Wayne Iselin

Staying Strong in Mind

Life is too short to be bitter, angry, sad or selfish said Wayne Iselin, a Mununjali Noonuccal man who was making his own funeral plans four years ago.

In 1987 Wayne was a fit 21 year old, an avid footy player and cricketer with a solid job with the Beaudesert Council when he received the news that he had kidney disease - the silent killer. 

"I was a non-smoker, social drinker, fit as a fiddle young and bullet-proof and here I was being told I had crook kidneys. I was in disbelief", said Wayne.

He had suffered some tiredness and had kidney pains but hadn't thought the problem was serious until after a battery of tests told otherwise.

"It took time to accept, but when I did I knew I had to look after my kidneys to stay off dialysis as long as I could".

Wayne remained a non-smoker, minimised his drinking, got regular medical checkups, changed his diet, maintained his active life style and kept a strong work ethic.

He started on dialysis in 2007, 20 years after being diagnosed. At that stage, he only had 12 percent kidney function.

"I felt sorry for myself, but I kicked myself in the backside and picked up my lip and thought these are the cards I have been dealt, so get on with it".

Wayne was placed on peritoneal dialysis (PD) and dialysed 10 hours each night at home. He did this for four and a half years.

"Doing PD at night meant I could still keep working driving trucks and keep connected to my family and friends", he said.

He admits to going through some rough times but his mum and his partner at the time kept him strong. He said it was a testing time for everyone.

Wayne was placed on the kidney transplant list and in 2011 he received his call from the Renal Transplant Unit at the Princess Alexandra Hospital that a matching kidney from a donor had been found for him.

"I had been deteriorating and I had got to point where I had made my own funeral arrangements even choosing what music I wanted played. I was in disbelief when the call came; it's a gift I thought I'd never get".

Wayne's transplant was successful but his mum died suddenly less than a month after his surgery closely followed by two mates who took their own lives.

"I went to three funerals in 10 days and I can say it knocked me around a bit", said Wayne.

Wayne said that it hasn't been all plain sailing but he has come along way and still has further to go, but he maintains that he gets his strength from within.

"We all have strength but we need clear head space to bring it out so we can meet the challenges that life throws at us. There are people out there who are willing to help but don't expect other people to do for you what you can do for yourself because you can surprise yourself if you really try".

For more information about organ and tissue donation go to www.donatelife.gov.au