A 45-year-old woman from Pietermaritzburg got a kidney
transplant in June 2018 after nearly six years of suffering with renal
Former tennis coach, Hayley Herman discovered she had kidney
problems in 2012 after going for X-rays and blood tests for a shoulder injury –
with the tests picking up she had renal failure and high levels of creatinine
in her body which signifies impaired kidney function.
After initially being misdiagnosed by a specialist in
Howick, she had an allergic reaction to Vancomycin, an antibiotic prescribed to
patients with acute renal failure.
“I had a severe skin reaction,” she said.
“It was a rare allergy known as red man syndrome where my
skin was red and inflamed which caused my whole body to swell, I lost a lot of
hair as well.”
It was only in 2013 after she saw another specialist named
Dr Siddique that she received the correct medical treatment for her condition.
“Dr Siddique was the nephrology specialist who changed all
my medication and placed me on haemodialysis (a process of purifying the
Hayley has always been a sportswoman and took part in
satellite tennis tournaments in South Africa. She also did mountain bike racing
for about two years.
“I played professional tennis for 14 years and competed in
tournaments in Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal before taking part
in mountain bike racing from 2009 to 2010,” she said.
The dialysis cost R1 800 for each four-hour session, with
the process leaving her feeling drained and exhausted.
“I had dialysis three times a week. It was really painful,
especially the two needles that are placed in your arm for the sessions.
“[Patients on dialysis] are also restricted to 500ml of
liquid a day.”
Hayley’s condition also caused her great emotional turmoil
and she often felt ostracised and alone.
“It was very hard on my parents as they felt so helpless. It
was a difficult time as my family didn’t support me except for my Mom and Dad,”
She was put on the donor list in October 2017 and found it
really hard to get a match because there were only a few available donors.
“I was totally isolation at home for three months after my
transplant on 2 June. I’m still in slight isolation, having to wear a mask when
in public places because I’m always susceptible to infections.”
After her ordeal and life-saving transplant, she wants to
encourage others to become donors.
“[Organ] donors are so important they can save up to nine
“It’s so easy to become a donor and it can be done online,
just go to the Organ Donor Foundation or
call the toll-free hotline on 0800 226 611.”