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Like her grandmother, father, brother and son, Anna has autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). “Knowing that you are likely to end up with kidney failure…is like having a ticking time bomb,” she says.
The threat has done little to slow down the pace of her international career or life with her three children. A senior human resources manager with a leading management consultancy, Anna, now in her early 40s, has an overseas role as well as leading the company’s human resources services in Australia.
The family’s history suggests that Anna, too, may eventually need dialysis or transplantation. “I try not to be overwhelmed by that, because you could let it become all-consuming,” she says. “Sometimes when I look at the future I pull back and realise that there’s so much more in life. This is just one element that I have to live with.”
PKD in the family
As a child Anna visited her grandmother who was having dialysis at home. She became one of Australia’s longeststanding dialysis patients, being treated for more than 20 years. For a child, exposure to an unwell older relative was disturbing. “The machine was like another person in the house,” she says. “It was confronting to learn that her blood would leave her body, get cleaned and get put back in again.”