My name is Angus. I am now 21 but my story begins when I was nine years old. I was camping with my family and friends when I became sick. Nothing too concerning at the time, just typical flu like symptoms. But after a week I hadn't improved so my parents decided I should see our GP.
The blood tests showed kidney failure, and just like that, I was off in the ambulance to the hospital. Completely oblivious to the situation I remember thinking how cool it was to be riding in the back of an ambulance!
Fortunately, both of my parents were compatible as donors so I did not need to wait for a kidney. I was even more fortunate to be bumped up the transplant list allowing me to avoid dialysis and In the end I was lucky enough to receive my mum's kidney.
The transplant couldn't have gone any better and I have had no kidney related complications in more than 12 years! I don't recall much detail from that period of my life and to be honest I didn't really understand the severity of what I had gone through. All I remember is that I wanted to be a normal kid again, playing cricket with my mates. Thanks to my doctors I was given that opportunity.
One of the risks of a kidney transplant is the ongoing medication and associated complications. Unfortunately such a complication eventuated and I was diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of 20.
Given my suppressed immune system the prognosis wasn't great as a strong immune response and the prospect of my body beating the cancer was considered unlikely. The oncologist even recommended that my bladder be removed and that I live the rest of my life with an external bag. Thankfully the willingness of my urologist to 'give the treatment a go' resulted in the best possible outcome and I was able to beat the cancer - although I still require six monthly maintenance treatments for the foreseeable future.
I am extremely thankful to all the doctors involved and consider myself to be very lucky.
Lastly, I would like to thank my Mum for the kidney! I owe you one.