Having worked with kidney patients for over 25 years, I have seen many
changes and improvements in treatment. However, this book is not a com
prehensive guide to the medical and nursing aspects of illness and treat
ment. These are mentioned briefly where it is necessary to explain the
effects of the illness and treatment on daily life.
This book is about living with kidney failure. It celebrates the fullness of
life which kidney patients can attain. It is based on the experiences of a
number of very different people for whom kidney failure has become part
of an otherwise full and rewarding life.
Most of the contributors are on the waiting list for a kidney transplant;
a few are not, either due to their own choice, or because their medical
condition makes them unsuitable for major surgery. Four have now had
transplants, so are able to talk about living well in this situation too.
Naturally, people who make a success of their life after a diagnosis of
kidney failure will, from time to time, have setbacks or bad patches. In any
chronic, life-long condition lasting over a period of several decades, it
would be unrealistic to pretend that life can be trouble-free all the time.
Many of them, however, continue to live with their kidney failure and,
more importantly, to live with it well.
After talking at length with the contributors, I was filled with admira-
tion for their courage and determination. This was a different sort of
courage from that sometimes shown in an emergency – great heroism in
the short term. But arguably, people who are living with kidney failure are
achieving something more difficult and more admirable. Dealing success
fully with a life-long condition requires, more than anything, persever
ance. This quality, and many others too, are evident in the stories they
share with us throughout this book. These stories will be an inspiration to
others facing a diagnosis of kidney failure and the need for treatment.