Kidney failure: Kalwant's story 

Diabetes left Kalwant in need of a new kidney and pancreas. In this video, she explains how she was lucky enough to receive a donor kidney after a month on the transplant list, and now enjoys a new lease of life.

Treating chronic kidney disease

Transcript of Kidney failure: Kalwant's story

My name's Kalwant Kaur Mann,

and I had diabetes which led to kidney failure.

People going through kidney failure,

on your first session of dialysis or the second or third session,

have somebody who's been dialysing for some time to sit with you.

I would have found that so helpful.

The symptoms that I had with kidney failure

was I put on a lot of weight, because there was fluid retention.

I wasn't actually weeing.

This was why I was putting on weight, because the fluid was retaining.

I wasn't going to the toilet,

and also, in my case, I was constantly being sick.

Also, I had no energy at all.

On September 11th, 2002,

I had to start my first dialysis session.

You have to go to the hospital three times a week.

For four hours, you have to be attached onto a machine.

This machine will flush your system out with the fluid that you've retained.

Your own blood gets filtered through the dialysis machine,

and gets put back into you.

You have to have many tests

to make sure you're well enough to go on the transplant list.

You have to have a test for your heart

to see when you go under the anaesthetic that your heart will be able to take it.

Your legs are strong enough because they attach the organs

to either your bladder or your bowel.

I needed a kidney and a pancreas.

I had to go on the transplant list for both organs.

So that was quite a long time before I could even go on the transplant list

because I was very, very poorly.

The family life was totally disrupted, because of me and my condition.

I mean, we've got two daughters.

At the time they were nine and 15.

So they still had to go to school.

But, luckily, I'm in an extended family.

There is my husband, myself, my two children,

my mother-in-law and my father-in-law.

It's very, very important for support.

After a year on dialysis,

they started the testing

to see if my body would undergo major surgery.

So in May 2004, I was told I was on the transplant list.

So I dialysed for a year and a half.

From then, they said, "Have a suitcase ready.

"It could be any time."

"You could get a call at any time of the day or night."

On June 1st, 2004, it was quite late in the evening.

I got home at quarter to eleven. The phone rang.

She said, "It's Liverpool here. We've got a kidney and pancreas for you."

I said, "Are you sure it's not a joke?" She said, "No. We've got one for you."

It was somebody that had died,

and that made me think somebody's had to die

to give me a chance.

So I found that quite difficult to comprehend, really.

But at the time, we just had to do what the coordinator had said.

To get our bag packed together,

and to go to Liverpool for five o'clock in the morning.

The operation was a long operation, apparently,

because the kidney and pancreas both had to be transplanted.

They do an organ at a time, but my surgeon did come back and say,

"As soon as I transplanted the organs, they worked."

He could see them working, so they were very happy with the transplant.

Both transplants that they do, they don't actually take any organs out,

so I'm quite a greedy person, really,

because I've got three kidneys and two pancreases!

It's quite difficult...

I think it's a much harder process, and a much more difficult process

for them to take any of these organs out,

so they just attach them on to your bowel or bladder,

which mine are attached on.

There are different drugs that people have after transplants,

so every day, I do take about 25 tablets a day.

I can remember, because I hadn't weed for three years.

I can remember I had got a catheter on,

and the feeling of actually doing something

that normal people do all that time, and for me it wasn't normal,

it was absolutely wonderful.


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