In 1997, I had just undergone an HLA test, which was done for donating my kidney. My 15-year-old son was diagnosed with kidney disease, and I planned to donate my kidney.
Breast Cancer Diagnosis
We were going through a terrible phase and were worried about his health. After the test, the doctors said I could donate my kidney, and we were very relieved. But just two days later, I felt a lump in my breast, and when I spoke about it to my husband, he asked me to get it checked.
The next day, I consulted a doctor and had a mammogram. The results showed that I lumped. It’s very tough to believe that you have a disease and you doubt whether it is right or wrong. I took the reports and went to a specialist doctor. He said that it felt like a huge lump. I underwent more tests, and he said it needed to be operated on immediately. It was a big shock because I was about to donate my kidney, but then my role changed, and I was to become a patient.
It was an adamant time. We didn’t have medical insurance. I was apprehensive about my son because he had complete faith that I would donate the kidney and save his life. My husband was diabetic, so he could not donate. My other son was just one and a half years older than my younger son, so I was the only person who could donate.
Breast Cancer Treatment
Before the Surgery, I went to the nephrologist and informed him about what had happened and asked him if I could donate my kidney before my Surgery. Still, he said I could not do that because even one cancer cell getting transferred to the kidney could put my son’s life at stake.
I underwent Surgery, and a Biopsy was done to find that I had malignant Breast Cancer. I underwent six cycles of chemotherapy, followed by Radiation therapy. Chemotherapy and radiation went very smoothly; later, I could donate my kidney.
From 1997 to 1998, we faced uncertainty as we did not know what would happen and how we would come out of it. I didn’t spend time considering my own emotions. I was on a single thought process. I just had to donate my kidney. The plan made by my oncologist was so good that everything went very smoothly for me. I was a working woman, and I never took leave. I just took a break from the Surgery and then went back to work because I didn’t want to lose any income.
One needs such determination if we need to overcome a huge challenge. My role as a mother kept me going. My son helped us, and his attitude was always cheerful; he had a smiling face even when he used to go for dialysis. We educated him and allowed him to make choices. He used to get information from the Internet. We did what we felt was right and followed our doctor’s advice.
I was cautious about my diet. I used to have more salad, sprouts and Wheatgrass.
I survived because of my son. I used to go to work so that he would see me working despite the Breast Cancer Treatment journey. He was always busy, and even on dialysis, he studied for his class XII exams. I learned that we need to keep going, not worry about the world, and take guidance from others, but chalk our plans.
Shades of Life
Shades of Life is a book I wrote about my son’s journey with kidney disease. He was bed-wetting when he was 10, so we went to a urologist to stop it. The urologist asked us to wait till he becomes 15 years old because things settle down in puberty. I didn’t take a second opinion. One day he had a headache, so we went to the doctor and tested his eyes, but it was nothing. We went to the family doctor, who tested his blood pressure, and it was high. She immediately said it was not natural and asked us to get some Blood Tests done. When the results came, his creatinine was 4.58, which was very high.
We went to the nephrologist and took several opinions because we had missed it the first time and did not take a second opinion. The doctor said that if we could have gone to him 4-5 years before, they could have done Surgery to correct it.
In November 1996, he was detected and in the ICSE board prelims. We were worried that he would not pass his exams, but he did very well and then did his graduation from IIT and went to the US to do his PhD.
I wrote this book because I wanted people to know that bed-wetting is a big sign. We are also working for Kidney Warrior Foundation, where we are creating advocacy for better facilities for kidney disease patients. We are educating people about kidney diseases. After donating a kidney, one should avoid junk food, preserved food, too much pickle and salty food.
Don’t worry or sit back; take your treatment. Be confident; know you have to do it and will do it. It’s like an examination where you put all your efforts to be number one, and you may not be number one, but it doesn’t matter; the efforts should be there. You have a family who loves you, and must remember that you can’t let them down. You have to work on your treatment and accept everything. Have faith in the doctor. Early detection is essential. Take care of yourself and be aware of your body. Insurance is vital, so get it done because it will help you in difficult times.