Firstly, my apologies for the huge gap since my last post. A lot has changed and happened since then which I am going to share with you. As you may remember I was doing the Being Human Detox and things were going very well. I was feeling great, my blood cells were looking healthy and life was peachy!
I then did a second round of detox and a few days later while visiting my sister and my precious new little niece in Grahamstown my body took a turn. I was permanently exhausted and my feet and legs began to swell. Now I was always aware of the symptoms for kidney failure but never ever experienced them…until now. So I knew straight away something wasn’t right. My sister sat me down on the day I was leaving and expressed her concern. She knows me probably better than anyone and knew my body was weak and taking serious strain. I was out of breath, exhausted, had a yellow tinge and my legs and feet were swollen. Even though she is my baby sister she gave me a lecture on how even though I had tried so hard for the last 3 years to try and reverse the damage of my kidneys the natural way it was now time to seek medical help. Which I did…..
When I got back to Durban, I went for blood tests and scheduled an appointment to see my Nephrologist. It was no surprise to hear that my eGFR was 2%, my creatinine was 1600, my potassium was 7 and my haemoglobin was 4.6….basically my kidneys had failed and I was lucky to still be alive.
I was admitted into high care straight away, where they gave me blood transfusions to get the haemoglobin levels up and I started on dialysis (through a temporary catheter in my groin) to remove all the toxins stored in my body as the kidneys weren’t able to remove the waste on their own anymore. Now I knew I couldn’t fight the medical world anymore, as I was really ill and so put my life into their hands. I had a great team of doctors and nurses and soon was feeling stronger and more myself.
While I was in hospital, I had numerous blood tests and a bone marrow test to eliminate any auto immune disease or blood cancers as my platelet count was very low. They also weren’t able to operate on me until this count had increased. The operation was to insert the permanent catheter and fistula – these are the ports for dialysis. Thank goodness those tests were all negative and my platelet count increased on its own and we went ahead with the operation. I now have a permanent catheter in my aorta in my neck and a fistula on my wrist. The fistula is basically a vein and an artery joined to create a vessel for dialysis. Arteries carry blood from the heart to the body, while veins carry blood from the body back to the heart. A fistula causes extra pressure and extra blood to flow into the vein, making it grow large and strong for dialysis. The fistula takes about 2 – 3 months to heal so until then they use the permanent catheter in my aorta which will be removed once the fistula is ready.
I am now on dialysis three times a week for 4 hours a time at The Umhlanga National Renal Care Unit. This was a huge inconvenience for me to confront and accept as it was the thought of potential dialysis that kept me going for the last three years doing things the natural way. It was what I wanted to avoid at all cost! Now I am forced into something I was so anti and have absolutely no control over. It’s what is keeping me alive so I have had to come to terms with it and stop trying to resist it. So each time I am on dialysis I get into my positive little bubble and keep my mind busy by working, reading, watching DVD’s and catching up with friends and family.
Right now the dialysis machine is keeping me well and alive but long term I need to go for a kidney transplant. I have started the work up with St Augustine’s and Donald Gordon Transplant Units as we need to get the ball rolling. Unfortunately none of my family members are potential donors, either because of age or medical reasons, so now begins the process of searching for a live donor who can give me my life back.
I have been so lucky to have the support of my incredible husband and our families and friends. My husband has walked this road with me, not only the last 2 months but the last 3 years. He has kept my chin up and been so positive and optimistic every step of the way. He is certainly my rock! My 2 amazing families who are all so supportive and shower me with so much love, understanding and comfort. And all our friends who never stop sending positive thoughtful messages, flowers and visits. Without all your love and care I would probably be an absolute wreck so thank you for being there and thank you for your strength and hope.
Despite everything I remain 100% positive. I know that, somehow, I will find a live donor. Sometimes you don’t know exactly HOW something is going to happen, but just that it IS going to happen, and I do know that I will overcome this and be able to move forward and live a full and happy life in future.