Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A bit of background health information…

I became ill around Christmas 2004 and went to the doctors who said it was probably a virus and to drink lots of fluids, I progressively got worse and went to see a locum doctor (as it was Christmas time) he did my blood pressure and a quick examination and immediately referred me to Warrington hospital. Whilst at the hospital I was prodded and poked, asked if I had taken ecstasy and if I was pregnant… they didn’t seem to know what was wrong.

Eventually they did a scan on my kidneys and said they were shrunken and that I would have to go to ICU in case I needed emergency dialysis overnight. Immediately they told me that I would need to be on dialysis 3 times a week for the foreseeable future whilst I waited on the transplant waiting list for a suitable kidney. I was transferred to the Renal Unit at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital so they could prepare me for dialysis and start my treatment. I had a femeral line inserted to start dialysis immediately but as this line was not permanent and I could not leave the hospital with it still in place I then had a neck line put in (a plastic tube inserted into my chest). Next I had an operation to create a fistula (a vein joined to an artery in my elbow) this is permanent and allows for needles to be inserted for dialysis, however this did not work in my left arm and I had the same operation on my right arm a few days later which was successful. I remained in hospital for 3 weeks, the doctors told me to forget about my exams and college and not to expect to go back anytime soon. However I was determined to get my life back to some sort of normality and a month after getting out of hospital I returned to my psychology A Level, eventually getting a grade B.

During that year I was put on the transplant list but also my mum was tested to be a live kidney donor (my dad wasn’t suitable as he has asthma and high blood pressure) After 6 months of tests it was found my mum had a virus called CMV (a virus that 50% of the population have) this doesn’t affect people usually but can be dangerous in people who receive transplants.
This was the case for me as I am CMV negative; the doctors told me and my parents all the risks surrounding the situation, such as 1/400 die from the side effects as it can cause pneumonia and breathing problems (bearing in mind I had already told the doctors I wanted a CMV negative kidney of the list) The doctors, transplant co-ordinator and my mum left it up to me to make the decision as to whether to still go ahead or not. In the end I talked with the doctors and the nurses at my unit and decided that I wouldn’t go ahead and wait my turn on the list…

So after dropping my A Levels in music, Religious Studies and I.T when I first found out I was ill, I decided to repeat my last year of college to complete the I.T A level… reaching a grade C. During this time I also took my driving test and passed first time (much to my brother's disappointment as it took him two attempts, haha!) Chester University accepted my grades for the Early Childhood Studies degree… and here I am, in my 2nd year; I’ve been on the list 2 ½ years now and on dialysis 3 years.
Sometimes day-to-day life is a struggle, juggling my university studies, dialysis; tablets; diet; fluid restrictions and of course not forgetting fun things like my social life and of course shopping.

I hope I haven’t bored you too much, next time, more about what happens during dialysis….(Fun, fun, fun!!!)


  1. can't wait for the next installment, you can talk all about the time when me and han came and threw you a party :p
    haha! love ya!x

  2. Regarding CMV. I just had a transplant on May 3, and my donor was CMV +, and I was negative (amazingly, since I have been a nurse for 19 years). I'm on Valcyte for 6 months, and was told that this med should prevent any problems with CMV. Of course, time will tell, as I've only had the kidney for 10 days, but the doctors didn't seem to be concerned with this (I live in the US).