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John’s Story

My son’s decision to give me his kidney changed everything for me.
I hope you never have to feel the exhaustion and hopelessness I did after three years of dialysis for kidney disease. Of course, I always tried my best to remain positive. After all, dialysis was keeping me alive after a lifetime of diabetes and blood pressure problems. But it was beyond tiring to have to spend three mornings in the hospital every single week.

Dialysis takes everything out of you. After receiving this treatment, the rest of my day was basically a write-off. My lovely wife would leave work to bring me home and then I couldn’t do much but sleep.
After a while, I started to get depressed. I didn’t want to do it anymore. My wife reassured me, saying: “You’re still on the waiting list for a transplant. Don’t give up!”

It was about then that my son made a surprising announcement. He had secretly been investigating the possibility of giving me one of his kidneys. My wife and I were unsure about his choice at first. He was only twenty-one. What if he was also to develop diabetes later in life? Could we really let him go through with this?
It was something he wanted to do for me and he insisted that he was old enough to make this decision for himself. That was over a year ago, and as it turns out, he was an almost perfect match!

Before I went on dialysis, I used to play pick-up football, baseball and golf. But when I started receiving dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, everything changed for me. I would come home and feel so horrible I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t have the energy to exercise. And I’d have to watch my fluid intake because the dialysis was harder on my body the heavier I was. I’d get upset with myself if I drank too much before going in for my treatment.  Today, I can drink a large coffee in the mornings if I want and it’s marvelous! If I’ve gone for a long walk, I can drink a bottle of water afterwards and it won’t matter.

Kidney disease disrupted my life for many years, but I feel so much more alive these days. When I was on dialysis, I used to fall asleep at the drop of a hat. Now, I’m able to play for hours with my two young grandsons. I can also travel to see them without having to rush home for my dialysis treatments. My son’s decision to give me his kidney changed everything for me.

After many challenging years, my kidney transplant finally brought hope back into my life. But I can’t stop thinking about the tens of thousands of other Canadians who are living with end-stage kidney disease. I know first-hand how difficult their lives must be. I also know the disappointment and uncertainty that comes when you are first diagnosed.

When my son first said he wanted to donate his kidney to me, I worried a lot about his health. Thankfully though, the surgery went smoothly, and my son was able to go home the very next day with only three little incisions.  His sacrifice meant the world to me. I was close to him before, but knowing that he would do this for me, well, it’s hard to think about it without getting choked up.

My only son, my youngest child, has most definitely become my new hero.

I appreciate you taking the time to read my story. My entire family has been affected by my kidney disease and now, I’ll do anything I can to provide my support to other people in the same situation.