Opportunity knocks at each door

Book - Shades of Life, Sublime Joy is in Living

The sunshine in my life dimmed in 1996 when my fifteen year old was diagnosed with a chronic kidney failure, due to a reflux causing urine to flow back into the kidney. Nothing changed my life dramatically when in May 1997 a reputed oncologist spoke to me of the hard lump in my breast. “Lemon size” was his words as looked at me after a physical examination.

Wonderingly, he phrased the question, “How did you not notice it?” even as his eyes searched my face. Embarrassed at my inadequacy, I explained of my son’s renal health, my preoccupation with diet, medications, mentally preparing for dialysis and transplant, whatever needed. Speaking straight from my heart with face taut, I almost mouthed my death wish- that I would like to donate my kidney to my son before the cancer spreads further. To divert my attention the doctor spoke of scheduling an early surgery and advised further investigations to be conducted.

After a mastectomy, six cycles of chemotherapy and radiation which were efficiently managed by my oncologist, the nephrologists tested me thoroughly before declaring me fit for the organ donation. Today, nearly eleven years later after my son lost my kidney, much after my elder son gave him his kidney and our family saw the sun shine brightly, I could derive the fundamentals for surviving major illness.

The patient must have a clear understanding of health conditions, accept it, be medically compliant, have faith on the primary doctor’s capabilities, and ultimately accept that a superior power determines the dynamics for his/her survival. For the doctor it is using every power to find solutions to problems surfacing, acknowledging patient’s right to live and ensure that he works towards it.

Survivors of illness are happy people. They have done everything right but importantly their chance to be alive was hand-picked by the Super Power. Notwithstanding, the expertise of the treating doctor and his achievements and credits, it is well known that many patients under that doctor’s care have lost their lives while battling a disease. People, succumbing to illnesses, may leave behind unhappy and resentful families. Time will heal their wounds. Time will also show them value of accepting that the hands that worked on their family member never had power to grant life. That death knocked at some doors at an inopportune moment.

I learned a great lesson through cancer and stages of kidney disease when I walked the path with my son. Nothing is as it seems; nothing is within our arms distance. Everyone has to go through the experience hoping they reach the end of the tunnel. As I look back I see familiar faces among those fallen down in the path. It was not theirs to choose the opportunity to live; they had to simply seize what was given to them - to live or not to.

With salutations to Oncologists- Late Arun Kurkure M.D and Late D J Jussawala M.D, nephrologists B V Gandhi M.D and Mohammad Akmal, M.D

Vasundhara Raghavan

The Kidney Warriors

Faced with life's greatest challenge one needs to become focussed maintaining a cool exterior and a hard interior to lay foundation for a successful plan. Whether the plan converts into success will be known in time. Kidney disease wears a mask of secrecy, becomes an impenetrable fog that human eyes will struggle to decipher.

The very first story in - The Kidney Warriors talks of a small village farmer who needed to plan for his family. It's a show of strength, a time to worry, to see yourself at the bottom most rung of the ladder wondering how much is needed to be done. It’s never - the right vs wrong.

You will find these true stories have immense human value; it will leave you wondering if such complicated issues could all be in a single basket.

Father, wife and patients have spoken about their understanding of their situation with full consciousness that they were chosen to join this charade.

Though all stories are reflections of true lives, readers will get to see characters develop due to play of family circumstance, city of habitat, education and inner courage to face a life threatening disease.

Fear lives in the backyard and they behave as if it was non-existent.

My purpose of giving this reading experience to people stems out of my deepest confidence that nothing will change face of chronic kidney disease, if one is unaware of how vastly different people share a common stage. In their struggle they put a smile and say, "Let's get it done."

Fighting CKD.

Read this book with an open mind to receive the vibes. 56 stories, with15 different diseases leading to CKD. Three senior-most nephrologists share important information while four emerging nephrologists guide with critical information.

The Kidney Warriors is a complete package.

Vasundhara Raghavan

Stories and characters come live!

Time stands still. The household is grappling with sudden knowledge of a member facing chronic kidney disease. In time things will change. It will seem like a subtle change, but a discerning eye will notice the dent, the worry in the tired eyes and the face wearing a new paint. Without so much happening one cannot pick up the thread of life and move on.

In the latest book, Dr Mohammad Akmal and I have traced the historic perspective on the disease. Some remarkable people showed great knowledge, developing an influence on the mind for management of the disease. Like the family in Italy during World War II or the family with two members on dialysis at the same time or generations of a family with polycystic kidney disease. They somehow seemed very evolved in their health care as if they knew a lot more and were fully equipped.

All these stories come against the backdrop of the early Roman era where a roman bath helped in removing toxins when kidneys were diseased. Then came the revolutionary kidney transplant that somehow changed fate of millions. Who was that brave young man who lay on the table to have his kidney removed? Or how did he possess so much inner courage?

But considering this great early progress and advancement in diagnostics, medications and treatment approaches, one can still see that void; feel the silence as there’s not much change in how this disease is perceived. Same emotions. The shock, fear of death, closed door conversations, embarrassment and such decrepit feelings. World needs to change, come to terms that globally people will be demolished due to burden of disease. CKD is a non-communicable disease and currently the 9th cause of death worldwide. It is notoriously rising in popularity. World needs to make huge corrections to retrace so many developments in farming in water conservation, air pollution and general food habits of people.

Who Lives, Who Dies With Kidney Disease will open many minds to approach people with disease with love and compassion and show them they are important to the world.  It’s not always a simple kidney failure. So many rarest of diseases are seen as impacting the kidneys. There’s a struggle to find a donor.

Amidst all this people are waking up to stand for change. Let's be that change.

Vasundhara Raghavan