Newbridge woman is playing the donor waiting game

Sonia Treacy, who will be out in force on Saturday, April 28 next to cheer on the jockeys in the Punchestown Charity Race for the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, is currently waiting for her second kidney transplant

Sonia Treacy, who will be out in force on Saturday, April 28 next to cheer on the jockeys in the Punchestown Charity Race for the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, is currently waiting for her second kidney transplant

PRO of the Punchestown Kidney Research Fund, the Newbridge native said she was always “prone to kidney infections”.

“At the age of 21 I set off on my first holiday alone with the girls to the Gran Canaries. The usual fun and frolics happened over the week.

“However near the end of the week I got very sick and had to call the doctor out. He said I had a serious kidney infection and would give me tablets to get me home and then I was to see my own GP,” she said.

“When I arrived home thinking ‘I’ll never be allowed away on my own again’, I went to see my GP. She was concerned and sent me to see a consultant in Dublin to get more tests done.

“After a week or so, the consultant called me in and said that I had a thing called reflux and because I had it from birth and wasn’t diagnosed that I now only had 20 percent function left in my kidneys and that in the future I would have to go on dialysis and have a kidney transplant. I remember coming out with mam thinking they have to be wrong. I didn’t feel sick maybe a little tired.”

Unfortunately, in less than three years Sonia’s kidneys failed and in March 2000 she started dialysis.

“I had a home machine which meant that I could continue to work and try and keep my life as normal as possible,” added Sonia, who works for Pfizer in Newbridge.

“It’s not normal though. You feel constantly tired like you have a bad flu that you just can’t shake.

At 24 years of age I wanted to be out having fun with my friends and travelling sometimes this was hard.”

Then on December 28 2000, shegot the best Christmas and New Year’s present she could ever wish for, a call from Beaumont to tell her they had a kidney for her.

“After just 10 days I was home. You can’t explain the feeling, you know you have had surgery but your body has this new energy and life running through it that you just can’t believe is possible.

“I went back to work, I went back swimming and I had a lot of socialising to catch up on. My energy was great and I felt like I could do anything.

“I was never really sporty before but when I heard about the transplant games and met a few people in the same situation as me I decided to take them on, what started as a trial is still a ritual today.”

Sonia got eight good years with her new kidney but complications arose and in December 2008 she started back on dialysis again.

“I had gotten so sick this time before dialysis that 2009 was a very bad year. I spent it in and out of hospital. I had to do haemo dialysis instead of the home machine as I had to have a few operations. I never liked haemo as I sometimes found it long and lonely.

“In 2010 my mam and dad got tested to see if they could being living donors. My dad was a match after months of tests Beaumont were happy to set a date for our transplant.

“Unfortunately after doing blood tests on me they discovered that I had developed another antibody which would have rejected my dad’s kidney.I was glad that we had discovered this before my dad was operated on but he was very upset – so it was back to the playing the waiting game.

“Later that year I took part in the European Transplant and Dialysis games where I won silver in the 100m and silver in the long jump.

“This was a great opportunity for me to focus on something positive and not just my illness and my life on dialysis,” she said.

Currently there are 1, 890 patients on dialysis including 600 patients awaiting transplants in Ireland.

All funds raised by the Punchestown charity race, which has raised E1.2 million since it stared in 1990, will go to supporting research, equipment and facilities for patients with kidney disease.