I was nine months old when I was diagnosed with the kidney disease haemolytic uraemic syndrome. It was never really known how I contracted it as it is acquired from a food borne illness or from contaminated water -- I was just unlucky I guess. I had symptoms of diarrhoea and after being given penicillin shots every day for seven days (the miracle cure for everything in those days), my mum noticed blood in my nappy and took me straight to Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth where they had to operate straight away or else I would have died. I had a colostomy bag and was immediately put on dialysis. I was left with 25 per cent of one kidney functioning and after the first five years of my life being in and out of hospital, I stabilised and was relatively well until that small bit of kidney function died at age 18. Six months after struggling through the last year of high school, I started haemodialysis. I think I cried every dialysis session for the first year as I couldn’t accept what was happening to me. I contacted the Australian Kidney Foundation, now known as Kidney Health Australia, with a few questions and soon after I was recruited to do talks and tell my story of what life was like living with kidney failure. It wasn’t until then that I felt I had a purpose and my purpose was to educate the community on organ donation and water awareness. I was able to pick myself up and started working in retail and enrolled into university.
I was on haemodialysis six years before I got my first transplant from my Mum. I will never forget waking up from the transplant surgery and everything seemed clearer. Colours, smells, my train of thought -- everything was just better. I got married, travelled around Australia twice; went to Lord Howe Island, Fiji, Hawaii and Europe. I made the most of my kidney that’s for sure. Having a transplant was the best thing that ever happened to me and but then my kidney started showing signs of failing. I did everything to make it work. But ultimately a severe stomach bug that wasn’t diagnosed for two years killed my kidney September 15, 2012, 13 years to the day I got it. I think having struggled my whole life with an illness, has made me accept my situation as I honestly know no different. I feel lucky that I have dialysis to keep me well enough inbetween transplants. I remind myself how lucky I am even if it means dragging my peritoneal dialysis bags everywhere I go. I once had a very sick friend tell me that a negative thought is a luxury. I totally agree. I have no time to be angry. Yes, I have some health issues, but I can still do what I want and I have such a good life. I know I have created this life and I just can’t wait until what I will be able to achieve once I get my next kidney. Which brings me to why I'm here.
I have found a match on the donor exchange program which means a kidney transplant is not too far away! We currently live in a country town and my transplant will mean moving to the city for at least three months. My husband works tirelessly to keep up with our house bills and mortgage as I can only work part time. He will continue to travel down south to work while im recovering in Perth. My car is very old and we tried to remortgage our home to buy me a new car but as I was very ill in the last financial year and could'nt work much, our bank and mortgage broker would not lend us anymore money. An economical, reliable new car would mean I will be able to attend my daily appointments at the hospital for post tranplant treatment and when I'm back home, I could get to Perth easily for any follow up appointmnets. Many many thanks for reading my story.