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Gotta Kidney?! book by Michael Banks

Gotta Kidney?!

One of my strongest beliefs is that in life there is always a positive to be found in every negative. No matter how awful the circumstances sooner or later you can always find a benefit. When my kidneys failed in the Spring of 2013 it was like a nightmare as I looked forward to a life on dialysis, a future of deprivation and constraint, and an end to so many of life’s pleasures I treasured so much.


My journey through dialysis and then a kidney transplant and recovery was arduous and yet I persevered. The kidney problems had created a discontinuity in my career. I could no longer ply my trade as a leadership coach. So I decided to write. I had always fancied myself as a writer and in fact in 2005 had written an autobiographical memoir, ‘Almost Too Much’, about a man in middle age who had ‘everything’ and then lost it all. I’m sure many of you can relate to that one! The memoir chronicled my wrenching transition from a life of wealth and prestige to one of open heartedness and contribution. Before the memoir was finished I started to work with a professional screenplay writer to turn it into a movie. It didn’t work out and the powerful and intense autobiographical journal had been turned into a romantic comedy! A few years later I was commissioned to write two articles for the National Geographic online magazine. They were a success.


So after my kidney crisis I decided to further my desire to write a book that would be helpful to people. I was thinking of writing a business book about leadership and communication skills when my good friend and cricketing colleague, Vishnu, suggested I write a book about my kidney journey.


I’m a great believer in making the most out of the difficult times in life. I believe we can learn from adversity, if we look for the lessons, and can always find the good things that emerge out of bad situations. Sometimes it’s easy to do that straightaway but on other occasions it can take a while before the positives emerge. For example, fifteen years ago my life fell apart when I had to leave my marriage and the business I was a partner in and had a financial meltdown. After the dust had settled I realized that I was happier than I’d ever been as an adult. And, most important, I then understood that relationships and community were far more important than being successful in business and making a lot of money. While I’d been on that treadmill I had neglected so many things that would have enhanced the quality of my life and enriched me in a non monetary manner. So in this case I had to let go of my marriage and my successful business.


So this book, ‘Gotta Kidney?!’ is about another chapter of my life in which I experienced a loss. This time it was a catastrophic medical breakdown and I was staring into the abyss of an unbearably grim and miserable future. I wrote the book because not only did I want to record all the positives that occurred as a result of my illness I also wanted to share my story so that others could benefit from it.


This book is written for all the millions of people who are affected directly or indirectly by kidney disease and indeed who have to face major life changing challenges of any kind, whether they be medical or otherwise.


Of course everyone’s story is different and there’s nothing intrinsically special about mine. However I do believe that people will feel encouraged and inspired by reading ‘Gotta Kidney?!


This book is not a medical journal nor does it pretend to be a work of great literature! It is the story of my journey from being diagnosed with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) through kidney failure, dialysis, transplant and into recovery. As the sub title states it is A ‘Journey Through Fear to Hope And Beyond’. The book will benefit those readers who are looking for a kind of preview of what can happen from a medical perspective. Along the way I do also present a few learnings and some bits of advice. There’s even some sprinklings of lighthearted humor at certain points in the book. It helps to have a big perspective and look for those moments that can alleviate the pain and suffering. Hopefully the reader will find the story accessible and gain a degree of comfort from reading about someone else’s journey. Knowing that others have been down the road you’re embarking upon, or on already, can be comforting in and of itself.


And finally the book includes a chapter written by Karin, my donor. Her journey through the various barriers she faced to donating one of her kidneys demonstrates courage and generosity in the face of fear and resistance. We hope the book will encourage and inspire those considering donating one of their kidneys to go ahead in the knowledge that the rewards of donating can be so great.

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