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I went to Canada to pursue my post-graduation studies in 2018. As a young and energetic 25 years old, I had everything going according to my expectations. Life was a song: I was doing extremely well in Canada. I was studying, earning and pursuing my career. Back home, my sister and mother were happy and proud of my success.

During this time in Canada, I had, for a few months noticed froth in my urine. Since I used to urinate frequently, I didn’t give it much thought, assuming that the foam had been present earlier (in India)as well, and I had simply failed to notice it. I had decided then, that I would call on my family doctor for a routine checkup when in India. Not in my wildest dream had I imagined how my whole life would be overturned. 

On 12th January, 2019, I came home for a month’s vacation to meet and spend time with my family. It was a happy reunion, and I had never seen my mom so happy. The first few days after my return was wonderful. It was time now to visit my doctor and go for the check-ups. My reports indicated a creatinine level of 3.26mg/dl. I was referred to a nephrologist. At that time, I didn’t even know what creatinine was and took it rather lightly.  I had planned to consult the nephrologist in the morning, and spend the evening out with my friends at my favorite restaurant; I was yearning for some local cuisine. The nephrologist’s diagnosis was shocking, to say the least. I had stage four CKD which would eventually progress and lead to the requirement for dialysis and a transplant within a period of 6 months to one year. 

A month later, my creatinine rose to 4 mg/dl. A biopsy confirmed that I had IgA Nephropathy. I was devastated. It was the end of my dreams. I couldn’t return to Canada in this condition. Besides, I had a huge education loan to repay, and my sister was the only earning member in my family. What shattered me most was that I was the reason for my mother’s sadness. 

In her desperate attempt to find a cure for my condition, my mother insisted that I try remedies in homeopathy and Ayurveda. I wasted a lot of money and precious time pursuing these, only to realize that there is no cure for CKD; kidney disease is irreversible. 

It took a while for me to accept my condition. My initial response was one of denial and despair. I wondered what I had done to deserve this ‘punishment’. I had always led a fairly disciplined life, keeping physically fit by playing football and working out regularly, avoiding junk food, being a non-smoker and teetotaler. Just when I was in the best phase of my life, I saw my whole world crumble before me. With the deterioration in my health condition, my career ended, debts piled up, and finally, my sister too lost her job. Our happiness was gone. We had no income for about four months while expenses increased and EMIs had to be paid. 

However, all was not lost. I am grateful that I have the best partner in the world who stood by me and gave me emotional support during the tough times in spite of my failing health. My girlfriend even took care of my family and shouldered our financial burden.

By November 2019, my creatinine had climbed to 10.15mg/dl, and my nephrologist advised me to start dialysis. That was the moment that broke me completely. From being the most active and fittest, to being connected to a machine every week just to stay alive, was the most difficult reality to accept. While all my friends, former colleagues and people of my age moved ahead in life, got married, had fulfilling careers, and, most importantly, enjoyed life to the fullest, here I was, tied down to a machine! Within a span of one year, kidney disease and dialysis had reduced my weight from 70 kg to 48 kg. I hated the sight of myself in the mirror. 

Soon, it was time to find a donor to put an end to the misery of dialysis. I was so fortunate that my mother, sister, girlfriend and two of my best friends came forward as potential donors. On 25 February, 2020 I had my transplant. It was literally my second birth. My mom gave me a second life by donating her kidney to me. I promised myself I would take care of the kidney and would never take it for granted.

My experiences in the past one year have made me realize that I am blessed with the most amazing people in my life. I am confident that I will return stronger than ever before and rebuild my life. I am optimistic that I can become successful again and regain all that I have lost. I also wish to inspire and motivate others and be an example for them. 

Setbacks in life are only temporary. To launch an arrow, you need to pull it back first. Challenging situations enable you to realize your strengths and utilize your inner resources to overcome them.

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