A LONG-suffering Eastbourne man whose kidney problems mean he can drink less than a pint of fluid every day has taken to Facebook to try and find an organ donor.
Nathanael Adams was born with dysplastic kidneys and had to be fed through a tube directly into his stomach until the age of three when he received his first transplant.
And, apart from a few teething problems and regular trips to a London hospital for treatment, his childhood was as normal as anyone could expect.
He played football, went to parties, had a healthy appetite and was no different to any of his friends growing up at the same time.
As he got older his kidney kept doing its job and the 29-year-old even became a water sports instructor, always keen to live life to the full.
However, as he explained to the Herald this week, the relative calm did not last.
“I was able to do everything that normal children like doing,” he said. “Then, in the later stages of my kidney’s life I spent many a happy summer teaching others what I enjoyed doing. Windsurfing and sailing were my passions back then and I did all that living with just one kidney. “Unfortunately thought the day I had been dreading came in August 2003. After almost 17 years with my transplanted kidney I was told by doctors that I would have to start dialysis, and be placed on the transplant waiting list for another kidney, as my transplant was starting to fail.
“I’m not ashamed to say that I did a lot of crying back then. I had taken it for granted that it would last me a lifetime, and had tried to ignore the doctors who had said I’d probably need another kidney.”
Mr Adams quickly had to face up to the prospect of what could be a lengthy wait for a suitable donor. It would be fair to say though that he never expected to be still on the look-out almost a decade later.
Seven years on from finding out he needed a second procedure, Mr Adams faces the grind of having to undergo the most aggressive form of dialysis – one which brings with it severe restrictions on his diet.
He can only have 500mls of fluid in 24 hours and as he says, “There seem to be more things that you are not allowed to eat, than the things that you can.”
Family have been screened but no match found, leaving Mr Adams counting not just the physical cost of waiting for a transplant but also suffering the emotional toil.
“It can be hard sometimes,” he said. “I’ve no idea whether I’ll get that call for a transplant again. It all depends on people being signed up to the organ donor register to donate their organs after death, or else deciding that they’d like to donate one of their kidney’s, in order to help someone else.
“The waiting is very hard – not just on me but those close to me. That was why my friend Jo Bastable set up the Facebook group [www.facebook.com/HelpNathanaelFindAKidney] because she wanted to do all she could to help.
“I am realistic, I know it may not find my a kidney but if it raises awareness and means more people sign up as organ donors and it means other people do not have to go through what I am that is great,
“I am amazed by the people who donate their organs, be it while they’re alive, or after death. If it weren’t for them, I would not be here today.
“To get another kidney would change my life dramatically. I would no longer have to go to hospital three times a week for dialysis, I’d be able to find myself a job and generally enjoy all that life has to offer again.”
For more information on how to register as a donor visit www.organdonation.nhs.uk or speak to your GP.