Long term health conditions

Donna - Interview 25

Age at interview: 18
Age at diagnosis: 13

Brief outline: Donna was diagnosed age 13 with a kidney condition called Mesangiocapillary Glomerulonephritis type II. After diagnosis she was on medication and remained stable for three years. But her condition deteriorated and she needed a kidney transplant. Her mother was her donor. Her sudden deterioration affected her physically and also emotionally. She became depressed and felt rejected and isolated from her then 'group of friends'.

Background: Donna lives at home with her mother, stepdad and younger brother. She is recuperating at home from a kidney transplant. Ethnic background/nationality' White British.

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Donna was diagnosed at the age of 13 with a kidney condition called Mesangiocapillary Glomerulonephritis (MCGN) type II. Type II means that even after a transplant it can come back. After diagnosis she was put on a high dose of a steroid called prednisolone and she remained stable for three years. During that time she was able to attend school and lived life like any other teenager with the only difference being that she had to take a quite a few tablets everyday. After three years her condition deteriorated fast and her doctors found a lot more blood and protein in her urine which showed that her kidneys were damaged. She had a second renal biopsy which showed that the tiny holes that filtered her blood in her kidneys were getting bigger so she was losing the minerals and nutrients her body needed. Her kidneys, because they were not working properly, were holding back extra fluid in her body, and she was getting very 'puffy' looking. She said that she looked like she was 'nine months pregnant' and that it was difficult and painful to walk and that she felt tired all the time. She then went back to hospital and after a week of unsuccessful attempts to reduce her body fluid she was started on dialysis. She was very scared and equated 'renal failure' with death. The doctors told her that she would be on four hours of dialysis three days a week until a donor could be found for her to have a transplant. Luckily her mother was her donor and she had a kidney transplant in 2005.

This sudden deterioration in her condition was very tough on her both physically and emotionally. She was unable to attend school regularly or take her GCSE's. She felt rejected and isolated from her then 'group of friends' as they failed to understand what she was going through. She began to self-harm and felt unable to talk to others but she was able to write notes to her mother expressing her thoughts and emotions. She said that the support and love of her mother, other members of her family and her nurse all helped her overcome her negative feelings and she stopped self harming. 

In general she thinks that the positive thing that has come out of her experience is that it is has made her family much closer. She also said that she now appreciates her step dad more than before she had her transplant.


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