Stories from the clinic - The Clinic - Home - Virgen Blanca

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My name is MITXEL LOLO and this is my story as a haemodialysis patient in Clinica IMQ Virgen Blanca. It all started in May 2009. I was diagnosed with a tumour of the ascending colon and chronic renal failure. I was 42 years old.

For me and my family it was like a bad dream, but today I can say that despite being a difficult experience, it has been a test of personal growth for me. I saw my broken family, plagued both by disease and such difficult times. For me, what am I going to say, I was paralysed and to see my family that way, I could not stand this.

It was then that I realized that I had to get up and fight, for me at first and then for them. In June I had surgery for colon cancer and everything went very well. But after the surgery, I had to undergo the respective chemotherapy sessions. They were 21 days each and up to 6 sessions.

They could only give me 5 sessions because with the chronic renal failure my kidneys could not endure any more sessions of chemotherapy. They let me rest a while and informed me that I would have to go on dialysis, and I would get a fistula in the arm... Everything sounded strange to me, I didn't know what dialysis was or what a fistula for dialysis was. I was told wait for a call from Nephrology at the Clinica IMQ Virgen Blanca to start treatment.

During that period of time I reflected, looked at my family and decided that I should try to become the person that I had always been, draw strength from within and move from the role of "sick person" to "facilitator" of the family and friends, always smiling even though the reality is that you have very hard moments of solitude but... before those never.

I've always been the joker of the house, the joyful one.. .and that’s why they all suffer more if they saw me as "low" and without that joyful spirit. So I began my fight, I drew strength that did not know I had and began the story of I will overcome this Yes or Yes.

I didn't know it then, but it is incredible, a fighter is everything, and I learned that throughout the years of treatment.

A few weeks later they called me from the Nephrology department of the Clinica IMQ Virgen Blanca.  Dr.Iribar and Dr.Román informed me of the procedure that I was to follow, food, weight when I get to dialysis, fluids, medication, exercise... and the days that I would have to go in (in my case Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

And it is here, where another milestone or change in your "normal" life begins, now you have to adapt to being a patient on haemodialysis.

You have to watch what you eat, what you drink... to not exceed the limits (then you drag around excess kilos all week!), but above all... be calm and be mindful of what you can and you should not do, and above all follow the advice of the doctors, and also... cheer up!

I will not hide that the first month is hard, it's something new for you, and it involves changes, with food and in day to day activities... I knew that I had to fight, not lower my head or look backwards, but always... ahead!

And you're not alone, because a pleasant surprise that I had was the great team of professionals that I had: doctors, nurses, supervisor... how they take care of you, encourage you, and give you all kinds of explanations or information when you need it.

They make your life easier, you and the rest of patients, your companions. There is a magnificent human touch and always with exquisite attention to each patient, and that makes everything easier. You build a new family. You celebrate that the son of John has managed to get a pass in Maths (1) or the tantrum of Maria’s son (1) who lost on Sunday 3-10 in the football game; or how they celebrated  Ignacio’s birthday (1)... The truth is that you make friends. Today, even having finished the treatment, I'm still maintaining a relationship with many of them and I am still going to the clinic, to greet the whole team. It is your other family.

Ah! And I must not forget to mention the dialysis croissants! how wonderful! the best! I have never enjoyed or will enjoy such delicacies.

For 5 and a half years, I have shared part of my life with all of them. When I did not see one of them on the couch, I was always afraid that something had happened. But on many occasions the absences were very well justified, because they had been called in for a transplant. And.. .so much made me happy! There I didn't think that they had not called me, just thought that my companion could finally have another chance. Whenever they called companions for a transplant, I felt it like they called me, I was so happy, because you care about them and forget that your you are also waiting for a transplant and you are happy for them. I shared his happiness, from the depths of my heart.

During those years, I did not deprive myself of holidays. I was not going to give myself up to the disease and stay attached to the machine. Through the doctors at the ClinicaVirgen Blanca and the Renal Patient Association, ALCER, I managed my travels in advance so I could receive dialysis in the affiliated hospitals where I was going to spend my holiday. And with dialysis and all... I enjoyed the summer with family and friends.

I also received the call.  After 5 years of dialysis, I joined the transplant list; for me it was a very important step. One more step in my life.  I was going to get back everything that I dreamed of.

And in May, after 5 and a half years of dialysis, they called me to come in for a kidney transplant. It was a reward for my fight without rest that is the fight which each haemodialysis patient must make... Never surrender!
To this day, in November 2016, a year and a half after the transplant...the life change is radical but always retaining the criterion of prudence and tranquility.

You can have a completely normal life... taking care of yourself, taking the medication properly, without excesses and always following the advice of doctors.

Lastly, I want to launch a message of confidence through this note to patients who go for haemodialysis at Virgen Blanca, because there you will find a group of excellent professionals and will be care for with special affection.

To all the companions who are there and who go to haemodialysis at Virgen Blanca, I send you only 3 words:

Forward, never surrender!


(1) Fictitious names.