My kidney failure had been a relatively slow process until the beginning of 2010 when I became very unwell. In April of that year I started dialysis and in August began home dialysis.
Even though you are told not to let dialysis rule your life it becomes very difficult when you are hooked up to a machine three days a week for five hours. You don't feel like doing anything after dialysis so your social life changes. I am a primary school teacher and dialysis affected my work - which I enjoyed very much.
I had a kidney transplant. I received the kidney from my amazing partner Greg. Before the transplant took place my partner and I were well aware that we were high risk. I had some antibodies which I had got from a blood transfusion when I was 18. My partner's kidney had a couple of extra arteries which could make it difficult to attach to me during the transplant.
Following the transplant I had to have plasma and albumin exchange which hopefully would suppress the antibodies and help my body to accept the new kidney. This took place over a number of days each week for 11 weeks. I am finally not attached to any machine but still going to the hospital two days a week and have to be monitored very carefully.
During my time at the hospital Greg and I have met and become friends with many kidney transplant recipients. Like myself their lives have been changed for the better.
Everyone's story is different, but the one thing that is the same is the gratitude and thanks we all feel for the families who made the decision to donate their loved one's organs - or in my case and some others, a family member or loving partner - who were selfless in their decision to donate their kidney so as to make our lives healthier and happier.