Dominic Morgan suffered from chronic kidney disease as a result of his type 1 diabetes. He shares his story with us.
My name is Dominic, I’m a 41-year-old, simultaneous pancreas/kidney transplant recipient, who lives with my fantastic partner, Louise. We also share our home with two beautiful cats: Hettie and Harriet.
I was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2013, after 25 years living with Type 1 diabetes. In October of 2016, my kidney function had declined to the point where I was deemed a suitable candidate to be placed on the transplant waiting list for a simultaneous pancreas/kidney transplant. I waited on the list for six months before I was given the life changing call in March 2017. I was informed suitable organs had become available. My transplant went ahead successfully and is functioning well to this day.
Being a Type 1 diabetic since age 10, I was always aware that at some point in my life, my kidneys could begin to fail. The reality of it for me personally, was very different from what I’d imagined. It was very distressing to discover that I was facing potential death at a young age, it caused me to experience episodes of depression and anxiety. However, as things progressed, part of me felt strangely very calm and serene, with a strong sense of hope. The realisation of mortality frees you in ways you might not expect.
Louise and I have made some wonderful friends through being part of the wider kidney community. Kidney disease can make people feel very isolated and depressed, so the importance of strong relationships with others who can fully empathise, is of paramount importance when dealing with such major life changes. Being made to feel included in the community is also very empowering, as it gives a strong platform for people to not only gain knowledge and support through discussion, but also enabling them to express feelings about the impact of kidney disease, and all associated topics, in a safe, supportive environment.
I am so grateful to this community and to so many others. To my donor and their family, for not only changing my life immeasurably through their selfless gesture, but also for saving me from potential death. They have given me, for the first time in over 30 years, a life without insulin injections and constant monitoring, I am humbled by them and will forever be dearly grateful.
This journey has been challenging and emotional and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without my family and friends, but mostly I am grateful to my exceptional partner Louise for her patience, kindness and most of all, her love throughout everything.
These are unprecedented times, and we can only move forward. Louise and I would very much like to get married and start a family. We have had to put it on hold for so long, as we didn’t want to raise children with such uncertainty in our lives. I know they say there’s never truly a right time to have children, and anything can happen in life, at any time, but there are better times, where stability and security are more abundant. Today, I plan to continue with my music learning. Taking up the piano (post-transplant) helped me immensely when dealing with the complex psychological aspects of receiving a lifesaving gift. I’m very pleased to share that I sat my Grade 2 piano exam in early March and achieved a distinction! Health wise I am also waiting for hip replacement surgery, as my mobility is very much impaired due to severe osteoarthritis. I am hoping that this will go ahead at some point soon, as I am in a lot of pain and have waited a very long time already. I also desperately want to regain the ability to experience an active life again, as it will also mean that I can do more to help my partner.
I will never be able to thank everyone enough for everything throughout my kidney journey. All the incredible staff at the Heath, Morriston and Singleton, for making my transplant happen, and for all the years of dedication to my continuing health and wellbeing. Dr Catherine O’Leary, my renal psychologist, for the exceptional support that she has given me during my darkest moments, prior to and post-transplant. John O’Brien my (now retired) renal social worker, for all his support and most importantly, friendship. Everyone at Kidney Wales; Shaun Ruck, Lyn and Joan Greatrex and Billy Stevens. All the staff at Kidney Care UK. Special thanks also to Dr Mikhail, Mr Ablorsu, Mr Szabo and Stephanie Baldwin. Certainly not forgetting the amazing Hayleigh Isaac and all from the Paul Popham Fund.