At the age of 12, I started to feel ill at school, dizzy spells, blurred vision and tiredness. Prior to this I had a massive haemorrhage and they think this caused my organs to shut down. My kidneys were failing ! I was taken in for tests and discovered my kidneys were only working at 95%. I went on haemodialysis first and later went on to full dialysis on a kidney machine at Booth all ilHall Childrens hospital ospital for 6forfor 6 hours, 3 times a week. This meant one day on the machine and the next day I would be so tired that I would sleep all day, then the next day back to hospital for another dialysis session and this was my routine for approx 6 years. This was a real ordeal for all the family, it left me drained and exhausted, all I did was sleep. Sometimes I felt so weak that I couldn’t even climb the stairs, my father used to carry me up. I was prone to viral infections and needed to go in and out of hospital all the time.
I will never forget the night the phone rang to say that I had a kidney, it was a mad rush to get my things and then the police and ambulance came to escort me to Manchester Royal Infirmary for the transplant. We couldn’t believe that the day had finally arrived. Tests were carried out for suitability and I remember crying thinking that this would be the last time that I would have to be on a kidney machine. It was such a relief to us all but I would never forget that someone had died and some other family were grieving for a lost loved one.
When I awoke from surgery I had lots of tubes and drips, but the changed in me was instant, in that I had pink cheeks and looked a picture of health. Gradually the drips were removed and I felt that I could walk around without feeling tired and my appetite came back and I was able to eat whatever I wanted. Thirteen days later I was allowed to go home which was amazing!
I need to take drugs for the rest of my life and attend the MRI for checkups on a regular basis, but this is nothing compared to having my life back.
Life has moved on for me, I have gone on to have four children, Keith 22 and my natural born triplets (a miracle in itself) Scott, Hannah and Suzanne, the triplets were born one month early, I was taken to hospital so the birth could be induced and at the time I had to wait for two days and I was in labour for six hours and then the first baby arrived. It was a boy and I had this feeling they’d all be boys, but eight minutes later, Hannah popped out, I was thrilled because I’d really hoped for a girl and then another girl arrived! Suzanne weighed so little, she was put in an incubator, but she made good progress and two days later I held all three babies together.
The triplets have just celebrated their 21st Birthday so by someone donating a kidney it has given life to myself and my four children. What better gift can there be than the gift of life.
Shortly after the triplets were born I was featured in an article in Woman magazine and, in fact, I still have the article back from 1991. See the pages here: Jean 1 – Woman Mag page 1 | Jean 2 – Woman Mag page 2.
I’m now 51 and have had my kidney 33 years, which is amazing, but I will never forget someone has lost a loved one. I now work at Funtastic, a play centre on Kenyon Street in Radcliffe, run by my Niece, Sandra, which I really enjoy.
In fact Sandra and the team at Funtastic have been fundraising for Kidneys for Life over the past few months organising events and special Party Days for the children at the centre including, Pirate & Princess Day, Olympic Day, Football Day and Summer Holiday Day and much fun was had by all.