It was in March that I went to see my GP regarding headaches that would not go away over a two week period. Preliminary observations showed a very high reading of blood pressure which had been left unchecked for a lengthy period of time. Blood and urine tests were also taken. Less then a few hours later my GP called to tell me to pack my clothes and head for hospital as I was in renal failure.
Initially I was in shock, then told myself it would be alright as I was only 29 and kidney failure is usually more present in the older generation. After several days
of testing and a kidney biopsy, the bad news was delivered. It was revealed that I had a disease known as IGA nephropathy and was at end stage kidney failure with a combined kidney function of only 7 per cent.
The news was initially hard to swallow as my long term partner and I had just had our first child and life was just taking a new and exciting path. The challenging road began as I was put on the transplant waiting list and was told it could be a lengthy wait.
My family had discussed the possibility of donating a kidney. My parents and four other siblings were more then willing to donate a kidney. As all my family members underwent a series of tests, my health was weakening. I had lost a significant amount of weight and was struggling to get out of bed in the mornings.
As the toxins continued to build in my body (through lack of filtration) I was told I would need to start dialysis. I underwent surgery to have the tubes inserted into my stomach so I could start peritoneal dialysis. During this period tests revealed that my eldest brother, Matthew, was considered a perfect match for donation.
In September I was transplanted with my brother's kidney. It is now a little over a year on and my partner and I are expecting our second child. I now have the energy to enjoy life with my family.
Matthew has done a very selfless deed in that of giving. I hope that the way I continue to live my life brings joy to my brother, as without his gift I could not have planned for a future.