Matty’s Story

Matty was diagnosed with Kidney Disease at the age of 3. He received his first transplant at the age of 13. It was a live donation from his mother, therefore, Matty recalled things proceeded with less complication and emotional strain. “Everyone around me was telling me that, you know life will get better from here than my previous 13 years and this turned out to be the case”. The transplant managed to last for 11 years before he was back on dialysis once again.

He was on dialysis for another 4 years before he was lucky enough to receive a second transplant. This time around, things  were relatively different. Matty described having to face a lot of emotional struggle. “(I) have to deal with the fact that the other side of the story was that another family was in mourning, they’d lost someone they loved and yet I was going to get their kidney to have another chance of a better quality life…My feelings were should this be happening?”. He was struggling with these feelings after his transplant. But, after having spoken to both other transplant recipients and with the donors’ family, he could see a different perspective to the story. “I’ve spoken to a family who were a donor family and they gave a slightly different side of the story… (They said) the fact was that they did lose someone but they were grateful that they were able to still contribute to help someone else with more quality of life. So that’s how I was able to handle it.”

The transplant was a success and it has lasted him till this very day. Matty recalled waking up to a lovely feeling of knowing that his kidney was functioning. He could still remember having to get out of bed for the first time to be weighed and be informed by the Surgeon that everything had gone well. He didn’t even feel a lot of pain. However, for the first few days after the operation, there was some restriction of movements and his body felt physically weak when he was out of bed.

For the first 3 years after the transplants Matty experienced a few set backs due to various infections. The infections were caused by the medication he took during his first transplant. These medications killed his bone marrow causing them to lose their function. He remembered having to visit the hospital every 3 months for a duration of 2-3 weeks due to various forms of illness. Initially, the Doctors couldn’t detect the actual cause. The condition would come and go and he would find himself visiting the hospital more frequently. Gradually, this led to a fear that his new kidney might have failed. Thankfully, the kidney kept fighting through. After having identified the cause the Doctor was able to control his illness.

His word of advice to others having a transplant is to believe in yourself and to never give up hope. At times, things can be hard, but we should continue to believe and hope for the best. It took Matty 3 years  until his situation turned for the better. “You’ve got to be strong and have a good support group around you, be it family or the hospital. You have got to keep having that hope that things will come right”.