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Life on the transplant list - Danny's story

My name is Danny, I am 46 years old and this is my story about kidney failure and transplantation.

I consider myself very lucky indeed. Not every patient on dialysis is able to get a transplant.

My story started 25 years ago when I discovered that I was born with only one kidney and I was diagnosed with IGA nephropathy.  It didn't present any problems at first, I was monitored for 5 years and my kidney function remained the same, so no problems and nothing to be alarmed about.

Fast forward to 2012.  I had been suffering with breathing problems, I was back and forth to my GP.  When he checked my blood pressure and it was sky high, this immediately raised alarm bells and I was sent up to the hospital right away.

They ran a lot of tests and did an ultrasound of my only kidney. They discovered I had a cyst right in the centre of my only kidney. Following a scan I was told that the benign cyst had turned out to be a cancerous tumor, I was stunned. I was also told that I may not be suitable for a transplant because I had cancer.

Now if anybody who has ever been told they have cancer, you think that you will go to pieces, but in my case it was flight or fight.

Your body is truly remarkable.   Guess which option I chose: to FIGHT.

Because I only had the one kidney I was told to expect to be put on dialysis after the operation. When I woke up yes, I needed dialysis, let me tell you that was the biggest shock to me.  You hear all sorts of stories about dialysis, but it's not that bad.

Life was completely different when I needed to be attached to a machine three nights a week, but what's the alternative??  It was a no brainer for me.

I had to wait 6 months to find out if I was suitable for a transplant because of the cancer, again I think of myself as lucky, I had a very slow growing cancer which enabled me to be eligible for a transplant.

Dialysis can be tough sometimes -  I said it's not all that bad, but sometimes it's not great. The fluid restriction – I was allowed only 1 litre per day which I found the hardest. Not drinking coffee which also hard for me, and other food restrictions.

Loads of things had changed in my life, no one really knew what lay ahead. Being on the transplant list is a very surreal experience. You're waiting on your phone ringing all the time - it can happen 24/7. That itself has its ups and downs. I received that call last year and was so excited about getting a kidney, I made my way to the hospital at midnight and waited.  It was the longest night of my life.  Unfortunately for me the donor organ was not suitable.

I was so lucky to have got that important call last year which went ahead and really has changed my life completely.  Some beautiful person gave me another chance and I will always be incredibly grateful for the gift.

My life is brilliant now for I have loads more energy and, for once in my life, I'm not tired. 

I appreciate and grab every day now.  It truly is life changing.