The Journey

June 2006

My mother was diagnosed to have Hydronephrosis – an acute renal disorder where urine is accumulated inside the kidneys due to some obstruction. It was found out that she acquired huge stones in both her kidneys and that could not be treated by either taking medications or laser procedures. The only way was through an open surgery. My family kept the whole story from me so that it could not distract me from finishing my last year in Ateneo.

September 2006

The secret was revealed to me a day before her major operation – I was caught off-guard! The stones were removed successfully but mom became bed-ridden for the whole month.

October 2006

I decided to go home in Davao during the semester break and used the allowance I got from working as an intern in Globe Telecom. I wanted to check immediately how my mother was doing after the operation.

December 2006

Since I used up my remaining allowance last October and my parents were in deep crisis, for the first time, I was not able to go home and spend Christmas with the family.

March 2007

My mother made it to my graduation! For the first time, she set foot in the grounds of the Ateneo – something I have long wished to happen. The funny thing was she sang the Song to Mary with clenched fists and arms held up high even if she was not an alumni. When asked why she did that, she simply said, “I was carried away”!

We all thought she was all better then.

December 2008

Two days before Christmas, she could not stand or walk again. When examined by the nephrologists, they saw another obstruction this time due to a shrinking ureter. We rushed her to the hospital and a catheter endoscopy was done. We almost spent noche buena in the hospital.

March 2009

My mother attended another graduation, this time for my younger brother in high school. Gradually, she had become weak and her skin had started to discolor.

October 2009

My mother was diagnosed to have End-Stage Renal Disease also known as kidney failure. Her creatinine count went up to 1000+ μmol/l and complications started in her throat started to appear.

For the first time, she submitted herself to hemodialysis in the Davao Doctors Hospital. The session is done twice a week, each amounting to almost Php4000 with medication.

November 2009

A fellow teacher told my mother to apply for a Transplant Grant by the Rotary Club. Doctors  from the United States were scheduled to come by February the next year. She submitted an application and luckily got shortlisted from hundreds of transplant applicants.

December 2009

We started looking for a potential kidney donor for my mother. The candidate we had was my father who at the end of the tests happened to have high uric acid and some signs of kidney problems. He was turned down.

My brother and I volunteered to undergo matching tests, which most likely will show positive results. My mother strongly refused – she could not fully accept the idea! She warned us that if the donor would either fall as either me or my brother, she would immediately reject the idea of transplant.

January 2010

A relative’s friend volunteered to donate one of her kidneys – the second attempt. Unfortunately, after tests were done it showed only 60% match. She right away refused to be the donor.

My auntie felt sorry about the whole situation and presented herself – the third attempt. Initial results were very promising, final results will be released on February as the cross-match tests had to be done in National Kidney Institute first.

Finally, mother was chosen to be one of the four recipients of the transplant grant by the Rotary Club. – a good birthday gift for her. I then applied for an emergency loan to cover the transplant costs and post expenses.

February 2010

The doctors from the United States arrived in Davao. Cross-match results showed that my aunt qualified as a donor but unfortunately were given and released late. The promised transplant happened but not for my mother. She became very depressed and hopeless after.

April 2010

For six months, my mother had gone through dialysis almost every other day. Although this gives a workaround while waiting for a possible transplant, her health has gradually become more complicated. She acquired a Restless Leg Syndrome causing her to be insomniac and tired the whole day. Her nephrologist advised her to undergo dialysis 3 times a week instead to remove the toxins causing restlessness.

It was effective for her health, but not for our finances. My loan savings has started to deplete. NKI Social Service was recommended for us.

June 2010

Initial interviews were done with NKI and luckily, our case was accepted. Discounts were given to all workup sessions which my mother and aunt had to go through again as previous results were already old. Also every other day, my mother had to regularly go through dialysis, this time in Asia Renal along EDSA. I sometimes accompany her there.

On my end, I started to lose weight. I had major stress and fatigue preparing for their logistics and house needs (e.g. appliance and groceries) during their stay in Manila.

Given the limited resources slowly going gone, I made a bold move to kick off a fund raiser for my mother’s transplant. I released a letter in Facebook, helped organize a healing mass and allowed a chorale group to hold a benefit concert for my mother entitled A Song of Hope.

July 2010

Our high hopes were dropped after learning that my auntie has then acquired minor kidney problems! She was still a match but her kidneys are no longer healthy to be donated. We had to stop the workup and look for a new donor.

We went back to Davao and GenSan to talk to our relatives and look for possible kidney donation within our clan. We also reached with our relatives in Bicol. Sad to know that most are already sick and some have working conditions that were not suitable for the operation.

August 2010

Shirley, my aunt’s neighbor who used to do laundry for my mother volunteered to be a donor – our fourth attempt. She will start to do her workup soon. We are all deeply praying for positive results.

“Our Kidney Journey” was born.

October 2010

My only brother, who just turned 18 years old that year, volunteered to donate his kidney. All our relatives were apprehensive especially my mom who was really against the idea. My mom would rather not go through the transplant if it meant losing a kidney from my brother.

But my brother said to her, “I am doing this only because of you. I’d rather go through the operation than see you suffer. I also want to help kuya lessen his expenses.”

So I went home to closely talk the matter with my brother, my mother and relatives. We had a prayer session with the neighbors who prayed over us 3. Then after a serious deliberation over the matter, weighing all pros and cons, everyone including my mother allowed my brother to donate.

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