I was 21 and developed Type 1 diabetes, later in life as my diabetes began to affect my kidneys & I was referred to Dr Roger Phillips, a Specialist Urologist at the Morningside Clinic.
I was in my late forties when my kidneys failed & immediate admission to ICU & urgent dialysis was scheduled, from that moment on, our lives would forever be changed.
I was in ICU for two weeks, it was an extremely difficult time for us and caused us to really evaluate what is important in life. God gave us strength.
Once I left the hospital, I had to continue with four hour dialysis sessions, three times a week. My specialist Dr Roger Phillips, suggested that we consider a transplant. I was 49 at the time and he suggested a simultaneous Kidney and Pancreas transplant, he persevered and convinced the board as I had a very strong case, I was and am still very fit, my heart in good shape and generally well controlled and they approved my application.
We then began work up for a transplant, once that was done, it was simply a matter of time until a Cadaver donor, a very special person who has passed away, donated a kidney & a pancreas simultaneously.
The day that we received a call from the transplant coordinator to say that it was time, my heart started to race, I felt feelings of fear, excitement & gratitude.
That evening, as we prepped for the operation, we called family and friends, we had been praying for this day & for a perfect match, I had only been on dialysis for six months, a very short time in relation to the many friends I made at the dialysis center, who have waited many years. The feelings we felt were mixed as we knew that someone, so loved had died and in turn was giving me a new life. We continue to pray for my donors’ family and are forever grateful.
Dr Britz, Dr Fetter & all the supporting staff at the Donald Gordon transplant unit, finished with my transplant around 02h00 in the morning, my life forever changed by this experience. I have a very positive mindset and I was determined to get up & exercise, to start living a fuller life again. When I got home, I was in isolation for three months & we followed all the rules set out for us.
I have always been sporty & enjoy gym, I have run the Comrades twice, I have wanted to participate in the Transplant Games for a few years, 2013 is the year to do it, I have been training hard and was ecstatic when I qualified, I look forward to meeting all the participants and partaking in this event. I have already made some great new friends and knowing that I can make a difference and raise donor awareness is priceless, I thank the organizers for all their efforts in putting this amazing event together, I am sure it is going to be a great success.