Patricia’s journey with diabetes
Patricia Gooden suspects she was exhibiting symptoms of having diabetes from as young as 13 years old, but, growing up in the Caribbean, it remained undetected. It was diagnosed only once she had moved to the UK and was pregnant with her second child.
Patricia managed her diabetes with insulin, but fifteen years later, her health took a sudden turn for the worse. She did not realise that she had developed chronic kidney disease (CKD);
“I remember sitting in hospital for 10 days, just vomiting over a bucket, with no treatment.”
Despite having type 2 diabetes (a known risk factor for CKD), it took three years for her kidney disease to be diagnosed. She describes it as “three years of suffering”, with prolonged vomiting, numerous tests, the removal of her gall bladder, a lack of communication between GPs and hospitals and, worst of all, medical staff not taking her seriously. It impacted not just her, but her family who had to take her to hospital every week for months.
Today, Patricia uses her experience of struggling to get a diagnosis, of managing dialysis and looking after her transplanted kidney to inform the voluntary work she carries out to support other kidney patients. “I don’t want anyone to have the horrible experience I had.”
Patricia’s story features in our Kidney Health Inequalities in the UK report.