After some months of being treated for a duodenal ulcer, I was referred to a physician who immediately diagnosed me with a renal problem and within two days I was admitted to hospital. I was 56 years old. I was told months later that an ulcer can be caused by renal failure.
It was there that I was diagnosed with 'microscopic polyarteritis'. My wife Loretta and I were trained in home haemodialysis and this worked well for us. We have a very active life style and were able to work around dialysing times. We didn't allow it to dominate our lives. I didn't want to be an invalid and I wanted to go to work, which I did until retirement.
One morning Loretta was preparing dinner for family and close friends whose first grandchild was to be born that day. I was at work. At 11:15am Loretta received a phone call from the hospital asking how I was feeling. Then they asked "how would Brian like a kidney?" No need to tell you the answer. The lamb roast was off. Some friends said "fancy putting off a lamb roast for a kidney".
As we began the three hour trip to hospital we reflected and prayed for the family who were grieving but were so generous. They have given me such a wonderful 16 years (so far).
I have experienced the birth of grandchildren and enjoyed all their activities. Sport, dancing and great family times which I would never have had without the generosity of my donor family. They are a big part of our lives even though we do not know them. I made a promise to them that I would look after and care for this kidney. I treat it as a very treasured gift - which it is.
With the help of the wonderful team in the renal unit and my local renal physician, I am a very happy and healthy man and very, very grateful.