Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Reporting to you from a Big Pile of Excrement.

I figured that I might as well start from the beginning, easiest place to I suppose, and tell my story in four parts: how I came to have kidney failure; my time during my transplantation; my decline; where I am now.

"Yeah, I ate s**t."

Always a definite ice breaker!

And, yes, it is true. I ate s**t. That is how my kidney failure started.

I always try to make my story humorous. Maybe it makes it easier to deal with but the truth is I did, genuinely, eat cow excrement and contracted E-coli 0157 less than a week before my third birthday.

(I must warn you now that I will probably be quite explicit in describing medical things so if you're squeamish, look away now).

I should also point out that I did not intentionally eat said faeces. I grew up on a farm and our family dog rolled in manure. I hugged the dog and consequently got the manure on my hands. Me, only being three, put my hands in my mouth... and that's how it happened!

Within a matter of hours of eating the excreta, I started to have all of the usual E-coli symptoms, low fever, nausea, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea. My Mum, who clearly knew something was wrong, took me straight to the doctors. She took me there three times over the course of a couple of days but was told over and over by the doctor that she was "a neurotic mother and your child only has a tummy bug. She will be fine in a few days!" - this may be why I have doctor trust issues!

Anyway, on the third day my Mum, bless her, rushed me to A&E where the doctors immediately spotted what was wrong. I have never really heard what happened after that. All I know is that a little boy, the same age as me, in the bed next to me, with the same disease, died. I cannot begin to bring myself to think of the pain that my parents felt and I can imagine the trauma has probably never left them. Without my mum's determination, I would not be here, writing as I am.

For almost four months I was in intensive care, with my Mum constantly by my side. I was read to, soothed by her kind voice and loving intent. I know that she always cared for me and she would have never left me, loving me the way she always has done, every day.  

I was finally allowed home after five months of being in hospital but I would never return to a normal life. I was on peritoneal dialysis for 12 hours. Every day. I was unable to do a lot of activities children of that age are suppose to do like go swimming, go to sleepovers with my friends, do any physical sports or eat chocolate, crisps, chips, any sort of junk food (which, in hindsight, is not a bad thing).

I was unable to do a lot of things but there was one thing I was always extremely wealthy of,


There was not one day where I did not feel cherished by those around me. Whether it was my parents, the nurses who looked after me or my amazing relatives.  Coming from such a strong family has moulded me into who I am. We have laughed together, cried together and most importantly supported and loved each other through hard times.

No matter where you get love from, may it be your family, friends, work colleagues, fourth cousin twice removed, it is so important to have that network of people you can rely on in times of need.  

For four years I was on PD dialysis until January 2000 when my Mum donated one of her kidneys to me. Though I will never be able to express my gratitude, I hope she knows how grateful I am for what she did for me.

So, even though I ate s**t, those four years of my life, until my transplant, shaped me into who I am and - not being immodest - I think I rock! Actually starting to sound like my Auntie right about now...

Until next time,

Kate x


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