My Kidney Health Will Be My Wealth in the Year of the Dragon

My Kidney Health Will Be My Wealth in the Year of the Dragon
The beautiful iconography of "Happiness" and "Good Fortune" that I hope follows me into 2024!

Hello Everyone!

Today is Chinese Lunar New Year!

We're entering the year of the Dragon, which is probably the most ostentatious of the zodiacs in its mythology and auspicious iconography in all manner of Chinese motifs throughout Chinese history and I'm sure wherever you may be there will be some feature story on the news to cover the exciting celebrations associated with this year.

However for me, the humble Rat zodiac, after perusing upon a number of horoscope websites in anticipation for today, for once I am quietly surprised by how well the fortunes align with my personal goals for the year ahead in 2024!

My horoscope for the year looks to be fairly balanced with opportunities for both success and hardship in the year to come. There is a concentration in nurturing balance in oneself and personal growth through maintaining healthy habits and consolidation of skills already in possession. The guidance towards stability and consolidation is to balance the warnings against taking on unrealistic goals and risks but instead practise humility and gratitude.

I find it particularly apt that my horoscope for health to be approached with caution. Some websites even went so far to say to look after urology and kidney function! Much advice given surrounding drinking plenty of water or green tea alongside healthy habits in clean diet, exercise and sleep.

Of course, whether one believes in these horoscopes or not is up to the individual but I am very pleased to say that these all very much align with my personal goals that I had set on January 1st and then again in my re-evaluation on 31st January.

But first, I have some very exciting news to share with you all and that is...

10 February 2024

Today, also happens to be the my 4 month milestone since receiving my kidney transplant on Tuesday 10th October 2023!

The four months since my 3 minute transplant call on Monday 9th October 2023 at 22:28 has been a whirlwind of joy, pain, grief and gratitude. All of which, I felt happened paradoxically both simultaneously and exclusively and at exponential rates during any one day.

My pain, paranoia and psychology of it all prevented me from releasing this news any sooner and in any other format than a blog post here on this website. It was an incredibly unexpected call. I was already midway through my dialysis cycle for the night, and was getting ready to write a post for the week when I got an unknown caller appear on my phone!

I have no regrets though, and that private interlude of my recovery is something that I reflect now with great feeling and believe that it was the necessary time needed to become more acquainted with my new kidney, my refreshed mind and my renewed spirit. I will certainly be posting upcoming updates of my experience in this year.

The one thing that has only grown exponentially since my transplant has been the sincere gratitude I have for the anonymous donor from the NHS transplant list who donated their kidney to me. It is an incredibly profound feeling that I have and hold within me surrounding the donation and surgery.

The Organ Donation tag line has always been "the gift of life" and it is only in post-transplant life do I believe that there are no truer words.

It is indeed the greatest gift any one person can give.

I am still reeling on its receipt. I find it difficult to comprehend this insurmountable and unpayable gift from this anonymous donor. This stranger who gave me back my future, my physicality, and even the very essence of who I am, my mind. Yet, to never be able to thank them or appreciate their generosity of their organ donation choice nor their family's continued consent of this gift might leave one with a lack of closure.

However, my thoughts on this matter have only left me humbled and continue to strive to live my best life. A life fulfilled to the standards of my core values. These core values that change with me as I experience more of the world that I live in.

It must sound clichéd or overexaggerated to say I feel reborn, but I realise now that I was both myself and not myself on dialysis. The Lai before dialysis, on dialysis and now transplanted are not the same. The harrowing journey of Chronic Kidney Disease culminating in End Stage Renal Failure was a transformative experience at every stage of CKD, and then again during dialysis, and now post transplantation.

I am fortunate that I can start the CKD cycle again. However, as I travel down this path again, I will do everything in my power to slow down that progression to a standstill so that I may experience all the world has to offer in this second chance I have been given.

I woke up from my transplant surgery on the 12th October 2023. I distinctly felt different from the 23 year old working 12 hour a days being told her kidneys' have failed, and the 26 year old on her third year on dialysis being overbearingly strict in every aspect of her isolated life.

