Marc Anderson began to suspect that something was wrong with his health at age 15 (supplied, Marc Anderson)
Marc Anderson was only 15 when he suspected something might be wrong with his health.
His father, Stuart, was about to undergo major surgery, and while visiting him at the hospital, the nurses noticed that Anderson and his younger brother Patrick were worried. To reassure the boys, they were given “health checks”.
“The nurses put the heart rate monitor on our fingers and took our blood pressure, but they couldn’t read,” says Anderson, now 21, near St Andrew’s.
“It was really weird, but we didn’t think about it too much because I felt good.
Read more: Uncontrolled high blood pressure in many patients
“But two months later he was visiting my barn and we were playing with his blood pressure kit. When I caught my blood pressure, the reading was out of scale.
“I told my mother, who reassured me that everything was going well, as she had no other symptoms, but after she mentioned it to her co-workers, they suggested I consult a doctor.”
A few days later, Anderson was admitted to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee because doctors could not figure out why his blood pressure was surprisingly high.
Marc Anderson underwent dialysis before receiving a kidney transplant. (Supplied by Marc Anderson)
“I was so scared. I had to stay in the hospital for five days and they did so many tests and scans, but it was still a puzzle,” Anderson says.
“Doctors thought my blood pressure could be a side effect of the growth hormones I had to take as a child. They managed to stabilize it with medication and for the next two years I felt good.”
But at 17 things started to go wrong.
Read more: Organ donation: what are the facts?
“I felt nauseous all the time and was out of food and certain smells made me feel really bad,” Anderson recalls. “I was bloated and bloated and I felt really sick.
“They did more tests on me and when the doctors realized it was a problem with my kidney and I might need a transplant, I was hysterical.
The story goes on
“I was so scared. It seemed like such a big thing to me. I was still so young and scared of my future.”
At 19, Anderson was on dialysis, an experience he found distressing,
“I will never forget the day I went into the hospital for what I thought would be a‘ little procedure ’and the nurse said,‘ Do you know you have dialysis today? “My mother and I are surprised.
“Dialysis is not pleasant, but in a few hours after having it I felt such a big improvement.
“Over the next two months I would have dialysis three times a week, each of which would take four hours at a time.
Read more: Two boys suffer an organ failure after capturing E.coli on the way out of the field
“I’m very proud to have managed to keep my job and my life normal at the time. People were telling me, ‘You don’t have to go to work today if you have dialysis, but I’d say,’ No, I want it, it’s normal “It was so important to me.”
According to the charity Kidney Research UK, there are currently around three million people living with kidney disease in the UK and 64,000 depend on dialysis or a transplant to stay alive. Kidney disease increases and five people die each week on the waiting list for a kidney transplant.
See: Four things you need to know about kidney health
In late 2018, Anderson was told he needed a kidney transplant and his father offered to be a donor, but tests revealed he was not compatible. However, her mother Julie, then 47, was the perfect match.
“It moved me a lot, as so many friends and co-workers had offered to give me one of the kidneys, but when my mother turned out to be the party it was a relief,” Anderson says.
“I had always done the maternal thing and, to be honest, I didn’t care about her at the time. I was so sick I could only think, ‘Why me?’ But I was so grateful to him that it would save my life. “
Marc Anderson says he is very grateful to his mother for giving him a kidney (Supplied, Marc Anderson)
The surgery took place in May 2019 and Anderson’s mother entered the theater four hours before her son.
“It used to be a shaky mess, but the doctors had to give me some relaxants because before I went into surgery I felt very confident and made jokes,” Anderson says.
“After waking up, I felt pretty rough, but the next day I felt a lot better. Mom struggled a little more.
“We named the new kidney The Little Bean and agreed that we all had the date of the surgery tattooed on our arms on May 22, 2019. Dad and I have done it but mom hasn’t done it yet, but it’s okay “We still did. I have such a special bond.”
Since he left surgery, every step has been up and Anderson hasn’t looked back.
“I have a lot more energy and the brain fog is gone,” he says. “The contrast is huge.
“Now I lead a much healthier life, including being a vegetarian. No one expects these things to happen, but when they do, I’ve learned to get stronger and not regret it.”
Anderson wants to raise awareness about how common kidney disease is and is excited to be caught up in his new role as Kidney Research UK’s ambassador.
“I’m a test that can affect anyone at any time. I want to return something for all the care I’ve taken and for the mother’s transplant. I’ll always be so grateful it gave me a new lease on life.”
Monitor: Exercise can benefit patients with kidney disease