Monday, 26 November 2012


With nervous anticipation Natasja and I made our way to the hospital this morning. It felt so surreal sitting there on the train, thinking tomorrow is the big day we've been looking forward to for so many months.

When we arrived at Ward 9F of the Renal Unit at 11:30 I was told they were waiting for a bed to become available as they are full. We were told we could go visit Pieter in the meantime. When we got to his bed Lizelle and his mom Marietjie were there. It was so nice to see them all and especially to meet Marietjie in person. Until now we had only talked through emails. She is the same lovely, kindhearted and caring person I had imagined from her emails. She jumped up and gave me the biggest hug and started crying with happiness and grattitude. I was so touched by her emotions and again realised what this means to Pieter, his family and friends. It's such an amazing ability to bring happiness and hope back to these wonderful people. And to now be a part of the wonderful family.

As we sat there casually talking and getting to know Marietjie, Sister Lilly came to say hello. It's always nice to see her. She explained to us that we will have some blood taken, chest X-rays taken and an ECG done during the course of the day.

We also opted to volunteer for a trial experiment during which they restrict the blood flow from one arm for 5 minutes and release it for 5 minutes, which is done 4 times. This apparently forces the body to release a chemical aimed at protecting the arm from a perceived trauma. These chemicals in turn protect the major organs too, keeping it safe during the transplant process. This will be done once again in the morning before the operation.

At 15:00 my bed was finally ready in the room next to Pieter's. Natasja kindly unpacked my suitcase while nurse Jacky took my blood pressure, measured my weight etc. and checked my medical background. When this was done Natasja, Lizelle and Marietjie went home, leaving Pieter and I to sit and reflect on this huge miracle which has finally come to reality.

Pieter left for his very last dialysis at about 18:00, and I received my dinner shortly after. There is a nice selection of food, and I opted for Cornish pie with sweetcorn and mash, and a toffee yoghurt for dessert. Before I was able to start my dinner my surgeon, Dr Roberto Cacciola arrived to run the procedure by me again and for me to sign a consent form. He was again very kind and helpful and I'm very pleased that he will be performing my operation.

An hour later another doctor came to do a quick check-up with some medical history questions. After that I was sent to the X-ray department for my chest X-rays.

At 22:00 I finally had my ECG. Now I can finally get a good night's sleep before the operation. I have to get up at 06:00 to shower, get prepped, arm pressure experiment, see my loved ones, and get wheeled off for the operation at 08:00.

I would like to thank my amazing wife Natasja for all her love and support, she is my rock, and without her it would've been a much harder path. Also to my family, friends and colleagues who have supported me in my decision from day one. You are all amazing. And off course to Pieter, Lizelle, his family and friends for all their love, advice and kind words.

I know this transplant will go amazingly well and that Pieter and I will live full, healthy lives. I'll be doing a post operation post soon!


  1. We keep you guys and your families in our prayers. D-day around the corner!

  2. You are our hero & we are blessed to have you and Natasja in our lives! xxx

  3. Thank you John. May it go well with you and Pieter. We know every situation is under control. We commit you both to the mighty healing power of our Lord Jesus Christ. xxxx

  4. Oh my goodness, I can't believe that it will all be over now - it's 18.08pm
    Bless you all, I will pray for speedy recoveries and long, happy, healthy lives :0) Mo x

  5. I have just followed Natasja's link to your blog. What a wonderful story, I had tears in my eyes while I browsed through. I wish you all the very best and hope you both make a quick and full recovery.
    Emma xx

  6. I think that if I don't hear something soon I'm going to explode! I know in my heart that this was a blessed event so it was good and everything is ok. Sometimes my brain starts fritzing with my heart, niggling, whispering and just plainly tormenting my heart. Thus I am waiting on pins and needles to hear from either of you. Don't make me come over there! Lol

  7. Thanks to every single one of you for your support and good wishes, I means the world to me. Sorry for taking so long with the follow-up posts Gale, the operation took it's toll on me and I barely had the energy to talk. I'm much better now and getting stronger every day ;-)