Instead I find myself entirely different. I was beyond just an amalgamation of all the identities I was before.

I became someone more. I became someone new.

I am now 27 years old with a healthy kidney looking to find balance in my life between my many passions. I am armed with a mind that I have not seen in many, many years and fortified with the collective memories of all the years I have had on this planet. My core values feel like their oscillating as I get used to my new mind, body and spirited energy.

Unexpectedly, I find myself starting a new journey of self discovery of who I am now post-transplant.

My second chance of life is one that I have not yet charted, but I am happy to say that, after 3 years on dialysis, I can finally project a version of myself into the future that is not a vision of impenetrable darkness.

I am cautiously excited to find what paths I will travel to get there.

Wishing you all happiness, good health, fortune and prosperity in the upcoming year.

Take Care,


My Amended New Year's Resolutions for 2024!

Aha! Well, I will admit I started my new years resolutions being incredibly ambitious but after feeling the burn out in less than a month and having found adjusting to the other aspects of transplant life (other than learning to eat, drink 3L/day and peeing) such as not having a fixed dialysis curfew (sleep schedule), socialising and choice in general over what to do and let into my life... I found myself overly stressed out and facing constant decision fatigue.

I have since whittled it down to...

  1. Building healthy habits for my new kidney

I am committed to a low salt diet within reason.
I've let a few foods back into my life but I have sworn off potato crisps. I have swapped to eating baked/popped/fried grain alternatives. I've also committed to reducing my consumption of processed carbohydrates like bread because the salt can be extortionate. A general increase in fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet without restriction of potassium or phosphate.

Drinking a minimum of 2L a day with a target of 3L a day.

I am committed to exercising 5 days a week, measured with my rediscovered Fitbit and tracking at a minimum 30 active minutes a day to 10k steps a day.

  1. Showing self compassion in times of stress and hardship and not neglecting the time for slow activities

Working on my ability to slow down and reduce the pressure of being productive in every waking moment of my life. This is in an effort to increase general happiness and wellbeing but also not having stress induced high blood pressure again. I'm learning from my mistakes!

This includes more sleep!

  1. Take Action!

This was my initial phrase of the year, which really shows the increased risk appetite and racing enthusiasm to go all out and experience everything I could in this year in pretty much every aspect of my life: Career, Social and Hobbies.

But, mainly holidays to be honest. 😂.

However, I have since tempered this to be more specific to having an awareness of the actions I am taking each day.

Asking myself: does what I am doing on a daily basis serve me and my journey towards fulfilling my core values?

I want to be an active player in the decisions I make and create a life that fulfils all the pragmatic wants a person needs but also fulfil my core values in creativity, charity and celebration of my skillset without shame.

It's an idea and goal in progress but something I am constantly reflecting on.

  1. Incorporating Reflection and Gratitude into my daily life

Despite being number 4, it is certainly not ranked the lowest. It has never been lost on me that each day that has passed since my transplant the opportunity I have to experience the world is wholly different to the way in which I could have on dialysis.

It is and has been a huge change of perspective even from when I was on dialysis. I accept that life truly is a gift and for me it is not one in which I have any intention in squandering. However, this equally should not necessitate or fuel my ingrained behaviour for the endless pursuit of achievement and success.

It will always be the concept of balance that rings the loudest in my life.

As such, it will always be the most difficult for me to hold in this opening world of endless choice. However, I sincerely believe with practise I will be able to discern between which opportunities to accept in my life when they arise.


Can you believe how freakishly close some of these are to my horoscope for the year. I definitely felt the pull of taking some major risks this year and having fallen ill for the first time since post-transplant, which has knocked me back down a peg!

It leaves me humbled and of this quote:

"If you don't take a break, then your body will take a break for you".

Stay Active, Stay Healthy!

Wishing you all the best in this upcoming year!

Lai x

Consider following me on:
💜Instagram: @My_Kidney_and_Lai
🧡YouTube: My Kidney and Lai



IGA Nephropathy confirmed at 21. Crashed into End Stage Renal Failure at 23. Now, I share with the world my 3 years lived experience on Home Peritoneal Dialysis and Post Transplant Living 10/10/2023