To My Fellow Kidney Warriors: Let’s Celebrate Life in Whatever Capacity We Can! 

Kousalya Govindraj, from India, reflects on her journey of resilience and adaptation in the face of medical challenges. Losing her kidney transplant after over two decades due to tuberculosis complications, she shares her experiences of undergoing various health procedures, including dialysis, with unwavering determination. Despite setbacks, Kousalya emphasizes the importance of maintaining a positive outlook, seeking support when needed, and cherishing life’s moments. With hope for medical advancements such as artificial kidneys, she encourages fellow warriors to embrace life’s challenges, celebrating each day as a gift.

Only when trials and tribulations befall us do we realize our strengths. I lost my grafted kidney after 22 years and 8 months in December 2022 due to traces of skin tuberculosis. The Anti Tuberculosis Treatment (ATT) medication affected the function of my transplanted kidney function. I had always assumed that my transplanted kidney would help me sail through my lifetime.

I was 21 when I had my transplant. Thereafter, I  completed my MBA, pursued my Master of Philosophy in Human Resource Development, secured a government job, traveled extensively, and experienced both joy and sorrow, ups and downs, peace and turmoil, fear and fearlessness,  and many other diverse experiences.

As I wait for a second transplant, my mind is prepared to deal with whatever life throws at me. In the past year, I have lost almost 20 kilos, undergone a cataract removed, a hysterectomy, and experienced PermCath issues [Editor’s note: A PermCath is a soft plastic tube, which is inserted into one of the large veins in the neck or groin for blood access during haemodyalisis] and dealt with small intestine inflammation. The latter led me to visit the Emergency Room at least half a dozen times in just a couple of months. Still, I feel I have lived my life to the fullest and see each day as a bonus.

Regarding my diet, I consume everything in moderation, but I have controlled my intake of dairy products as they cause me inflammation. I strongly believe that if a person on dialysis receives good dialysis as prescribed and follows a lifestyle conducive to their health condition, it is possible to have a long, active, and productive life.  

Dialysis costs and medications create a huge dent in our pockets, but we need to understand that only by taking care of ourselves will we be able to take care of our finances. Therefore, stay positive and avoid worrying too much about anything: finances, body condition, work, family, friends, etc. Do what you can and stay content. Ask for help if you are unable to do something on your own. You will not believe how many people would be happy to help.

Getting back to dialysis was not a cakewalk, but I knew I had to keep going, or else I would lose my sanity, strength, and willpower. Whatever the situation, we have to fight until the very end. We owe that to ourselves.I only wish that very soon the much-talked-about artificial kidney is invented to provide respite to so many of us who are awaiting another chance for a near-normal life.

My fellow warriors, be kind to yourself, do not wallow in self-pity, be as independent as possible, seek help when needed, and do not think of yourself as a burden on your family. We all are warriors, each of us fighting our inner battle and this disease, which is not easy. 

To lead a satisfying life, aim for:

  • Achievable goals
  • A diet that keeps you healthy
  • Enriching relationships
  • Energizing exercises 
  • Rejuvenating travels 
  • A stress-free profession 
  • Mindfulness
  • Spiritual practice

Never allow anyone, not even your own mind, to convince you that life is miserable. Let us celebrate life in whatever capacity we can.

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.