Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Life with kidney failure; a guest post by my friend Jamie

Like it says, the following was written today by my friend Jamie. It needs no further introduction.

So, as you will have seen Geoff has taken a big step into becoming a live donor for me.  He asked whether I would be willing to write a guest blog, to explain my story, so here it is.
When Geoff messaged me to tell me he was willing to become a live donor for me, I can’t begin to tell you the emotions that come rolling over you.  I showed my mother the message and cried.  I think it’s a massive decision for anyone to even think of becoming a live donor, let alone actually go ahead with it.  It’s a wonderful gift of life!  It’s overwhelming.
To take you back to the beginning, this journey has been one big emotional rollercoaster.  I won’t bore you with the full history but the first signs of problems appeared in 2016 after my trip to Kilimanjaro.  I should have returned in the best shape of my life, but extreme fatigue and loss of appetite wiped me out for months.  But the New Year arrived and I started to recover my fitness, so much so that by the summer of 2017 I was back to the level of fitness before Kilimanjaro.  I was keen to take on more challenges, indeed I’d already applied for the Cardiff Half Marathon in October.
But then extreme fatigue and loss of appetite came back, as this was happening at the same time as a stressful period in work, I thought nothing more of it.  Blood tests were taken, visits to the doctor occurred regularly and trips to the hospital were seemingly happening every other week.  And then the moment that changed everything happened.
Out of the blue a Renal Nurse came to see me in the house to set out “treatments,” basically I had reached chronic kidney disease stage 5, i.e. renal failure, and the only treatment available now would be a transplant or dialysis.  She then went on to explain the various different types of dialysis and transplants, but in all honesty my mind was screaming “my life is over.”  I wrote a short story about this moment, it is very dark but captures the feelings and emotions perfectly, friends have said it’s very powerful.
Since that moment life has changed so much, I have good days, I have bad days.  I’ve had suicidal thoughts, I’ve had moments when I’m up for this fight, at the moment I’m determined to turn this situation into something positive.
People who meet me now all say, “you’re looking good,” if only.  Or the other one I get regularly is “do you feel better after dialysis?”  To clarify dialysis can only do 10% of your kidney function, and that, in my case, is only for 9 hours a week, basically dialysis is keeping you ticking over, no more.
So that’s where I am, dialysis happens every week on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.  I’m still waiting to get on the transplant waiting list.  My life feels on hold.
This glorious summer is great, but it also leaves me sad.  I loved being in the outdoors, especially walking and cycling, but as I get out of breath just going up the stairs these days I can no longer enjoy our beautiful country.
But I will keep fighting and bounce back, and when I’m better I shall do a challenge with Geoff, cycling or walking, and we’re going to have a great time!

Geoff here: I've removed moderation on my blog for a while. Feel free to respond to Jamie and he will, if he wishes, be able to reply.

Bless you Jamie.


  1. As long as Geoff is a match, my donation was a 50% match and was fine, then you will get your life back completely I’m sure. Feel free to get in touch

  2. Hopefully Geoff will be a match Jamie. Really feel for you. As someone who also has a long term illness, I can understand a little of what you are going through. My thoughts are that I wish I could do more to help in any way. The thoughts and prayers of many are with you Jamie.

  3. Hello Jamie (and Geoff) I'm following this story through the blog and have to say its made me me feel humble. To see people going through life problems that I can't imagine and then to see friends pull together is so enlightening and affirming. It really helps to put my own petty little problems into some sort of real perspective. I wish you all the very best of luck with the process and a brighter future. Reading that post when you and Geoff are sitting on some mountain somewhere sipping a brew outside the tent is one I'm looking forward to

    1. Thank you for those thoughtful comments Andy.


Comments are always welcome but please be patient. Thanks to recent rudeness on here I have reinstated moderation. Hence, your comments will appear after I've approved them. Thanks for taking the trouble to visit my blog.