“I was diagnosed with a Wilms tumour in 1971 at the age of 5 years old, radiation affected the remaining kidney. This was my diagnosis so over time the remaining kidney slowly deteriorated.

I had been on the transplant waiting list for almost six years and was told due to the fact that I had lots of antibodies because of my many miscarriages that finding a match wouldn’t be easy!

Luckily, my team had only just started discussing the dialysis treatments with me so I hadn’t yet started the treatment, but I had opted for peritoneal dialysis as I felt it would give me more freedom.

With an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ranging from 8 - 12 over several years, and family members not being suitable to donate, I put finding a suitable donor to the back of my mind and tried my upmost to just carry on as normal as possible, which I think I did pretty well until the spring/summer of 2015. I used to laugh and say to my partner “it’s a good job its warmer weather now”, as the only thing I could fit on my feet due to my “cankles” being so swollen were his flip flops!

On Thursday 9th September 2015 at approximately 8.00am in the morning, I got a call on my mobile from the Nottingham City Hospital transplant co-ordinator, it was the call we all wait patiently for and I for one, never thought I would get! I was moving house the following day and had got the next few days off work to pack boxes etc. 

I experienced all sorts of emotions on that telephone call, from shock, shaking, not believing it, and excitement, it was such a whirlwind! I didn’t have time to feel nervous or anxious. I just knew this was something I needed to do, I had been given a chance, hopefully of a new lease of life and I needed to grab it with both hands.

I had a short period of time to get to the unit, and was made aware that I would need to undergo several tests prior to the operation to check I was in tip top shape to enable the procedure to go ahead. I would say the wait following the tests to see if the transplant could proceed was the longest wait of my life.

I didn’t need to ask what the outcome was, my transplant coordinator reached the door of the room I was in and she put her thumb up to me with tears rolling down her cheeks!

I woke up feeling very sore after the operation, with lots of tubes and wires but that’s to be expected. Within a few days I noticed how much easier breathing was and I could see my ankles!

On day three after the operation, they got me out of bed for short bursts of time and I almost immediately lost over a stone in water. On day five I was allowed home, with three visits a week to the clinic.

I don’t think anyone who hasn't experienced an organ transplant fully understands, I found that some people perceived it as “Oh she’s had a transplant now she’s better”. I just want to say that is not actually the case. Because of the immunosuppressants we have to take, we are more susceptible to infections, I personally have suffered sepsis twice and suffer with reoccurring UTIs – having a transplant definitely keeps you on your toes!

Having said all that, it’s absolutely the best decision I have made, my quality of life is so much better, I have more energy and zest for life. I’ve gone from needing 17 hours sleep to 7!

I will forever be grateful to the deceased donor’s family for giving me the gift of life.

So if anyone is reading my story who is waiting for the call, I want to say do not give up hope. I wasn’t expected to be matched easily, and although it did take almost six years, it did seem to go quick. The best advice I would give you is to keep as healthy as you can in the meantime and appreciate every day - anything is possible.”