Transplant journey an 'emotional rollercoaster'
Allan Laumatia's life revolved around long sessions of dialysis after work six months ago.
But his world completely changed after brother David Laumatia successfully donated a kidney to him in February.
Allan recently returned from Las Vegas where he watched his son representing New Zealand at a basketball tournament - something that would have been near impossible without the transplant.
"To actually go and experience the tournament was great, I was so fortunate to be there.
"Usually I wasn't able to travel because I'd have to arrange for dialysis and then go off for six hours to do it . . . it was a hassle," he said.
Allan developed diabetes and other health problems in his 30s.
The transplant was not a straight forward process for either sibling.
David first raised the idea at Allan's 50th birthday in April last year and the men went through two false starts before it was third time lucky. "It was an emotional rollercoaster," Allan said.
"It puts a stress on you and people around you . . . then you have to juggle work as well," the Onehunga resident said.
David, a Senior Sergeant with Counties Manukau Police, said it was a relief to get through the procedure.
"It was a barrage of tests . . . blood tests, urine tests, you had to wear a heart monitor. There were MRI scans, the whole lot."
The Howick resident was in surgery for two hours and took a month off work following the transplant.
He has since passed his police physical competency test, earning top marks.
"It just shows you that losing a kidney hasn't really affected me that much.
"I was back in the gym a month after the operation and I still don't feel any different," he said.
David said he was impressed at how his brother managed working fulltime while having dialysis every day.
"Allan doesn't just sit around . . . he's a full time professional with all the work he does." Allan said his life has totally changed now he does not have to dialyse every night after work.
His first three months with a new kidney involved visiting the hospital almost every day.
"It's a critical stage of recovery, you've really got to live in a bubble for the first few months. You've got to watch your diet and watch for any sign of sickness," he says. But it was all worth it, Allan said.