Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Happy New Year! Hope you all have lovely evenings celebrating the end of 2008 and that 2009 is a healthy, happy year for you full of smarties, lazy days on the beach and scrabble.

As promised, on the left is the article about Oli and I featured in The Sun a few days ago.

I have also entered a competition with a website called Wellsphere to win health blogger of the year (woop woop!). I have added a clickable banner on the right of my blog for lovely people to click on to vote for me.

Please take two minutes to give me your vote!
Here's all you have to do -

1) Click on the banner on the right.
2) Fill in a few details
3) Done!

Thanks so much to everyone who has voted already, appreciating it muchly. See you in 2009!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Putney Girl's Kidney Donor Hero

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Amongst other Christmassy antics my day was spent chasing a remote controlled bird round Putney common with two very excited little boys, eating far too much Terry's chocolate orange, tucking into a fab Christmas lunch prepared by my Mum and laughing as a friend's beard caught fire during Midnight Mass. It also marked the first Christmas in five years where I wasn't ill. Lots to celebrate!

The day before the festive period officially started was also full of excitement. Whilst doing a bit of last minute shopping, I received a rather hysterical phone call from Hannah demanding to know whether I was in fact the 'Putney Girl' and whether Oli was the 'kidney donor hero' on the Evening Standard bulletins shown on all the local news stands. Having no idea what she was talking about she shrieked down the phone that she would go and investigate and get back to me.

A little confused, Dan and I set off to find said paper - not as easy as we anticipated as the Mega Mall we were shopping in proved to be like a maze, and Waitrose was no where to be seen. A quick dash through the underground parking lot later and we arrived at the newspaper stand just as Hannah called saying that the article was in fact about Oli and I, and that she and her family had been in a mad dash up the high street stealing all the posters to give to me. (Baring in mind this was almost midnight, they were on borrowed time!) Above is one of their finds.

The full article can be read here. There was also a little article about Oli and I in The Sun the next day but google hasn't found that one online for me yet...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick blog to say that I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas - eat lots of mince pies, drink lots of sherry and watch lots of crap TV. Amen to that.


Friday, December 19, 2008

the little things...

I've talked about the fact that it's the little things that I notice that make the most difference in life post transplant. Today I was presented with a prime example...

There's this escalator going from one tube line to another at Earl's Court Station. When I was living at home I would go up this escalator on my way home every single evening. From the time that I started my Art Foundation year in 2004 to just before the transplant.

I noticed straight away that I was able to walk up this escalator with so much more ease now that I was on dialysis and not just wasting away in studentsville without a clue what was so very wrong with me. And so I made a pact there and then to walk up it every single day to make the most of feeling well again (usually I am one of those people that stands on the right hand side letting the eager beavers rush past). As the months and years went by it became increasingly more difficult to walk up it, sometimes I would feel dizzy and faint as I reached the top and have to sit down for a rest. But I was determined that the minute I stopped walking up it, it was like giving up and I'd become a 'properly sick' person.

After having a lovely Christmas lunch in Soho with people from my old workplace I made my way back to my parent's house, where I am currently residing as I recover from the transplant. Sure enough I came across this very same escalator. After taking a deep breath I decided I'd put little Kasper to the test and see how he faired on the escalator. Before I knew it I had almost reached the top and felt no dizziness or extreme tiredness, even my legs didn't ache much (I say 'much' meaning they did a little, but I am putting this down to the fact that the exercise factor on my part has been a big fat zero recently.) After walking up the escalator I stopped for a second to admire what a massive difference Kasper's arrival had made to me. I almost couldn't believe how easy and normal the trip up the escalator had felt, I was as if I had barely done anything. I then happily jogged (yes, jogged) up the stairs to the waiting train and was on my way.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

An update on Oli

Below is photo taken by Oli on an 11 mile hike he went on a couple of weekends ago in Yorkshire. Think that speaks volumes!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

staples, guardian and back to work

Lots of nice and exciting things have happened since I last did a little medical based update.

For one I had my staples out. Yep, all 54. It was actually pretty painless. AND they let me keep the staples...definitely something to stick in the renal scrapbook. Other exciting things - I had a photo published in the Guardian (along with this tagalong) which was super douper on the excitement scale. And then the Guardian Weekend magazine published a letter I wrote the following week...which was also really exciting until I realised I actually sounded quite smug (it was the way the letter was edited, I swear) and so decided to keep relatively quiet about that one!

Kasper is still being fab and very hard working. Oli had obviously made him take a crash course on How To Be A Good Kidney In Someone Else's Body in preparation...or maybe ol' Kasper is just a little confused and thinks he is still in Oli's body...either way I'm not too fussed as long as he is working!

My hospital appointments have been reduced to roughly every ten days, which is great news for me - and for my credit card due to there being a huge shopping centre next door. The twice weekly appointments were a little tough on the bank balence, it appears I cannot resist Topshop.

I also went back to work, part time, on Monday which made me feel like an almost normal person for the first time in weeks. Not only was it lovely to see everyone it also really reiterated the fact that I feel so much better after my transplant. I noticed how all the little things I do at work all the time felt so much easier, and less effort. I didn't think twice about jumping out of my chair to pick up an invoice from the printer, whereas before this would have been a real drag.
I don't think I will ever get tired of these little novelties, no matter how trivial they are.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

the ex-hypochondriac on route to the OC - Part 4

Whilst having a very overdue sort out on my computer I found the below - the 4th (and final!) part of my story of how I got diagnosed with kidney failure whilst I was in America. The small matter of having a transplant made me totally forget to post better late than never! This part carries on from my rather rushed journey back to London when I was given a weird concoction of drugs that made me behave in a very bizarre manner...

