My journey with organ transplantation started 17 years ago at the age of 23. I was a new mother of a one-year-old daughter when I started feeling extremely tired. I thought this was normal for a new mom, so I went to the doctor thinking I needed to be taking more vitamins. I was surprised to find out that I had Interstitial Nephritis, which is end stage renal failure. I needed to start dialysis immediately. I was in denial for the first nine months, thinking that with time my body would fix itself. As my symptoms of fatigue, nausea and fainting got worse, I decided to make the life changing choice to start hemodialysis.
After being on dialysis for two years and not feeling the best, I decided to get a transplant. I was lucky that my wonderful mother gave me her kidney. Unfortunately, the transplant did not work and I had to go back on dialysis.
I had a few years of struggling with my health: infections, dialysis arm surgeries, pancreatitis, gallbladder removal, parathyroid removal and some life-threatening illnesses. Throughout these emotionally and physically challenging times, I never gave up hope that I would one day feel well again – not only for myself, but for my daughter.
I started feeling more and more like myself in 2005. I decided that I was well enough to finish my NAIT Marketing diploma and go back to work. It felt amazing to be contributing to the workforce and sharing my passion with others.
In 2006, I met my now husband and we got married in 2010. I went on a honeymoon in Saint Lucia where they have a Canadian-run dialysis unit.
In 2008, after spending nearly a decade making regular trips to dialysis clinics, my life changed completely, and for the better: I started home hemodialysis. Home hemodialysis has been a precious gift in my life. I can dialyze every day, now, making me feel like an entirely different person – I feel 100%. Furthermore, I dialyze when I am free rather than being on a clinic schedule. I have my life back.
In 2015, my beautiful daughter, April, graduated from high school.
Throughout my dialysis voyage I have experienced ups and downs. When I started, I honestly thought I would not be able to finish college, let alone have a strong career, get married, travel abroad or see April graduate high school.
I have always been appreciative that I have the option to dialyze, to have access to qualified and compassionate medical staff (doctors, nurses, technicians), and to be a part of a loving and supportive family.