I am a 27 year old donor to my father. We are about to complete our second kidneyversary on 7th July 2020.
We are a close knit family of four. My father is dedicated to his job as an OT Assistant at the Railway Medical Department. Although he comes across as a serious person, he is the most loving, over protective father, and a caring husband, who tires us with his energy. A sports enthusiast, he loves to work out and is extremely fit. He does almost all the shopping, helps in household chores, and we are unwittingly, totally dependent on him. It came as a complete surprise to all of us when my father was diagnosed with kidney failure due to high BP (a common medical problem), and had to undergo dialysis immediately. It was painful for us to watch him lying in bed, going through the process of dialysis for four hours every alternate day, but nothing could stop me and my younger sister from being with our SUPER DAD!
As we began to look for ways to relieve him of his trauma, our Internet search history was replete with questions like ‘alternative for dialysis’, ‘transplant side-effects’, ‘transplant benefits’ etc. Once we had realized that transplant was our only choice, we had to decide on a donor. Although all four of us are blessed with the same blood group, my mother couldn’t donate because she was diabetic. My sister was young, and I felt this was a God-given opportunity for me to serve my parents in this lifetime. The only struggle I faced during the work-up process was in convincing my reluctant doctors. I was a young, 25 year old, unmarried, with a bright future working on a DDU-GKY project as a Centre Manager and English/Soft skill trainer. Their main concern was that it would be difficult for me to get married and be accepted.
Just as there is a flip side to a coin, so it is with Life. For a woman, the path to being a donor is riddled with questions. “Who will marry her? “ “Will she ever find a match? “ “Will the boy / boy’s family accept her?” “Will she be healthy enough to have children?”- The list is endless! My parents went through the same thought process. However, the only thing on my mind was to save the life of my life-giver, rather than to think about someone who did not even exist in my life then. I was absolutely convinced about by decision! Seeing my determination, my doctors consented to operate on me. Although we belong to Jodhpur, the surgery was done in Ahmedabad, after much deliberation, since Jodhpur/Rajasthan lacked transplant facilities then. (Jodhpur’s first kidney transplant was done in 2019!)
Within a few days after the surgery, I was on my feet. The major concern that deters someone from becoming a donor is their fear of being unfit after the surgery, and of not being able to manage their life with one kidney. In my case, marriage proposals were rejected, and finding a match has become next to impossible. It does not matter that I am educated, financially independent and am a donor to my father; all that is negated the minute people come to know that I have donated a kidney. But it is a fact that there are people who are born with just one kidney and live normal lives. There are also a number of donors who have gone on to live long, healthy and active lives.
Now, here we are, two years later, leading healthy and happy lives. I have resumed my work at Jaipur, while my father has returned to work at Jodhpur. He has also started his workouts at the gym. I play Table Tennis at the state level, and am a swimmer at the District level. My father and I participated in the National Transplant Games, Mumbai 2019. I won the Gold medal in singles Table tennis and participated in the Relay race, while my father participated in Table Tennis and won the Gold medal in the Solo race (50-60 years category). I make it a point to eat healthy and exercise regularly, which includes dancing, since I am a passionate dancer! While there is no restriction on diet and food that I can eat, I take care to consume everything in moderation.
I am an active member of Kidney Care Foundation Society Rajasthan, and Kidney Warriors Foundation. I have hosted Zoom meetings for CKD patients (Post-transplant and Dialysis) to keep them engaged during the pandemic. We have had sessions with Nephrologists, Dietitians, Fitness Trainers, Yoga/Meditation Experts and individuals who are achievers even after their transplant, and got them to share their experience and be an inspiration for others.
I really believe I’m fortunate to be a donor! Not everyone gets the chance to be one! To be a donor, it just takes the realization that when we have perfectly working kidneys, since we actually require only one, we should share the spare! For those who are still reluctant to be donors, my message is, “You should never miss the chance to stand by your loved ones. God helps those who help others”.