We get a lot of people messaging in saying they had no idea how many people are actually affected by Kidney Disease, or how severe it can really be. For many patients pre-diagnosis, they don't realise how ill they really are.
Pat Firth, 60, thought she'd just been overly tired over last winter, until she was diagnosed with Kidney Disease in April:
"I thought: 'no wonder I have been feeling rotten and tired.' How did I get this bad so quickly? I started thinking about my family - How long did I have left, and what would happen to them without me."
Pat has been on Hemodialysis, but recently had a PD Catheter inserted ready for peritoneal dialysis later this month. She says while the treatment has made her feel better, it does have an impact on her day-to-day life:
"Dialysis has improved my health and I am feeling loads better, but, it is a huge interference in my life. I have to put dialysis before everything else. Until now I have been going to the hospital three days a week, with transport, which it highly stressful. The staff in the clinic are wonderful but the dialysis is very boring - even though we have wifi and television. I get bored very easily and can no longer do some of the activities I used to."
Pat says she is now looking forward to grasping as much freedom and independence as she can now she has started PD. She's even looking for waterproof dressings so that she can go swimming.
She says: "Technology and innovation can really help so I am seeking out solutions rather than problems."
Pat's diagnosis was not only a shock to her, but to her family as well. Pat has recently become a grandmother, and she says it's had an impact on family life:
"The more I learn about kidney disease the more I realise how many people this affects, not just the patient but their nearest and dearest. My family have been amazing - my husband is incredibly supportive. There's also my son and daughter, my son-in-law, my son's girlfriend and my new grandson (pictured with Pat above). They all have travelled here to support me. Although that is good, it means I feel I have put on them hugely to adapt their lives for me."
After being diagnosed only 3 months ago, Pat has said she's found a new lease of life:
"My friends have been great and supportive. I've really enjoyed getting out and about on non-dialysis days. I appreciate my new chance of life."
Pat is currently undergoing tests for a transplant, and we wish her all the best for the future.