a very strong feeling of guilt surrounding the kidney failure and the transplant. Although, as far as I know, there is nothing I have done, nor could have done, to change the outcome – I can’t help but feel such a strong sense of guilt. I am so desperately sorry to put anybody, especially Andy, through any of this. At times, I consider that I am being so incredibly selfish in even letting Andy give me his kidney. Often I think I would be better to just wait on the ‘deceased donor’ list – and when it is my turn, a kidney will come up. After many discussions with Andy and friends about it – I am persuaded that we are doing the right thing – but I go back and forth a lot. It is definitely not something I am entering into lightly.
Having said that – I must say – I am going into transplant with a vast amount of hope and optimism. It feels like so long I have been ill and lacking in energy, I cannot conceive what it would be like to feel ‘normal’ again. To no longer be restrained by dialysis tubes and hospital visits. To be able to go to the gym, or dare I dream, go travelling again! To have a single day where kidneys were not at the front of my mind. To feel some sense of release and freedom from this nightmarish tableau. I am desperate to write a blog, telling you about life after kidney failure. Life beyond the dialysis machine. I desperately hope that my next entry will begin with the line… ‘the kidney is working; we are well and I have just had the greatest pee of my life!’