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Living with CKD

Adjusting to the reality that you have chronic kidney disease (CKD) requires a major change in perspective and lifestyle. Here we chat to five people living with CKD to find out what gives them inspiration for the journey.

‘I didn’t see it coming’

Nicola Rijsdijk, mother of Brodie, 12

‘The day I first heard the words “renal failure” was when I took Brodie to have an ultrasound at the paediatrician’s request. The radiologist kept scanning his abdomen, and then asked me, ‘Do you know if he has his right kidney?’ Eventually, she called in her senior and he found the kidneys, but they were very small and indistinct. 

‘The next day my husband and I saw the paediatric nephrologist and he sat us down and said, “I’m very sorry to tell you this, but your son has chronic kidney disease.” We were shocked. We hadn’t seen it coming. Brodie was small for his age and tired easily, but other than that, he was a perfectly normal child. We look forward to the future with the help of available treatment.’

‘I’ve learnt to embrace change’

Tony Curtis, 67

‘Thinking that my days might be numbered, I made up my mind to accept my new life. Acceptance has eased the stress of the weekly dialysis, as I realised I am truly blessed to be as fit as I am. Dialysis is a small price to pay for a second chance at life. If I follow the rules, I should be able to survive. 

‘I can’t run any more, but swimming helps tremendously. My entire body responds to this exercise. Fluid intake is probably the biggest challenge, as I was a teapot and consumed a large amount of water daily. I still miss my red wine.’

Find out more about Life Renal Dialysis services as well as units near you.

‘Kidney disease has taught me so many things’

Jessica Ngulube, 42

‘Kidney disease has taught me that life is precious. I have learnt how to live healthily and to avoid things that are bad for me. Even though I am sick, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have hope for the future. I know one day I will get a kidney and be well again and hold my grandchild in my arms.’

‘The disease has enlightened me’

Virushka Maharaj, 34

‘Living with chronic kidney disease has been an emotional and physical roller-coaster ride. When I look at myself in the mirror, I look different. My skin gets dehydrated, as I’m only allowed a litre of water a day, and it has become darker and more wrinkled. I was given the gift of a kidney from a live donor in my 20s, and then lost it 12 years later in India when I drank polluted water. 

‘I’m back on dialysis now. And yet, I feel at the same time the disease has enlightened me. I value the small things in life. I don’t take anything for granted, not even drinking a glass of water or eating a banana. Knowing that your lifespan has been cut short is something that you constantly have to wrap your head around.’

‘I still lead a normal life’

Tony Mylroie, 70

 ‘I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease when I was 60. I’m too old for a transplant, so I’ve learnt to live with dialysis. I haven’t had to make too many adjustments, though. I still play golf and I live for my family. They give me hope.’

Life Renal Dialysis is a specialised healthcare service providing acute and chronic dialysis services. Our facilities offer the latest renal dialysis technology, including renal dialysis machines and comfortable dialysis chairs. The set-up ensures ease of access to hospital specialists, physicians, X-ray departments and laboratory facilities.

 The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a healthcare professional. E&OE. Life Healthcare Group Ltd does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage suffered by the reader as a result of the information provided.