COUPLE SHARES GIFT OF LOVE
By Nalinee Seelal Sunday, February 2 2014
A wife’s determination to beat the odds led to her husband undergoing a kidney transplant operation which has given him a new lease on life. The kidney was donated by his wife.
Prior to 2011, Shirley Gayadeen and her husband Chandra were an average couple, living a relatively comfortable life and hoping to spend their winter years together.
In that year, however, Chandra, a diabetic who had been attending clinic at the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), received the devastating news that both his kidneys were failing.
Doctors at SFGH recommended that the Gayadeens consult with the Kidney Transplant Unit at Mount Hope.
The couple did several tests and it was determined that Shirley’s blood type — O Positive — could match with her husband’s rare AB blood type, making it possible for her to donate one of her kidneys to him.
“I was given the good news that the blood type could work, they gave us a date for the kidney transplant, March 2012,” said Shirley, noting that at this time she knew very little about dialysis or about kidney organ transplant but she started doing her research.
But before the organ transplant could take place, there was another set of devasting news. It was discovered that two major arteries in Chandra’s heart were blocked. The transplant had to be put on hold.
Shirley, a mother of two and grandmother of three, raised funds for her husband’s heart surgery which was done at a local private hospital. The couple was told Chandra had to spend at least six months recuperating from this procedure before the kidney transplant could be done.
“Everything went well with surgery,” says Shirley of the blocked arteries but then Chandra’s kidney shut down completely. He began dialysis at the private hospital and did this for 15 months before he was able to get a second transplant date set for 2013.
This date was subsequently cancelled when doctors determined one of Shirley’s kidneys was not functioning as it ought to. They wanted to do yet more tests.
“I felt crushed but I had faith in God, I had faith in myself and was determined that once there was a will, there was a way. I continued to press on, hoping to get a call for a third date for the transplant,” she said.
Shirley said she eventually got a call from the Organ Transplant Unit and after several tests were done, the couple finally got a date for the kidney transplant — November 26.
Shirley said she waited, holding her breath, for that date when the transplant would finally take place.
On that day, a group of doctors from Spain along with local nephrologists finally did the transplant. Doctors removed her right kidney and gave it to her husband. She spent three days in hospital while Chandra remained warded for ten days before going home.
Up until yesterday, all tests showed that he was on his way to full recovery. His kidney function tests have proven that this organ is functioning quite well and his blood count showed up as normal. He told Sunday Newsday that joy has now returned to his life and he is grateful that he no longer has to undergo dialysis.
Asked how he felt about the devotion and commitment of his wife who defied all odds to ensure that he was kept alive, he said:
“It is a gift of life, and not something most people will want to do, but I am thankful to have a wife like that, who did not think about herself but just wanted me to have a new life.
“Dialysis is very depressing and I am very happy that I do not have to go through that again. I am at home recuperating these days,” he said.
Chandra said he had been married for 30 years. He smiled as he remembered the first day he saw his wife. He said he was on his way to work and Shirley was standing at the side of the roadway. It was love at first sight, he declared. He stopped and offered her a lift to San Fernando and on that trip, decided then and there that he was going to marry her.
After a short courtship, the two were married. It was a decision he has never regretted, he said.
As for Shirley, she spends her days enjoying every minute with her husband and her family, thanking God for his divine intervention and singing the praises of the doctors and staff at the Kidney Transplant Unit at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope.
She recalled asking friends, relatives and others to donate one of their kidneys to her husband and their flat-out refusal. She said their daughters were willing to undergo tests in a bid to donate their kidney but Chandra refused to let them do that.
“We need to educate people about kidney transplant, and let them know that they can live with one kidney,” she said.