I wanted to share this story, the realities are that there are millions of Paul’s out in the world and we don’t hear about them. We don’t know their pain or their struggle. This is one that i though would give you some insight into why i fight.
Paul Taylor developed partial kidney failure at the age of 11. He’s now 42 and has needed dialysis since the age of 21. Paul has experienced both haemodialysis and continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD).
“Throughout my teenage years and early twenties I managed to control my condition with a combination of medication and dietary changes. I still had some kidney function so I didn’t need dialysis.
“I had a fall and injured my knee. It wasn’t a big fall but I tore a muscle. It was the first sign that my kidney function had deteriorated: my body had become so weak that the muscle just ripped. I was rushed to St James’ Hospital in Leeds, where I was a kidney patient. The doctors said my creatinine levels had shot through the roof and immediately put me on dialysis.
“I was put on CAPD, which allowed me to carry on working but involved five bag changes a day. I was up at the crack of dawn for my first bag change, then I’d go to a local health centre and change my bag during my lunch break. I would have three more changes at home after work.
“I was in my early twenties and naturally found the change of lifestyle traumatic. My steady girlfriend Maureen, who is now my wife, had to adapt to my new way of life. My friends would be out every weekend, but that all had to stop for me. These days my condition is no longer disruptive, it’s just something I’ve just grown up with.
“After 12 months of dialysis I had my first transplant and I was able to go out to eat and drink in moderation. I had over two years free from dialysis, but then my new organ slowly failed. I became quite depressed at first, but tried not to dwell on it. I just take everything as it comes.
“In total I’ve had four transplants but none have been successful in the long-term. My fourth one failed within six months and I’ve been told that any further transplants are no longer physically viable.
“I’m on haemodialysis at the moment, which I prefer to CAPD because I can do it away from my home. My home is my home, and I prefer my family not to have to see me have my treatment. With haemodialysis, once it’s done I can shut the door and forget about it, whereas with CAPD I always had something in the house to remind me.
“It’s easy for me to do haemodialysis now, as I no longer work. I tried it when I was working, but I found it difficult dealing with the changes in energy levels. You might feel down in the dumps one day and great the next. After you’ve finished your treatment you often feel shattered and just want to lie on the sofa.
“I do feel my family have missed out on so much because I’m not able to do normal everyday things. We can’t go out for a meal together or go down the pub. We do go on holidays, but they’re organised around my treatment.
“I just like to get on with things so I don’t let my condition affect me more than it has to. Because of my condition and having to stop working I got to look after my daughter a lot more as she grew up. I think it made us closer, although if you asked her she would probably give the typical response that she can’t stand being around Dad!
“I also still live close to lots of my relatives so I get a lot of support from them. Obviously my treatment is a big part of my daily routine, and I’ll be on dialysis indefinitely. But, with any condition, the key is remembering to get on and live your life.”