It’s my third year as a kidney transplant patient
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila (The Freeman) - November 8, 2019 - 12:00am

Today is the sixth anniversary of Typhoon Haiyan, also known as super typhoon Yolanda, which was one of the most powerful tropical cyclones ever recorded. This was during the term of then President PNoy Aquino. Wikipedia reports that the recorded fatalities of this natural disaster was 6,340. There could have been more but the Aquino government ordered to halt the counting of the dead. Also, I find it funny that there was no record of the countless people who should be reported as missing. Yolanda had sustained winds of over 150 mph. Leyte Island was buffeted by sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts up to 235 mph hitting Northern Cebu, and Panay. More importantly it exposed the incompetence of the Aquino government.

* * *

Today, allow me to inform my readers that it is the third year on my new lease of life. Yes, it was exactly three years when I underwent a kidney transplant at the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center done by my surgeon Dr. Alvin Roxas and his team of doctors under the supervision of my nephrologist, Dr. Juliet Noel. At this point, people still ask me how my kidneys got damaged. Honestly, it can be from high blood pressure to diabetes or a combination of other medical issues. No one can pinpoint exactly how my kidneys deteriorated.

Anyway, because I never hid my medical condition, I wrote about what was happening to me from the time I learned my kidneys were failing, to the time I got a donor, then up to the time I had my transplant. My mentor, the late Sir Max Soliven, also had a kidney transplant a few years before he died. But he kept it a secret until he was discovered in St. Luke’s presidential suite. I don’t know why two columnists had the same kidney problem.

Mind you, before I had my end stage renal disease, I was never hospitalized for any reason. I only slept in the hospital when my wife delivered my children. While in constant denial, one time I deplaned in Manila from a trip to Nagasaki I suddenly lost my breath walking in Terminal 2. If I continued, I thought I would suffer a heart attack. Now I’m a golfer who often does not ride on golf carts as I prefer to walk, while my golfing buddies ride during the game. So that incident was a great sign that I was really in trouble. This was the time that I decided that I must do something about it.

Dr. Noel had my tests and I learned that my right kidney was functioning at 8%, while my left kidney was at 12%. Finally I talked with my transplant surgeon Dr. Roxas whose motto was “experience life”. After talking with him for two hours, he told me that he had 20 patients already on dialysis and since I was not yet on dialysis he would give me priority over the 20 patients. I took that challenge as my daughter Katrina was once a dialysis nurse during her school days. She didn’t want me to undergo a dialysis since she said the needle that is stuck into your veins is larger than the straws in a McDonald’s drink. So it was time to look for a donor.

Also my kumpare, Mr. Jesus “Dodong” Tequillo, the father of my son-in-law Atty. Jennoh Tequillo died in 2012 after being on dialysis for a few years. This strengthened my desire to get a pre-emptive kidney transplant as my doctors told me that I had a better chance of recovery if I wasn’t yet on dialysis. So on November 8, 2016 Dr. Roxas got the kidney of my 18-year-old donor and put it in inside me. Hours later, my nurses woke me up to tell me that my operation was successful.

Of course, after the operation I’m what they call immunosuppressed. I need to take my anti-rejection pills three times a day. More importantly, you should never miss taking your medicines. Remember the new kidney inside you is a foreign object, which is why it can be neutralized with anti-rejection pills. Mind you, I have an alarm system in my cellphone and in three years, there was only one time when I forget to take my pills because I had other things to do. So I thank God for a new three years of life!

  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?
Login is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with