Mark Dobson: All signs remain very positive... that means the world to us
In his weekly column, Mark Dobson, who received a kidney from his mother, former MLA Jo-Anne, marks his latest step on the road to recovery and thanks those who continue to help him
It's strange to think that it's two weeks since I underwent surgery at Belfast City Hospital, and that's two weeks since I've been hooked up to my dialysis machine.
Mum and I are two weeks into our recovery and have been for a couple of review appointments with all the signs still remaining very positive, and that, alongside the multiple lovely messages of kindness, means the world to us both.
Mum and I made the journey to Belfast to meet with our surgeon, Tim Brown, and Dr Courtney just a few days after we both got home. Although it's still early days, my kidney function is increasing and they are both pleased with the progress we are making.
Good Friday turned out to be a very good Friday for me as mum and I headed back to the 11th floor of City Hospital, where I was scheduled to undergo a procedure to remove my haemodialysis neckline.
You may remember that I talked about the problems I had been having with my line through which I received my dialysis. It has been a permanent fixture near my right shoulder since last August. However, those problems are now a thing of the past.
Just a short procedure later and my line was gone - another step along the road to being freed from dialysis and the welcome loss of a necessary link between myself and the machine that has been keeping me alive since last August.
Being back on the ward again also gave me an opportunity to see the wonderful doctors, nurses and auxiliary staff whose healing and helping hands changed and saved my life.
The wonderful lifesavers of Ward 11 South will forever hold a special place in our hearts. The care and attention they gave to mum and I was truly amazing and we cannot thank them enough - it was great to get a chat with them and give them an update on how mum and I were both faring in our recovery.
On Friday night, when my brother, Elliott, had made the journey home from London to be with us all for Easter, we raised a glass of bubbly to celebrate our transplant!
Easter is always an important family time for us and it was lovely to have everyone around on Sunday for a special Easter lunch.
Throughout my time on dialysis, I have been on an extremely restricted diet (it's highly likely that my dietician is reading this, so I will have to be extra careful), so it was nice to be able to sample some of the delicacies which were denied to me while I was receiving my dialysis.
Finally, I want to send a special thanks to the amazing Newry nephrologist Dr John Harty, who on Saturday took on the gruelling challenge of cycling the 229km of the Tour of Flanders in Belgium.
Dr Harty was raising funds for mum's charity Kidney Care UK, which helps kidney patients and their families.
Dr Harty, who is an accomplished cyclist, is part of the dedicated team alongside Dr Neal Morgan, who look after me at Daisy Hill Hospital in Newry, and it shows monumental commitment from a dedicated professional who works with kidney patients day in and day out to continue to give back to them when he on his own time.
I have spoken many times about those who care for kidney patients and how they always go that extra mile.
However, Dr Harty has gone the whole distance to help patients.
If you would like to help support this cause, you can do so through the Just Giving donation page which remains live as it is also raising funds thanks to the teams who are going to undertake the Belfast City Marathon on May 7.
You can help support Dr Harty and the Kidney Care UK Belfast City Marathon team via: www.justgiving.com/ fundraising/teamkidneycareuk belfastmarathon2018.