Friday, December 7, 2007

When lightning strikes

I have been thinking about Pavan Joshi these days.

Pavan's story has been very similar to mine. He's probably around 8 years younger than me. Struck with kidney disease at a young age. Both of us were in our early twenties when our kidneys shut down. Both have had a failed transplant. Both then switched to PD after the transplant. Pavan of course, has just started PD while I did about 8 years back.

When I hear his story, its deja vu for me. Except that a lot more stuff has happened since I started PD. The tsunami, the infections and the switch to home hemo.

When such a thing happens to you at such a young age, it can be very difficult to deal with. Your whole life can change in a way that nobody can ever imagine. Only people who actually go through this themselves can ever realize the whole gamut of issues a person in this position has to go through.

Your plans for life, your dreams, nothing is now the same. Just when you were about to start your life, a cruel twist in the story ruins everything.

There's another guy I know whose kidneys packed off at a young age. Chaitanya. He used to dialyze in KIMS too (just like Pavan and me). But he was lucky enough for his transplant to be successful. Really hope it lasts forever.

But for guys like Pavan and me who have to live continuously with the compulsion of dialysis, life is very, very different from the lives of people at that age.

Everything you do, everything you think, your whole life is dictated by your dialysis. You have to factor this in in everything. Fortunately, we are seeing improvements in treatment outcomes and the quality of life especially for those who do PD and home hemo. But there's no denying that you have to make compromises.

And it is very important to have a positive mindset. I try to be as cheerful as possible. I try not to think of the problems I have. This really helps. And I believe that it helps you feel better too. Somehow, the mind controls the body. If you feel depressed, even physically you feel worse.

Working full time is an important piece of my overall well being. It helps me focus on different things rather than worry about my health all the time.

But there are times when I wonder how life would have been had this problem not been there. The things I would have done had I a normal life. Unfettered, unchained, free. It would really have been very different.

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