By "drugs" I don't refer specifically to "illegal" drugs. While many of the points regarding what goes into our body also apply to what goes into our minds, but here I want to focus on the body.

Everything we take into our body has an effect. For six decades I was immune (as had been my father) to the general principle that when what we put in exceeds our needs, it is stored as fat. After my kidney transplant, suddenly I started gaining weight - 10 kgs until I realised I was now subject to "normal".

Before I went onto dialysis I had more than nine months of aches and pains. Doctors could not find the source, so I decided I wouldn't take dialysis when it was offered. One day the supermarket was out of cheap milk. In looking around I decided to try the new zero lactose milk. My wife had been off lactose for a long time, and I thought she should try this. She did not like it - but I was surprised to find within two days all my aches and pains had gone. When I went onto dialysis I tried normal milk and cheese and found it was OK. So I did take dialysis, and subsequently a transplant.

In 2021 I had another period of over nine months when doctors were unable to diagnose the cause of extreme fatigue and weakness (mainly physical but also mental). My GP suggested changing one pill for an alternative brand, but that make no difference. My kidney doctor suggested I stop taking it for three weeks. The first weekend I discussed with my wife various aspects and found (again to my surprise) the symptoms had largely disappeared. I tested it with a particular walk - and found it no problem. I was exhausted after it - but that's not surprising given the lack of exercise over the best part of a year.

I think I have been taking this drug since shortly after my stroke (2007), so while I have refused another drug that had an obvious debilitating effect on me, this one totally surprised me. When the doctor suggested I take a three-week break, to say I was sceptical was an understatement. I had been taking the pill for well over a decade with no side effects. It makes no sense to me - but I'm not arguing with how I feel.

The discussion with my wife brought back another aspect I had forgotten. My mother had told us she'd reacted badly to the same sort of pill. Since finding the change it made for me I told my sister and found that she "felt like the walking dead". Once she stopped taking them her energy returned and her mind cleared. In light of this, the question is why did I not react that way earlier? It could have been my kidneys, but I had the transplant in 2014, and this only became an issue in 2021.

So what have I learned?

We are all different and need to consider these differences. I used to tweak my dialysis sessions to avoid the worst side effects. I rejected the other pill because it was so debilitating. I've heard of a few people having adverse side effects to covid vaccines. I've had my third shot (as a transplant patient my immune systems suppressed), but I cannot write off other people's experiences.

We change over time and may need to change our medications over time.

Be careful out there. Listen to people's experiences, but always work out your own situation.