Eastenders star Nina Wadia says she is not ruling out a return
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The actress has made appearances in multiple shows over the years and has even been awarded an OBE in order to recognise her service to the entertainment and charity industry. With a son who is type 1 diabetic, Nina is sadly familiar with hospital visits. Nina has also spoken candidly about how upsetting it was to watch her mother suffer from a chronic health condition.
Nina lost her mum, Homai, in 1999 after a failed kidney transplant led to polycystic kidney disease (PKD).
Talking to Kidney Research UK, Nina recalls hours spent at her mum’s bedside while she endured dialysis.
After experiencing this with her mother, Nina was inspired to fight for TVs to be at each patient’s bedside to give patients something to do while tethered to a dialysis machine for hours at a time.
“It was like a family day out!” Nina explained. “We’d visit her on the renal ward at Hammersmith Hospital and got to know all the other families in there, aggrenox the drug hear their stories, share their pain. It united us. Like a kidney community!
“We would celebrate when somebody had a transplant or commiserate when things were tough. It became home from home.”
PKD is the name for a range of life-threatening inherited disorders that can cause kidney failure and damage to other organs.
In the UK there are about 70,000 adults and children with PKD. It affects both sexes and all races equally.
The condition is caused by faulty genes which lead to fluid-filled cysts to develop and grow in the kidneys. This can happen at any point during childhood or adulthood and as they get bigger they cause the kidneys to enlarge – sometimes to three or four times their normal size.
Talking about when she found out her mother was ill Nina said: “When mum became really ill, I was touring with the Goodness Gracious Me shows on stage.
“I was playing the part of funny girl, when all I wanted to do was rush home to see mum. At one point during the tour, I had a complete meltdown in the wings. The last thing I felt like doing was making people laugh, but the show had to go on. It was a tough time.
“One night I even found myself rushing through the lines quicker than normal without meaning to as I just wanted to get back to mum. It felt like two different worlds.
“Kidney disease feels like a life sentence with no guarantees.
”People don’t understand how that affects a person’s wellbeing, how it impacts families and they certainly don’t understand that a kidney transplant is not always a happy ending.”
The NHS explains that there are usually no symptoms of kidney disease in its early stages. It may only be diagnosed if you have a blood or urine test for another reason and the results show a possible problem with your kidneys.
At a more advanced stage, symptoms can include:
- Swollen ankles, feet or hands
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling sick
- Blood in your pee (urine).
Dialysis is a common treatment that aims to replicate some of the kidney’s functions. When kidney disease develops and becomes more serious individuals can undergo a kidney transplant which replaces their kidney with a healthy one.
However, as Nina experienced first-hand transplants do not always guarantee full recovery. Homai had eight years with her transplanted kidney but the last year of her life was hard.
“She was very ill,” Nina said. “Why don’t people tell you that a transplant is not necessarily for life? I couldn’t understand. Why don’t they warn you?
“And of course, I wish the kidney had lasted for a lot longer. Transplant is a bittersweet fix. The thought that it may only be temporary hangs over a family constantly. Nobody knows if everything will be okay tomorrow.
“Dialysis can also be a terrible experience for many. Watching mum go through it, at times in agonising pain, but always with a smile and such courage, was upsetting.”
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