I thought I should share this with you. Christina Ho my most excellent and revered Transplant Nurse from St Helier Hospital who has done the most amazing job. We are eternally grateful to you Christina! Where was I? Lost track there….. Anyway she has asked me to write a summary about my feelings during pre-op, post-op and about the donation process. So this is my reply to her email, I think it reads pretty well…..
Here goes my summaries!
“When I first learnt that I had a condition called FSGS, my initial reaction was of total shock, fear and various other emotions. The things that mattered in life such as work, hobbies and social/personal life suffered as a result. The transplant and the work-up process dominated my mind and hung over me like a dark cloud. Luckily I wasn’t ill with this, as so many other renal patients are at this time and I was lucky to avoid Dialysis. My symptoms were fairly mild by comparison to some people. All the same I did feel tired and run down most of the time and my zest for life was lacklustre. I just prayed that whatever the outcome, I would get through it one piece and have a good life beyond. So I tried my best to set myself various goals for the post-op phase of my life. This kept me going and also gave those close to me a little respite from the otherwise very gloomy person I had become.”
“Wow what a revelation! I can recall the first moments in the recovery room. It only seemed like I had been in Theatre for seconds and not the several hours that was the reality. I also recall the journey along the sunlit corridors of St Georges in my bed being wheeled along by some very chirpy porters. I was smiling at everyone we passed, in fact my face hurt for days afterwards. In the days that followed from the moment, I made my first steps to the bedside chair, being taken off the IV lines and my journey back home. I was elated to be alive and feeling already very good so soon after having such major surgery. It was in essence, a life changing event of such magnitude that even now precisely 6 weeks later, I have to pinch myself to believe it all! Many have asked whether I feel better and my answer is “yes absolutely” and many have commented on how well I look and that I look a hundred times healthier than I did the last time they saw me (which would have been pre-op). I enjoyed that beer that features in the photo! It went down very well indeed!”
“First of all, I cannot thank my Dad enough. How can I thank him? I don’t think buying him a lifetime supply of his favourite drink, food, music or whatever will quite cut it. He is my hero, always has been and now even more so! It’s quite uncanny to think that he has given me life not just once but twice.
The donation process was at times quite nerve racking, as it was so critical to my survival and having a life beyond the next couple of years. There would always of course be the option of Dialysis but Dr Andrews was (and indeed I, my wife and family etc) very keen to avoid this if at all possible. We needed a live donor and various people stepped forward, my immediate family including Tina (my Wife), Tim (my Brother), Mum and Dad. Even some friends said they would do it if needed be. I was immensely grateful to them all. Everyone went through the initial tests and the best matches were Tim and Dad both of whom shared my blood group and tissue type. Dad in the end turned out to be the best choice although there was some concern over his age and the fact that he also suffered from hypertension.
I was forever concerned that maybe nobody was a good match and that I may have to resort to Dialysis and perhaps seek an alternative donor. In the end it all came together and the date was set for the transplant operation. 17th September 2008, a date that will stick on mind forever!”
Hope that is ok, hope it is “brief” enough!!! If needs be I could condense them a bit!