Kidney transplant patient hopes the country will listen to Coronavirus advice
A kidney transplant patient, with a background in science and nuclear physics, hopes the country will listen to Government advice to stay at home and save the NHS from being overwhelmed by the Coronavirus situation.
Terry Miaoulis, 42, says the quicker everyone recognises the importance of isolating, the better for everyone.
Terry, who runs a web design business with his wife Amber McNaught, one of the UK’s most popular parenting and lifestyle bloggers, said: “This extraordinary situation has left me feeling vulnerable for the first time in ages.
“I felt it during dialysis, then again after transplant, but that feeling went as my health improved.
“I have a positive outlook on life, but it is also important to be realistic. I am high-risk, we are in uncharted territory and everyone needs to look after themselves. We all need to play a part to protect everyone.”
Terry and Amber are working from home near Edinburgh, while also caring for their toddler Max, (2), and now, more than ever, are putting healthcare and nutrition as top priority.
“Isolation is difficult, but it’s imperative everyone does this together, we are doing something good, and we are doing it together as a team. We all need to look after each other, because all of us can make a difference,” he said.
Sandra Currie, Chief Executive of Kidney Research UK, said: “This is an uncertain and difficult time for many people and particularly, as Terry describes, for those living with kidney disease, their families and friends. Along with many others he describes feeling vulnerable at this time. We are doing everything we can to ensure our research will continue and make life better for Terry and people like him both now and in the future.”
Terry chose to self-isolate before the Government advice came and has been gradually building up a stock of food and essentials over the last two months.
However, preparations did not include psychological preparation.
“Immunosuppressants makes transplant patients especially vulnerable,” Terry said. “After diagnosis, patients must mentally learn to live in a new version of ourselves. There are scars from operations, but you can’t see the scars inside of how you feel. You know you can’t go back to the person you were. There’s an echo of yourself that you can’t shake off and with the coronavirus situation, it brings a certain element of those feelings back again,” he said.
Terry graduated from Heriot Watt University in Physics in 2003 and began a job in a business management training program.
On 15 December 2003, he proposed to Amber at the Grand Canyon during a holiday trip, but by Christmas Eve he was given the devastating news he had end stage kidney failure.
“I was told my kidneys were toast and without treatment, I would have died within a week,” he said. “I’d been sick most of the trip but had no idea it was due to kidney failure.”
“I was at the beginning of my career and yet it was all stopped in an instant,” he said. “I became determined to not fall into a trap of feeling hopeless, so I re-trained.”
Web design and PR business, Hot Igloo, was launched later that year with wife Amber, a former journalist and PR executive and now one of the country’s top parent and fashion bloggers, who writes at ForeverAmber.co.uk.
On 15 December 2006, exactly two years after proposing to Amber, Terry underwent transplant surgery thanks to his brother donating one of his kidneys. The family were thrilled, especially because this already significant date was also the date their Greek culture celebrates the Saints Name Day for Terry.
“They all saw it as a good omen!” Terry said. “Everything went well and I tried to recover like a model patient, doing exactly what the transplant team told me. I got out of hospital on Christmas day which was a huge boost for me and my family.”
By January 2004, Terry was on dialysis and as he lay in the hospital bed, three times a week, for four hours a time, he taught himself graphic and web design.
Terry has a pragmatic approach to his diagnosis, but said it was important now, more than ever, for people to look after each other.
“It is important people self-isolate, clean door handles and regularly wash hands. I have been reading a lot of good research on the benefits of taking vitamin D, eat well with plenty of fruit, vegetables and nuts, try to build up your lung capacity with home exercise,” he said.
“There’s a lot we still don’t know, but it’s important we all take action now to protect not just ourselves, but also the NHS that we love so much.
“I know if I get this, I will take up a hospital bed for a long time and will be extremely expensive for the NHS to deal with. We need to work together as a team to make sure we save society from this over-burdening.
“Our grandparents risked their lives for our freedom and all we have to do to help our society endure for a new generation is to stay indoors. “12 weeks of self-quarantine will be a hard slog but it'll be easier knowing we're all doing it together,” he said.
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