Leading an active life despite kidney disease - Daniel Gallego
It was 1993, my first year at University, I was 19 years old. Life had just begun, and I was ready to start discovering what it was all about. I was often very thirsty – but didn’t think much of it. One day, I noticed my ankle was swollen. It wasn’t painful, just a mild sprain perhaps, but I decided to go to the hospital to get it checked.
The diagnosis was a total shock: my kidneys were damaged. I felt totally devastated, and I didn’t want to live with a kidney condition.
I couldn´t believe that healthcare system and professionals were unable to heal me or treat me, to restore my kidney function. Being diagnosed with chronic kidney disease meant my life would depend on being hooked up to a machine every second day. Nothing could have prepared me for what felt like a life sentence. I didn’t know what it meant to be “normal” anymore…actually, I'm undergoing haemodialysis treatment since 1995 until today in 2023, no matter where or when, I need it to survive.
My expectations and hopes were on a kidney transplant, so in 1998, after 3 years on the waiting list, I had the call from the hospital for the surgery. Unfortunately, due to an early recurrence of my kidney disease, I had to come back to dialysis in only 4 years.
Over the years, I have learned that my kidney disease does not define me. The only time I feel like a kidney patient is during haemodialysis sessions. When I finish my treatment, I am just like everyone else: someone with dreams, hobbies and aspirations. I aim to live a fulfilling life, as any healthy person would.
I try to be active both physically and mentally, to be on the move and go places, travelling worldwide, even in haemodialysis. I strongly believe mobility is a right for kidney patients, not just a privilege.
More than anything, I value my independence and being able to realise my dreams, like travel and discovering other cultures.
If it is there, I will find it! So far I’ve been travelling in more than 30 countries overseas such as India, the Philippines, Indonesia, USA, Canada, Colombia, Japan and Thailand… who knows where life will take me next? It’s my goal to find out what’s beyond the horizon!
The importance of a check up
Almost as simple as washing hands - a little urine test could prevent dialysis and transplantation.