Last Saturday I celebrated one year post transplant! I can hardly believe it has been a year since Oli kindly donated his kidney to me...I also never realised how ill I actually felt on dialysis until after the transplant when I began to realise how amazing it was to feel normal. I think when you're ill for a long period of time you just learn to put up with all the aliments you have and just deal with it.
I had very low blood pressure when I was on dialysis, so much so that every time I stood up I would have massive head rushes and also felt faint most of the time. Little things like that coupled with anemia, renal bone disease, fluid and food restrictions, medications, pythyroid disease and not to mention the thrice weekly trips to the hospital for 3 and half hour sessions of hemodialysis were pretty difficult to deal with at times. When I look back at those 5 years I think how on earth did I cope with it all?! But you just do I guess.
In the past year I have done so many things that I wouldn't have been able to do without my new kidney. 3 months after my transplant I produced an award winning short film which without my new found energy and health I could never have put so much time and effort in to.
I then travelled to Australia for three weeks to stay with my best friend and travelled around the west coast a bit - staying in youth hostels with the nearest city being a 5 hour drive could never have been achieved without a kidney transplant. I also went on holiday to Alderney, which is a tiny island without a hospital where I spent all my childhood summers and it was heart breaking to not be able to visit when I was on hemo dialysis. I went to Palma for a week with Dan's whole family for his brother's wedding - something that would have been very difficult and stressful to do whilst on dialysis.
I have been working towards the Gifts of Life photography exhibition spending days and days travelling up and down the country to photograph people to help raise awareness for organ donation. And I am going on a driving residential course in a couple of weeks to finally do my driving test...gulp! I found it impossible to concentrate for long enough whilst learning to drive before the transplant. Dan and I are going travelling round Japan and then off to Australia early next year - these are things I dreamed of when I was on dialysis and I literally can't believe I can now do them. I'm able to pursue my photography career now too and able to travel where I want. One of the reasons that I haven't got round to writing this post sooner is because I was away in Chesterfield oop north on a 4 day photography commission which was awesome - I then went straight from Chesterfield to Leeds where I grew up and spent a couple of days with Dan staying with one of my oldest friends and revisiting all my old haunts. This would have been so difficult before the transplant and there's no way I would have had the energy to give all the shoots my all a year ago.
I probably won't be updating this blog as often now, it's great that I don't have as much to say about kidneys as I used to but rest assured I will update it when I can with any news on my health or campaigning. I will, however, be updating my photography blog very regularly with my news so do have a gander at that if you have a minute. You can find the link here.
I don't have to go to the check up clinic for 6 weeks now which is a big milestone. Renal failure will always be part of my life, a big part, and I will always campaign to get more people on the donor list to enable more people who suffer from kidney failure to feel like I do now.
Thank you to everyone who has read my blog in the past - it's been you guys that has spurred me on to continue writing it and it's been such a fantastic experience. x
Sending some smiles!
3 weeks ago