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I think of donor all the time, says transplant mum

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Suzanne Best and family

Suzanne Best and family

Suzanne Best and family

Suzanne Best is looking forward to a slap-up Christmas dinner with all the trimmings - thanks to a life-changing kidney transplant.

It was a very different story this time last year for the mum of one, who had to be careful about everything she ate.

Five years ago, Suzanne (36), who lives in Lucan with her husband John (37) and seven-year-old daughter Alannah, woke up with difficulty breathing and called a doctor.

She was told to go immediately to the emergency department.

wonderful

"I was put on oxygen and they were trying to work out what was wrong with me, and I ended up in intensive care and ended up crashing and being put on life-support," she said.

"I woke up and I was on a dialysis machine. I knew nothing about dialysis or what it did.

"My consultant told me my kidneys had failed, but because they had now shrunk to being tiny they couldn't tell me what had caused it."

Suzanne was put on the list for a kidney transplant some months later.

Then 10 months ago, she received a "wonderful" call to say a donor had been found.

"It was a Monday morning, I was just about to leave for dialysis. You can imagine, I just broke down," she said.

"The transplant coordinator was extremely good at guiding me to get to the hospital as quickly as possible."

Suzanne underwent the transplant operation at Beaumont Hospital last February, and her donor kidney worked perfectly from the start.

"I feel amazing, and it's thanks to my wonderful donor who I think about all of the time. Amazingly, now I am doing Zumba classes. It's just a transformation," she said.

"I eat very healthily and drink loads and loads of water."

It is the first festive season since Suzanne became ill that she has not had to stick to a super-strict diet.

"People think it's just junk food, but it's not - you're restricted on fruit and vegetables as well," she said.

"You're not allowed to eat too much protein. Christmas pudding, mince pies - you're not allowed to touch them.

"Gravy is not allowed because it's high in salt. You're not allowed coffee because it's high in potassium, and so are bananas. You're not allowed waffles or chips.

"When I was on dialysis, I used to say it's eating for survival, not for enjoyment.

"You can't go out for a meal because you don't know what's in the food, and if you do you have to be really, really careful what you order."

tribute

Tomorrow, however, Suzanne will be able to eat a Christmas dinner like everyone else around the table.

She paid tribute yesterday to the Irish Kidney Association for the help it gives people.

She recently set up a group, the Kidney Disease Support Group, which aims to bring patients together to chat in a relaxed environment.

For an organ donor card Freetext the word DONOR to 50050.

fdillon@herald.ie


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