I am Irene Mewburn and have learned to live with many ailments from epilepsy, PTSD, arthritis, and kidney disease which put me on life-support.
I was born and raised in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; between Lilydale and Ringwood, with the exception of about three years at a farm near Bairnsdale in Gippsland, Victoria.
During my childhood, a large amount of time was spent in hospitals and they have become my second home right through into adulthood. Note: I am now a constant outpatient who still visits every week for either blood tests, appointments, medications, and/or scans.
My first partner had self-worth issues and was always talking people down. This negative self-image prevented me from getting jobs and I was not able to talk to him or anyone else with confidence.
Today, I am fortunate to have Gray who has been very patient with me and believes in lifting people up. This together with the right medical help has helped me to change my attitude to the point of being more caring towards others, and put my own issues in perspective.
Health: I have several ailments or illnesses, including a major disease: Bergers Disease or IgA Nephropathy.
Whilst living with this I got Depression, which led to me having to go onto one of three forms of Life Support: Hemodialysis, Peritoneal dialysis or a Kidney Transplant. I chose the last two, started off on peritoneal dialysis for two and three-quarter years, and am now approaching four years post-transplant.
Current Management: Thanks to a large team of health professionals, I manage my illnesses quite well now; and am able to drive again (third time in my life).
Health Professionals: Apart from the General Practitioner (GP) who changes from time to time, the main doctor is my renal physician, followed by an endocrinologist, due to complications. For the PTSD there is always a psychiatrist and/or psychologist that I can go back to, who via my records can see how my general health is and can contact my renal physician if necessary.
I have chosen to study nutrition in the hope of being able to join the many health professionals who have helped me, one of which was a dietitian.
Another was an exercise physiologist, and recently I have also had physiotherapy with the aim of improving my posture.
For mental issues, I’ve also had a psychologist offer me cognitive behavioral therapy; which has really turned my life around to the point where I can start studying at university part-time.
Memberships: I have joined Kidney Health Australia, Australasian Kidney Trials Network, Arthritis Association, Nutrition Australia and Beyond Blue. These associations have given me a social outlet where I can relate to other people without being put down.
Interests: Due to my health and other circumstances, my number one interest is Chronic Health and Nutrition. By writing and giving public talks I live and breathe Chronic Health Management.
Also supporting my husband Gray with Singing and Sailing and living-on-the-water (our future home, currently being built).
Future: No words will ever be able to thank my huge team of medical professionals who have played a major role in turning my life around.
My medium-term goal is to go into private practice to help others one-on-one, and/or work with medical teams and support groups to assist other chronic patients.
This site was created with the aim of providing many tips for others living with chronic illness who, if only they knew certain information, would not have to suffer as much.
I provide my readers and, their carers, with information that will help them to manage and live with their condition in a way that is not so prohibitive.
May this site help you to live with your chronic disease better!