Sunderland slimmer hopes husband will be kidney donor after she sheds weight for transplant operation

A Sunderland carer is hoping her husband will be the perfect match for her to undergo a life-changing kidney transplant.

Sunday, 8th September 2019, 08:00 am
Karen Graham with husband Peter Graham on their wedding day in 2005.

Karen Graham was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in 2013 following a visit to the doctors about her severe headaches.

The check-up revealed that she had ‘dangerously high’ blood pressure and blood tests that followed found that she had the condition with just 30% kidney function.

Karen, 49, said: “I have always been overweight, but when I left work to become a carer for my mum four years ago, I just gained more weight.

Slimmer Karen Graham before and after her weight loss.

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“I used to get a lot of headaches so went to the doctors and was told my blood pressure was dangerously high.

“I put it down to being overweight, but the doctor said it was something else and I had blood tests which came back as chronic kidney disease.”

She continued: “In the last few years my kidney function has decreased to just 17%–19% and I will need dialysis if it reaches 15%.

“But my consultant at Sunderland Royal Hospital said if you try and lose weight we can put you on the transplant list before you need dialysis.”

Karen Graham before and after her weight loss transformation.

That was the moment that Karen decided to take action and joined the Slimming World group at Grangetown Community Centre in September 2018.

Since then she has overhauled her lifestyle to lose an impressive 3st 10.5lb and has gone from a size 22-24 to a size 16-18.

She now has just 2st to lose before she hits her target weight.

Karen then hopes her husband, Peter Graham, 50, will be a match for her to receive a kidney transplant.

In the meantime she is regularly seeing the consultant at Sunderland Royal Hospital to monitor her blood pressure and has been able to reduce her intake of of blood pressure tablets from three to two through losing the weight.

Karen continued: “Healthwise my kidney disease is not going to improve, but losing the weight has been the best thing I have ever done.

“Having chronic kidney disease means that some days it feels like having a hangover but without the headaches – I feel groggy for most of the day.

“But since losing the weight I feel a lot different.

“I now have two stone to go before I hit my target weight and can go on the transplant list.

“My husband will then have tests to see if he can be a kidney donor.

“It will be life-changing to get the transplant, to get a normal life back will be the best thing ever.”

Diet before

Breakfast: Tea and biscuits.

Lunch: Sandwich, crisps, chocolate bar.

Dinner: A take away such as pizza or curry.

Snacks: Biscuits and three cans of coke.

Diet after

Breakfast: Cereal or a full English breakfast made with Frylight oil.

Lunch: Fat-free yogurt.

Dinner: Homemade meals such as garlic chicken or stir fry.

Snacks: Fruit or chocolate bar.