The other parts can be read by clicking the links below...

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3

the ex-hypochondriac on route to the OC - Part 4

Horses aren’t exactly my favourite animal. Due to a notable experience aged eleven on a rather over excited horse in France I have avoided them ever since. So why I announced in the airport shop I was simply just had to buy a little stuffed toy horse is completely beyond me. I’m not sure whether it was the fact that it had cute little magnetic feet or that it was just the first thing I saw but I was most insistent about buying it, and even when my Mum gently insisted that I could spend my money on something else I wouldn’t budge. Bizarre how medication can make your brain work. Needless to say the toy horse is currently sitting on my bedside table and I have become quite fond of it over the years.

After a few over excited shouting incidents on the plane, involving leaning over the seats to the poor slightly overweight Americans seated in front of us and telling them rather matter of factly that McDonalds is very bad for them, we touched down in Heathrow where we were met by my Uncle who quickly drove us straight to A & E at Charing Cross Hospital in London.

The nurses at Charing Cross got quite a shock when my whole very jetlagged family rocked up with a huge file of notes from California and zombied-me in tow. They admitted me immediately, and for the next five days I was prodded and poked, weighed and measured, assessed and medicated and given my first exciting taste of dialysis in London.

In America although my first session of dialysis had made me feel a great deal better by the end of it, the side effects I experienced during were pretty horrible. I would go from feeling boiling hot and wanting to rip all my clothes off there and then to feeling absolutely freezing, so much so that I had to have one of those silver blanket thingies you see people sporting coming out of car crashes in ER and Casualty. But my first session in London was fine, and although left me feeling very ill afterwards I didn’t need to put in an order of silver blankets.

Over the next few days I was introduced to many different doctors and nurses and a certain hospital counselor who had the most depressive attitude of anyone who I have ever met - the less said about her the better. And once I was well enough I was allowed to go home, only returning thrice weekly for dialysis. After a couple of months I was offered the chance to switch to a different type of treatment called peritoneal dialysis which I was able to do at home. The new found freedom sounded great at first but the ten hours a night I had to spend attached to a machine which liked to screech alarms at me at random intervals really started to grate after a while...More on that rather 'special' treatment another time...

Very posh hospital in California. They even billed me for tissues and juice! thank god for insurance.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

07/11/08 - 3 weeks post tx - fireworks, ripped jeans and visiting dialysis

Bonfire night was the first time I properly ventured out socially, and not only was this a novelty due to the fact I had been cooped up in hospital or in the house for the past few weeks it was also a 'dialysis' night - in the past Friday nights were always taken up by my lengthy meetings with my blood sucking friend but now I could do whatever I liked with them.

A few friends and I headed down to the river armed with my camera, a big bag of Haribo and some sparklers. A lot of fun was had taking pictures and admiring the fireworks as they reflected on the river. It felt amazing to be out doing 'normal' things and not to feel exhausted or achy. Bonfire night was also the first time I dared put on normal clothes...after putting on my nice black skinny jeans and subsequently ripping them about five minutes later I decided it was probably best to stick to tracksuit bottoms for the near future...transplant tummy is stubbon and isn't going to budge as easy as I thought.

sparkly magic

A few days later I headed down to the hospital to visit everyone at dialysis loaden with some home made rocky road and cards for all the nurses. Strangely I was a little nervous about visiting the place that had become my home from home in the past two years. I hadn't seen or spoken to any of the dialysis nurses since my transplant and I wanted to tell them how fab I felt but I didn't exactly want to waltz in and start shouting about my transplant when the room was filled with other patients who were in my situation a couple of months ago... some who had been waiting a lot longer than me.

As soon as I walked in to the unit, I felt strange - a bit like a spare part I guess. Usually I would wonder in and waste no time in choosing 1 sheet, 3 pillow cases, and a blanket (non bobbly) assembling them on the chair in the way I had perfected over time and then quickly start to get my machine ready.

I chatted with a few of the nurses and gave them my gifts, and then went and spoke to my dialysis buddy Ally. Ally has been waiting for a kidney for longer than I had, and due to her being Asian statistics show that she is unfortunately likely to wait even longer as there is a lack of black/Asian people on the organ donor list. I chatted to her a little bit about my transplant, but I soon picked up on the fact that she found it painful to talk about - and I don't blame her. Being on dialysis for seven years aged 28 is no joke. I can totally see why she finds it hard talk about it. I arranged to meet her outside the hospital instead in the week for more girly chats. But it wasn't until I left the hospital that night that I realised why I felt so strange. I was no longer part of the club anymore - I had moved on into the next level in the kidney failure world, and I was no longer part of dialysis and dialysis was no longer part of me.

Monday, December 1, 2008


I've recently got involved in a brilliant campaign called Battlefront, a Channel 4 programme where young people are given the opportunity to fight for a cause that they really believe in.

Back in October Battlefront had already chosen it's campaigners but were looking for one more. Holly Shaw, a fellow long term dialyser and recent transplantee, put forward a brilliant pitch and was voted to be the 20th campaigner. Since her win she received the call that she had been waiting for and received a new kidney at the end of October. Hoorah! As she is recovering from the op Emily has stepped in to give her a hand and myself, Abby and Freya have also become 'Holly's Helpers' and are currently in talks about ideas for the project.

The campaign is aimed for 14 - 21 year olds and the first episode aired this morning at 11.30am on Ch4 - the series runs through to the summer. We've got some awesome ideas lined up for the campaign so watch this space for more info on the exciting projects...

In the meantime please check out Holly's Battlefront page and also her Bebo page. It's an absolutely fab cause, as I'm sure you'll all agree!