Ivy's story

Ivy Ashworth-Crees, a former diabetic, talks about how much better her life is since her double kidney and pancreas transplant.

"Over 30 years ago, I started to have diabetes and had to go on insulin injections four times a day. I also had to work very hard on my diet to make sure I didn't eat too much sweet food.

"After about 25 years I got kidney failure, and in 2003 I had to go on kidney dialysis, which was very uncomfortable.

"It was tiring having to do it four times a day, as well as having the diabetes injections four times a day. I felt like my life was on hold.

"I was on kidney dialysis for two years when they put me on the list to have a kidney transplant. The surgeon suggested that I could probably benefit from a kidney and a pancreas transplant, which meant I wouldn't be diabetic any more.

"When I got the phone call to say that I was going to Manchester for the transplant, I was absolutely hysterical. I was very emotional – thrilled and terrified.

"When I came round after the operation, I was in intensive care. I stayed there for about three or four days, then they took me to the main ward.

"The most difficult part was getting out of bed on to my feet, and starting to walk. They walked me up and down the ward for weeks until my legs got strong enough. That was very, very difficult – the pain was very bad. But it's been worth it.

"The doctor asked me to try to reduce my weight, so I joined the gym. I enjoy swimming and I think it's helping me to keep a bit more active. The only problem is that I can't walk too far.

"It's very, very important that I take the immunosuppressant drugs. If I don't take them, my body may reject the kidney and pancreas. I have to take them for the rest of my life.

"My life's changed such a lot. I now take it for granted that I can eat what I want, including chocolates!

"I'm back at work, I don't have an injection after my meals, I don't have to rush home for dialysis, and my kidneys and pancreas are working well.

"I feel blessed that I've been through this operation and it's worked very well."

Page last reviewed: 20/06/2016
Next review due: 01/12/2018