#IAmASurvivor are stories from women of all walks of life, telling their stories of survival. Everybody is a survivor and all stories deserve to be told. These stories are all in their own words.
From dialysis to kidney transplant
My name is Cally Williams. I'm a 29 year old mother to a beautiful daughter.
8 years ago, when my daughter was only 6 months old, I suddenly got very sick. I just collapsed at home and my dad took me to the hospital. Before I collapsed at home I did have some symptoms. I didn't have an appetite, felt tired most of the time, had swelling in my legs and ankles and had abdominal pain. When I went to my GP she only told me my iron was low.
When we got at the hospital they did some tests and I was rushed into the ICU, I almost died that day.
The doctor told us that I have kidney failure and that I should go on dialysis because there's nothing else he could do for me... So the doctor inserted my catheter (A dialysis catheter is a catheter used for exchanging blood to and from a haemodialysis machine and a patient.) I didn't know how to feel at first because I didn't know much about kidney failure and when the doctor explained it to me my world came crashing down and that was the worst day of my entire life. And ever since that day I was on dialysis for 8 years.
At first I couldn't accept it, I cried myself to sleep. Was stressed, depressed, I lost a lot of weight. I had to be at the dialysis unit 3 times a week and I had dialysis every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for four hours. The life experience for me was devastating and overwhelming. It drained me out and made me tired always. I lost hope and faith along the way. It also made me believe that my life was over. But as time passed by I came to the realization that my life wasn't over yet and I told myself I have to stay positive no matter what. This was only the beginning. The beginning of saving my life. The beginning of allowing me to see tomorrow, my family, friends and loved ones again. It was the beginning process of fighting until I was gifted.
I also had a great support system. My mom passed away when I was 10 years old so my dad has been both a mom and dad all these years. My dad is my hero. I've been on his medical aid all my life. He even went for tests a few years ago, he was going to give me his kidney but both his kidneys aren't 100%
I honestly wouldn't of been here today if it weren't for my dad.
I'm blessed with the most amazing family, I'm so thankful for my sisters, brothers and extended family for all there prayers and support throughout these years. And my daughter Chloé is the main reason I never gave up. She is such an amazing angel child, she's strong, sweet, intelligent. She always knows how to put a smile on my face. She's my pride, my joy, my everything!
Even though dialysis is terrible, the staff at the renal unit always made me feel better. We are like family, the amount of love they give us as patients is unexplainable. So every time I went for dialysis wasn't that bad. When you have people that understand what you're going through it gets better. I'm truly thankful for them and they will always be in my heart. Even the other patients, my fellow warriors are so special to me.
On 4 March I received a phone call that changed my life forever. The lady who phoned told me they've got a kidney for me and I should pack my things and come to Cape Town immediately. I had to be at Christiaan Barnard hospital at 6am the following day. I couldn't believe it. I was happy and stressed at the same time. I was filled with so much emotions. I contacted my aunt and gave the good news, she told me she'll make a way to get me in Cape Town. Then while I was busy packing one of the Sisters at my unit contacted me and told me that she'll take me to Cape Town. The Lord had sent an angel to my rescue. I was blessed to have received donations from the staff at the renal unit and many people from Uitenhage. So my aunt Mercia Heilbron and Sr. Salome Siebritz took me to Cape Town. We departed at 9pm and arrived there the following morning at 5:30 just in time. The drive was about 800km.
When I got there they did more tests and then prepared me for surgery at 8 am the operation was 4 hours and it was a success. I am extremely blessed and highly favoured.
Thank you Lord for this gift. Thank you to my organ donor in heaven. You have saved my life and for that I will be forever grateful.
Also special thanks to Sr. Salome, my aunt, all the people who gave donations, the staff and my family. I appreciate and love you all. May God bless you.
Life after transplant has been amazing so far. I feel so much healthier, I've got more energy and I feel like a new person. I go for a check up every 2nd week and everything still looks good. I'm blessed and so grateful!
I would like to say to all of you who are still waiting for a kidney or going through anything difficult in life. Never give up. Hold on to your faith and try and stay positive. Leave it in God's hands. His timing is perfect. Miracles do still happen. I am one. I'm a living testimony!
Connect with Cally on Instagram.