'I've finally got my life back' 

Double kidney transplant recipient Riminder Dosanjh spent four years waiting for a transplant with no kidneys in her body at all.

"I was totally dependent on a dialysis machine for four years, just waiting and hoping every day for a new kidney," says Riminder.

"It was a terrible feeling to know that I had no kidney at all in my body and that I was 100% dependent on a machine to keep me alive. I was on the machine three times a week. It was horrible, really tough."

Riminder, a community health project worker, had her first kidney transplant when she was just four years old, after her own kidneys failed. But 14 years later, the transplanted organ also failed and had to be removed.

Riminder's natural kidneys, which were originally left in her body, were also removed to reduce dangerously high blood pressure. She was without any kidneys and totally dependent on a machine for life.

"Dialysis was dreadful after I had grown up through a perfectly normal childhood with a transplanted kidney. I had never prepared myself for my new kidney letting me down. I had been given a gift, but it had been snatched away."

In January 1997, Riminder was placed on the waiting list for a kidney transplant. She began to count the days until an organ would become available. Her family watched with ever-growing concern as complication after complication arose with her life-preserving dialysis treatment.

"I was getting some pretty serious complications with my dialysis. My veins were not strong enough and doctors had run out of space on my arm to link me to the dialysis machine. The treatment wasn't working properly at all and I was becoming desperate for a transplant," she said.

"This made me even more determined to get on with my life, to carry on working and make people accept me for who I am. I didn't want to be known as the one who was ill.

"I was hooked up to the machine one day and a doctor came and asked me whether I wanted a new kidney. I was whisked off to Hammersmith Hospital and woke up with a new kidney and a new life. But it didn't hit me until much later that I had finally got my life back."

That was in December 2000, and Riminder's life has improved dramatically. Now fully fit, she works as a development officer and is active in promoting organ donation.

She says: "I can't express how grateful I am to the donor. I only know that it was a 55-year-old man. I'd like to know more, but that's all the family want me to know, which is OK.

"I would love more Asian people to sign up to be organ donors to save people like me.”

Page last reviewed: 14/10/2015

Next review due: 14/10/2017