I had lovingly and willingly cared for my son on dialysis for eight years. In this time I watched his body weaken, suffering setbacks and health problems, until that long awaited phone call came at 4am one morning.
Before this, his diet was strict - vegetables that had to be peeled and soaked in separate bowls of water for three hours, and then re-boiled in unsalted water; protein was limited; and, no more than 500mls of fluid in any one day.
After two years of dialysis every alternative day, his loving father was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and our nightmare began, alternating between dialysis, chemotherapy and radiation. Sadly my husband died three years before our son received his transplant. He died traumatised at leaving me with a very ill son, and my grief was intense, but somehow I gained the strength to continue.
'Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift, that's why we call it - the present'. This little rhyme became my bible!
When my son was driven to hospital to have his transplant, I cried. I appreciated the sacrifice that had been made by another family somewhere. In their time of utter despair and grieving, they had agreed to donate the organs from their loved one to rescue the lives of others - of complete strangers.
My son's life would be transformed. What generosity - what humanity. I silently and tearfully thanked the donor and their family.
Severe pain and a lengthy battle against infection and rejection awaited my son as we outwardly showed confidence it would be successful. But he is a tough one, my son, and once well again, started to experience the freedom of a normal healthy young man. I am only sad to think of the joy my dear husband didn't see - his precious son released from the bondage of dialysis.
The support we received from friends and family aided in his recovery, and our eternal gratitude goes to our donor family, who we thank annually for their most wonderful 'Gift of Life'.