1. Which organ/tissue did you receive, and in what year?
Kidney in 2020
2. How long were you on the waiting list for your organ?
3. What was life like before the transplant?
At first there was a feeling of anger. I remember first starting dialysis and in my 1st session there were people studying, laughing and well behaving as though all of it were “normal”. I was angry because i felt like those people were pretending, nothing was normal about the situation. As time and a year went by you learn to adapt and make dialysis a part of your life. However there are days where you still experience other emotions… Sometimes knowing that 4 hours are wasted just sitting and doing nothing at dialysis is the most frustrating feeling. Holidays seem pointless as its a stress to plan a holiday around dialysis and again time is wasted sitting at dialysis whilst on holiday. Personally, dialysis had a major impact on my physical appearance, going 6 shades darker in complexion, losing hair and of course having scars from the actual dialysis sessions. This really affected me mentally, as a young woman its not the easiest to see bodily changes. Also one of the biggest issues experienced was the weakening of my bones. I got to a point where i could barely peel potatoes as my fingers would pain. I even started limping due to hip bones paining… this was just small effects on me personally. It also affects your family, whereby by husband had to start learning to prepare meals for supper as i would not make it home in time after dialysis to do so. It also took time away from our married life and being “normal”. Basically everything had to revolve around dialysis and dialysis times. While i understand that dialysis is keeping was keeping me alive.. It was not really a full life that I was living.
4. How did you spend your days?
Days were spent praying for miracles, praying for a transplant, continuing with dialysis. Getting family tested as donors which was also an emotional roller coaster of hopes and disappointments. Mentally being strong but physically noticing your body deteriorate. My faith is the only thing that kept me going and persevering in my 3 years of dialysis.
5. Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for your transplant?
You wait for this day everyday of your life, but when it happens you still cant believe it… I was overwhelmed with emotions… I was in disbelief that it could actually happen to me… I was so unbelievably grateful to God at that moment. I’m not sure how I drove home, but I did and I could just recall praying and thanking God as I could feel his hand over my life in that very moment. There is no feeling like it on this earth, I was excited, a bit scared, overwhelmed, overcome with so much of love and gratitude.My miracle was finally here!!! I couldn’t stop smiling and crying and just thinking of a whole new life and possibilities.
6. What is life like now, after the transplant?
Well its only been a few weeks since the transplant, but I am already enjoying having a full normal day with no dialysis.
7. What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?
Don’t give up, your mind is the strongest weapon you have to fight this. I am a firm believer in Gods timing, and we place time limits on our lives which leaves us disappointed, we have to believe there are higher powers and everything will be done for the higher good. Also you not receiving an organ at the time is because somebody else is receiving their miracle in that time. We are not enemies, we are all in the same boat, we need to encourage and pray for each others betterment.. After all no one understands the need better than someone who is going through the exact same thing.
8. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
For many reasons, religious /culture beliefs. Lack of priority on each of our lists, because we always assume it will never happen to us. Lack of knowledge and understanding. Lack of awareness. Fear. Thinking of family members who may need your organs later on in life. There is not a big enough hype around donation as it should be, it is a gift of life to someone . Many do not understand the severity and importance.
9. If you could describe transplant in one word, what would it be?
Miracle, second chance at life, new beginning, God’s gift