Authors note: Published on World Kidney Day!
I was born in 2010. Or you could say I was re-born in 2010. This new lease of life was possible only because of my sister Lakshmi. But I am getting ahead of myself, overwhelmed with emotion as I am, just putting pen to paper on this story.
2010 began for me with a commitment to lose weight and get fit. I had been suffering from excruciating knee pain for two years, ending with a string of doctors and a no-brainer diagnosis – lose weight. Except it wasn’t that.
Didn’t know it then. So I huffed and puffed through it all, and lost weight. And it would all come right back. A very frustrating time for me and for my advisor. The proverbial towel was thrown. The bigs guns were brought in, who, wasting no time referred me to an excellent diagnostician.
January had turned to March. I was exhausted all the time, pale and weak, and my knees were still hurting. The doctor sent me for a blood test. And I thought, finally! Someone has seen past the chubby exterior. I guess it’s hard for some to literally, see past me. But he did.
I was told by hubby after a few months only. But as soon as I left the room, the doctor told my husband, “The blood test is only a formality, but from my initial examination of her skin, eyes, nails and the knee pain, your wife’s kidneys are close to failing.”
I will never know how my husband composed himself and did not break down when I came back to the room. There he sat, calm and composed as usual, with a reassuring smile and strength radiating from his eyes.
The doctor insisted we wait for the test results. And the result shocked everyone but him, rocking our lives. We flew to India overnight, got admitted to the hospital, where a whole battery of tests was performed.
The day I was admitted, Lakshmi was with me in the hospital. We laughed, we cried, chatted away when she quietly said: “I am giving you my kidney. That’s it. Don’t say anything. Just take it and live.”
Things hadn’t really registered for me at that point. So I laughed and joked with her that the room next to me is free, would she like to admit herself tomorrow, seeing as how eager she seemed to get onto an operating table!
But she was right. And the doctor’s verdict was that I needed a transplant. He was accompanied by his juniors when he delivered this news. And very reluctantly they began asking us, “Do you have a possible donor?”. And I said, “My sister volunteered yesterday.” For the first time in their career probably, they had a donor even before their diagnosis. I remember every one of their faces even today. Speechless, shocked, awed. All trying to picture this sister of mine in their mind, right next to whichever Gods they worshipped.
A couple of months went by, while they went through a battery of tests to determine Lakshmi’s health and parameters. Her kidney was deemed to be a good match to my body. And finally on April 27 2010, we both were admitted to the hospital and underwent surgery. Even outside the operating theatre, in our respective beds, we were joking with each other, laughing and giggling at silly things like our “air conditioned” paper gowns, while people next to us waiting their turn glowered at us.
Ten years later, by God’s grace and with the support of so many diamonds in my life, I am alive and living a full and normal life. Thanks to one person who had it in her head to make it so. My sister Lakshmi. With a diamond like that in my life, shining bright and strong, I am quite content to bow in gratitude instead.