When people ask me how it started, they almost always expect me to say it started with either diabetes or hypertension. That is normally the story for almost everyone. But diabetes and hypertension didn’t have anything to do with my kidney failure. My kidneys failed because of just a malarial infection. I recovered from the malaria, but my. The doctors were confident it would be for a while, a short one, six months at most. At the end of six months however, my kidneys hadn’t improved. I was on dialysis for like three years, two times every week for three years. It became too much for a lot of people; myself, my family and my employer. I lost my job, I lost friends, I lost most of my family.
Kidney failure may not kill you fast, thanks to dialysis, but it sufficiently reduces your quality of life. The dialysis keeps you alive alright. But you are literally tied down to a life of oscillating between home and the hospital. Every little plan you make about your life has to actually fit in with your dialysis sessions. Dialysis becomes the main point of your existence and everything else becomes secondary.
My brother gave my life back to me. He gave me his left kidney. I was able to go back to work for five days a week from eight in the morning to five in the evening like every normal person. I travelled a little. I was able to become a full time mother again. But that was short lived (sadly) the immune suppressants (the drugs that prevent your body from destroying the donated kidney) became too expensive for me I couldn’t afford them. So I started missing my drugs. Initially just once in a week after I had paid school fees for my children. Then it became two times in two months, then more consistently. My body began becoming puffy; again! So I went in for the tests; and they found that the other kidney, my third kidney had also failed, this time around because of my own immunity.
So I am back on this journey of dialysis two times a week again. Though I have an insurance scheme paying for the dialysis sessions, it is still tough. Sometimes even going to the hospital becomes an uphill task. Before I became sick, I didn’t know I could lack two hundred shillings for bus fare. But then when you have sickness competing with the little money you make, even a ten shilling coin can become rare in your house. You find yourself having to make a choice between putting food on the table for your children and your own health. So you train your body to put up with all the toxins so that your babies can have a meal. It is not healthy but I am a mother and I have to do it.
If you watch America Has Got Talent, then I am sure you know Angelica Hale, an eleven year old contestant who is a singer. At the age of four, she contracted sepsis and suffered kidney failure. She was on dialysis for a year and a half. She received her kidney at the age of six from her mother Eva. Five years on, she is healthy, singing her life into money and fame.
Selena Gomez an award winning record artist suffered kidney failure secondary to lupus. She received her life saving kidney from her friend Francia Raisa in 2017. Almost two years later, she is doing well, great even.