Navigating Henoch-Schönlein Purpura And Embracing Life After Kidney Transplant 

Dr Lajja Sutaria, from India, spent much of her life battling an autoimmune disease called Henoch-Schönlein purpura. She was just 17 when the first symptoms appeared, marking the beginning of a 17- year struggle with the disease. Today, after receiving a kidney transplant, she has a new lease on life. In her testimony, Dr Lajja Sutaria highlights the power of being surrounded by supportive people throughout her healing journey.  

I am Dr Lajja Sutaria living in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. I was 17 years old when I experienced my first attack of purpura, which filled my lower limbs up to my mid-thighs and caused swollen joints.  

Doctors struggled to diagnose my condition, as all tests appeared normal. Eventually, it was identified as idiopathic purpura, and later, I was diagnosed with Henoch-Schönlein purpura (HSP). HSP is a rare autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and bleeding in small blood vessels in the skin, joints, intestines, and kidneys.

Over the following years, I had frequent attacks of purpura along with blisters. This condition persisted for five long years, but I was never disheartened and I completed my Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) and medical degree in Anatomy. With age, lifestyle changes, and medications, the purpura subsided. However, by then, my kidneys were affected, and my creatinine levels began to rise, leading to chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Despite being on a restricted diet and strict medication, this never stopped me from doing what I would do otherwise. I pursued my career, traveled, and cherished time with my family. Throughout this 17-year journey, my family and friends were always there for me, never letting me feel burdened by my failing kidneys.  

The journey involved numerous tests, hospital visits, daily medications, and dietary restrictions. There were good days and bad days, but my family’s constant presence helped ease the pain. Thanks to diligent diet control and medication, I managed to live with sclerosed kidneys for 12 long years.

The doctors said my body adapted to my limited kidney function. I never looked like a patient to anyone, so no one could tell I had CKD. It was on November 23 that I started showing mild symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, and swollen feet, leading to the necessity for hemodialysis. I am grateful to the entire staff of the dialysis center who took care of me as if I was a small child. After being on dialysis for 3 months, my Fiya (paternal aunt) decided to become a living kidney donor for me, giving me a second chance at life.  

I underwent a successful renal transplant at the Institute of Kidney Diseases and Research Center (IKDRC) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat, which is renowned as the best kidney institute in Asia. My experience with the healthcare facility at IKDRC was top notch.

Throughout this challenging journey, I am profoundly thankful to my nephrologist, who meticulously managed my care and extended the time we had before the transplant. Despite the long and arduous road, I would like to thank my family, doctors, and friends for their unwavering support.

I will forever be grateful to my donor, and I cherish waking up each morning knowing my kidney is functioning well. There is no greater joy in the world than being surrounded by the amazing people in my life.


Disclaimer: The blog series is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to endorse or promote any specific drug, product, or brand. Each individual’s experience is unique and should not be construed as medical advice or a guarantee of similar results for others. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any decisions regarding your health and well-being.