My kidney disease came out of the blue. One day at work I began to feel unwell and I decided to go home. Not long after I started to lose all sense of direction and balance, then collapsed. My body was shutting down. My brain and heart blew-up and my left side became paralysed. A few days later a friend found me at home and rushed me to hospital. I was then transferred to Melbourne. My heart stopped multiple times before the doctors were able to pinpoint what was happening.
I basically died three times over. I deteriorated really rapidly and so much damage was done in such a short time. After a week in Intensive Care, I started to improve. After months of tests, I was diagnosed with kidney disease caused by a viral infection and I would need a transplant... then the long wait began.
For the next eight years I traveled to the dialysis unit every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday to be hooked-up for four hours to a blood-filtering machine that did the work my failing kidneys couldn't. While on dialysis I couldn't plan anything, go anywhere, or enjoy a regular lifestyle. My life was on hold.
It was a long time to be waiting. Everyone around you seems to get a transplant and nothing is happening. You also see many people die. You start to worry. Then the phone call, I would receive a donor kidney. I was actually two hours into my treatment and still on the machine when they told me. I didn't know what to do, but they said 'well get off, they need you now.'
That was nine months ago and I started feeling the difference almost instantly after transplant.
After a couple of days, you notice the difference. You start feeling better within yourself. No more dialysis, you regain your mobility, you can start to plan things, go away.
I have no doubt how much the donor organ changed my life. People who donate organs are true champions. It gives people a new lease on life.
If you're thinking about it, don't think, just go and do it. Being able to give someone a second shot at life is the greatest gift you could ever give.
You get through the first six months, then you think about the next 12 months, then the next five years. Anything now seems possible.