Like a nosy relative who arrives at your door unexpectedly, like scorching heat when everyone’s looking forward to monsoon showers, like the missed train that you just couldn’t afford to miss, like the feeling that makes you fear there’s nothing left in your heart, like the friend who disappeared right after you expressed how much you loved her, like empty pockets in times of festive season – it just happened.
March 2022 was a happy time in my life. I was healthy and absolutely fine. I traveled to my hometown, Ara, to celebrate Ram Navmi. I was proactively engaging in fasting and participating in the puja. With family around, it was pure joy.
However, the next morning, I experienced unexpected vomiting and a feeling of discomfort. These symptoms prompted me to return to Patna.
Within a day, I found myself grappling with fever, loose motions, and more vomiting. The fever subsided after a couple of days of medication, but loose motions and the tendency to vomit persisted. In my pursuit of recovery, I underwent a series of injections – six to be exact, administered twice a day – which helped alleviate the issue of loose motions.
Though there was an improvement, occasional urges to vomit lingered. This prompted me to check my blood pressure, only to discover it was alarmingly high at 200/110. Concerned, I sought medical attention and underwent various tests, including KFT, LFT, and an ultrasound.
The test results revealed a devastating truth: my kidney had suffered damage. Visiting numerous hospitals in Patna, I received a consistent message – 90% of my kidney was damaged, and I needed to undergo dialysis, requiring a fistula to be created.
My world was turned upside down. I was confused and shocked. My father, who is a heart patient, and I were at a loss for what to do. As an only child with no siblings, I found myself grappling with the "why" behind this situation. It felt like a surreal nightmare that I would wake up from, yet the harsh reality persisted.
My creatinine level had spiked to 7, serving as a stark indicator of the damage my kidney had endured. With the support and advice of friends and well-wishers, I considered seeking treatment outside of Bihar. This led me to secure an appointment at CMC Vellore hospital near Chennai. Could this be a glimmer of hope? I wasn’t sure.
CMC Vellore: The journey to recovery had begun
In May 2022, upon my arrival at CMC Vellore, the medical team immediately initiated a series of mandatory blood tests, which ultimately led to my admission on the very first day.
The doctors at CMC began their diligent efforts, offering some optimism. They conducted a Biopsy test to ascertain the extent of the issue. Throughout my stay, they worked tirelessly to uncover solutions.
As my days at the hospital progressed, the truth emerged – my kidneys had incurred significant damage, reaching an approximate 80% impairment. Despite this somber revelation, the medical team provided me with medications and prescribed a specialized kidney diet. Their advice included planning for dialysis in the future, anticipating the need to address my deteriorating kidney function.
With newfound determination, I embarked on the prescribed medication regimen and adhered to the recommended kidney-friendly dietary guidelines, all the while keeping a watchful eye on the prospect of dialysis.
AIIMS, New Delhi: Persistence
In October 2022, I found myself at Delhi AIIMS, clinging to hope once again. However, the situation remained grim as the doctors there echoed a familiar sentiment – find a kidney donor urgently. The urgency of my condition was undeniable.
I headed to Safdarjung Hospital in Delhi, seeking another perspective. Here, the doctors reinforced the importance of my ongoing medication regimen. Their advice hinged on closely monitoring my symptoms and escalating to dialysis if the situation escalated further.
Throughout this challenging period, my creatinine level stood at a concerning 10, serving as a stark reminder of the uphill battle I was facing. As I navigated the complexities of my deteriorating kidney function, the journey towards a potential solution continued, defined by persistence, uncertainty, and the hope for a suitable kidney donor.
Ayurvedic Treatment: A point of consideration
In February 2023, hoping for a different approach, I visited the Patanjali wellness center in Patna. A range of therapies commenced, but my vomiting intensified, occurring 2-3 times daily. Eating became a challenge, and my strength dwindled as days passed. After just 10 days, I had no choice but to return for a blood test. The results were disheartening: my creatinine level had skyrocketed to 15, and my haemoglobin dropped to 6.
Medanta, Patna: Let’s face it
As March rolled in, I found myself growing increasingly fatigued. Everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs became insurmountable obstacles. By the end of March, on the 31st, I sought guidance from Dr. Suraj Kumar at Medanta Hospital in Kankarbagh, Patna. My latest report was horrifying: my heemoglobin had fallen to a critical level of 5, and my creatinine surged to 20.
There was no room for delay. Dr. Kumar emphasized the urgency, warning that without immediate action, the consequences would be fatal. The recommendation was to be admitted to the ICU without hesitation. On the 1st of April, my journey took a critical turn: I was admitted to the ICU at the same Medanta Hospital. Treatment commenced, accompanied by an intense dialysis session and the infusion of 2 units of blood.
Following three days of care, there was some improvement. While not a complete turnaround, the situation felt less frightful than before. The medical verdict remained resolute: my kidneys were no longer functioning as they should. The prescribed path forward was regular dialysis – a regimen of 2 sessions per week.
Mood: Not giving up
Fast forward to today, I am undergoing dialysis twice a week. I was advised to undergo dialysis thrice a week but since I have managed to control my water intake, two sessions per week are working fine for me. I want to manage this as far as possible since I don't want to give up on my job. Balancing work and three dialysis sessions every week would be more challenging.
Each day brings a search for a kidney donor and I eagerly look forward to a life-changing transplant. But I can only hope for the best and not everything is under my control. My mother wanted to donate her kidney but unfortunately, her health conditions won't allow this. And I can't even imagine putting my mother into a situation where things could get so unpredictable.
What keeps me sane and constructively engaged is my current role as a System Engineer at TCS. I am grateful for a super supportive team at work, who encourage me to get back to work and stay inspired, despite the odds. It's truly heartening. I look forward to every single day at work.
I am Shubham Choubey. I am loved and supported by an amazing community of family, friends, colleagues, doctors, medical staff, and well-wishers. Yes, CKD has changed my life in unimaginable ways but my illness is not my identity. I take each day as it comes. And there’s so much to look forward to!
(This article features an account of Shubham Choubey's journey with chronic kidney disease. We had an opportunity to connect with Shubham and understand his experiences. What amazes us is his extraordinary resilience, bravery, and courage. If you wish to support Shubham in his transplant and his journey, you can use this number 9891873909 for GPay or PhonePe. You can also use the account details mentioned here: Name on Account: Shubham Choubey, Bank Name: Union Bank of India, Account No: 604302010015698, IFSC Code: UBIN055120.)