Organ donation

Janice - Interview 05

Age at interview: 43

Brief outline: Janice received a kidney from her older brother in 1999, when she was 31. Both she and her brother are well. Since her transplant she has had a healthy set of twins.

Background: Janice is a civil servant. She is divorced and has 2 children. Ethnic background / nationality' White British.

Audio & video

Janice received a kidney from her older brother in 1999, when she was 31. Growing up, she said she had always been more tired than other people. Through her twenties, she become increasingly lethargic and, around 1996, was no longer able to work. She was also having rashes on her body, looking very yellow and feeling unwell all the time. For two years she had no diagnosis. On one occasion, however, her GP referred her to hospital, where she stayed for two weeks. Tests showed that her kidneys had failed and she was given emergency dialysis. Once she improved slightly, she was put on normal haemodialysis, which she had for eight or nine months. This is a method for removing waste products such as creatinine and urea, as well as free water from the blood, when the kidneys are in renal failure.

While on dialysis, Janice said she was too ill to do very much. She stayed at home all the time, hardly ate, and became very thin and depressed. During this time, her two brothers and a friend offered to donate one of their kidneys to her. Her older brother was a compatible match and, in April 1999, Janice had a kidney transplant, aged 31. Leading up to the transplant, Janice said she felt guilty because her brother, who had so far been healthy, would be going through an operation. She felt particularly guilty after the operation when he was in pain.

Janice was in hospital for two weeks and recalled that she felt well again almost immediately. She said her brother never talks about this event and prefers to get on with his life. He is well and healthy. She recovered well too and, since then, has had a set of twins. She said she conceived soon after recovery and was monitored throughout her pregnancy. She had a smooth pregnancy until about 33 weeks, and her twins were born five weeks early by Caesarean section. Janice stayed in hospital for ten days for extra monitoring. The twins were, and remain, healthy and have no kidney problems. 

For over ten years Janice has been well and now has follow-up appointments every three months. She has anaemia and takes iron tablets daily as well as anti-rejection medications. She is now able to live her life as normal and has returned to work. 


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