When you least expected it

Life sometimes throws a curve ball when least expected. Such was the case for Nurul Nadwa Bt. Badri. Just last year, things were looking up for her. Like most 25-year-olds, she was an avid traveller and was active in sports, particularly netball. She was also a postgraduate student at Universiti Teknologi MARA, pursuing a Masters programme in Information Technology. However, her life unexpectedly took a turn for the worse.

In November 2013 Nurul began to develop difficulty in breathing. Her feet, left hand and face also began to swell. She was taken to a health clinic and was examined by a hospital assistant, who immediately referred her to the Tengku Ampuan Rahimah Hospital in Klang. There, she was immediately attended to by a doctor, who found that Nurul’s heart was also swollen.

Upon further examination, the hospital authorities confirmed that both of Nurul’s kidneys had failed.

Recalls a solemn Nurul. “The doctor said that there was no way I could be well again, apart from undergoing a kidney transplant. Until then, I would have to endure dialysis. I realised then that my life would not be the same.

Her parents were equally devastated. They knew that Nurul’s condition would adversely affect their own lives as well, especially when her family was not well off either. With her condition, she had to depend on her 52-year-old father - a diabetic working as a driver with Kontena Nasional Berhad – to financially support the additional costs. Her elder sister also helped out financially, if she could.

Finances aside, Nurul’s day-to-day life had changed as well.

“I used to enjoy sports, especially netball. After contracting chronic kidney disease (CKD), I had to give it all up. It was so demoralising. I couldn’t even travel and go on short beach vacations like I used to. Thankfully, I had my family and friends by my side,” explains Nurul. A ray of hope soon emerged. National Kidney Foundation (NKF) of Malaysia had learned of Nurul’s plight and provided dialysis treatment for her.

Nurul is now continuing her studies, even as she undergoes dialysis treatment on a thrice weekly basis, and hopes to join the workforce upon completion of her Master’s programme. She still finds time to travel to nearby places and socialize with friends. She also hopes to have a kidney transplant soon.

“My younger brother wanted to donate his kidney to me,” said Nurul, her eyes welling up. “However, he was deemed too young. So my transplant procedure is pending a suitable donor”.

If there is anything to be learnt here, it is that kidney disease does not discriminate – young or old, rich or poor, regardless of status, race or profession – it can happen to anyone. The key is taking good care of your overall health.

Log on to www.nkf.org.my to help more kidney failure patients.