Four years ago at 34 Carl was diagnosed with chronic kidney failure (CKD), to this day we have no idea what caused it. Carl began suffering with headaches and the doctor sent for an ambulance after finding his blood pressure was dangerously high. To our shock, not long afterwards he was diagnosed with CKD.
His kidney function was 17% and in just a matter of months it was down to 4% so Carl started peritoneal dialysis. The side effects began pretty quickly; swollen ankles from water retention, headaches, gout in the feet. Carl was a shadow of the man I'd met five years previously.
Carl was a shadow of the man I'd met five years previously.
At that point we had 2 children; Alfie (now 11), from a previous relationship and Harry (now 7) together, and Carl's illness affected us all as a family. We could never travel too far as Carl had to do his dialysis 4 times daily which normally took around an hour. Carl was on peritoneal dialysis for the first two years until he became really poorly one January. The peritoneal dialysis was failing which resulted in him collapsing and being admitted to hospital. It was a tough time for us all and very touch and go but luckily a fistula was fitted and he started haemodialysis shortly after.
Two weeks later Carl came home. It was at that point we all realised how close we came to losing him at just 36 years of age - this just didn't seem fair. So myself, along with my step-dad and Carl's cousin, all put ourselves forwards to be tested to see if we were a match in the hope that one of us would be able to donate a kidney to Carl.
It turned out that my step dad and I were not a match but Carl's cousin was! It was a light at the end of the tunnel, and such a brave thing for him to do. Unfortunately, at the last hurdle we discovered that Car's cousin was unable to donate. It just wasn't meant to be. But we were eternally grateful that he'd stepped forward for us anyway.
So we carried on waiting. It's only now we realise how much dialysis affected Carl and our family as a whole. We were told that our chances of another baby were slim but we wanted to try anyway and defy the odds. Amazingly, after 5 months we found out that we were expecting! We knew having another baby would be tough with Carol on dialysis, especially with how poorly it made him, but we knew we wanted another baby so very much. Baby Theo was born in April 2017 and completed our family. Although, having Theo was tough for Carl and he realised that he was missing out on so much by being on dialysis.
Our first call came when Carl was matched with a deceased donor and we were sent straight to the hospital. Our hopes were high that this could be a new beginning for us. However, again we were unfortunate and it failed at the last hurdle. We were devastated. We were told it happens a lot, but it was our first time so we knew next time not to get so excited!
Luckily it was only a few weeks later that we got the call to say that there was a live donor and that the operation was scheduled for 10 days later! We knew this was different this time with a live donor our chances were so much higher.