I was 28 years old and lived a spontaneous outgoing lifestyle. I worked hard and enjoyed socialising. I was soon diagnosed with kidney failure due to an unfortunate case of extreme food poisoning.
After feeling unwell over a few days, I visited my GP and was prescribed blood pressure medication to treat the symptoms. By the time I admitted myself to the hospital, it was too late. I was told that I had to dialyse three nights a week and that the average waiting period for a transplant was approximately seven years.
Although I am afraid of needles, I chose to dialyse using home haemodialysis to maintain my lifestyle. For three and a half years, my routine was work, dialysis and sleep. It was mentally and physically exhausting. The immediate future was uncertain and the new constraints on my lifestyle made it difficult to keep up with work, friends and family.
I received an unexpected phone call from the hospital offering a kidney transplant. I thought I would have been waiting another three and a half years. Initially, I thought it was a prank in cruel humour. It was after a few more probing questions that I realised the phone call was indeed from the hospital.
I was filled with so much excitement on my way to the hospital that all the nightmares of transplant surgery never crossed my mind. The transplant took place immediately. There were no complications.
It has now been one and a half years since my transplant and things are going smoothly. I am exercising again, eating well and focusing on looking after myself and my donor's kidney.
People are always surprised by the amount of anti rejection medication I take, but in all honesty, life is much better now compared to when I was dialysing.
To this day, I don't know what I ate that led to the food poisoning and am still afraid of needles.
I would like to say a big thank you to my anonymous organ donor for giving me a second chance in life. Without you, I would still be living through the pain associated with dialysis.