My health problem started when I was young. I started wetting the bed when I was about 5. By the time I was 10 I had to go from Winnipeg to Vancouver to see a specialist. The specialist gave me a lot of medication and put me through a lot of tests. They found out that my urine was going back into my bladder. It was eventually decided in Grade 8 (when I was about 13) that I needed a bladder operation. I missed half of my Grade 8 year.
After that, I was put on peritoneal dialysis. I was going in on Tuesdays and over the weekend for 4 years. I wanted to be at home so, they trained me for home dialysis which is called Continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD). I continued on with the home dialysis and I was able to continue with my schooling. I did dialysis at school also in the nurses station! It was alright doing it at home and being close to my family.
I also made it twice to the dialysis camp.
Eventually my site was getting infected so i had to give up CAP dialysis and start on the kidney machine (hemodialysis). I went in on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for 4 hours at a time.
I was married in 1987 while I was still on the hemodialysis. We were living in Kelowna when I heard the news in 1988 that I was to have a kidney transplant!
I had the transplant in Vancouver. When they prepped me, I asked them where the kidney was and someone said, ‘Do you see the red box?’ I barely had time to say ‘yes’ and I was out. I got my kidney from a young boy who was in a car accident. Bless his soul.
We wanted to have children but we had to wait for at least a year. So we waited. In 1990 my son was born. The delivery was rough, but those doctors saved both of us!
Being a transplant recipient is a good feeling. Now I can swim, skate and play tennis. I have energy and I am not tired anymore. My biggest challenge was just putting my self together and saying ‘This is my life. This is what I have to live through.’
How I handle it is that I take one day at a time. My life has changed so that I can do things now that I have not done before. It was a big step.