Organ Donation is a conversation, and we want to #TellYourStory. This week we feature the story of Petronella-Matilda Letsuma from Soweto in Gauteng.
1. Which organ/tissue did you receive, and in what year?
I received a kidney transplant in 2017
2. How long were you on the waiting list for your organ?
I was put on the waiting in December 2012.
3. What was life like before the transplant? How did you spend your days?
It was very difficult for me to go to dialysis three days a week as I am working as a shift worker whereby during my off days I have to wake up very early in the morning to go to dialysis for the first slot that starts at 6am. Life was not pleasant at all. I was depressed, but eventually I had to accept that this is the life I am living and I have to make peace with it.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for your transplant.
I received the call on a Friday at around 11am, just as I was finished with dialysis and reached my workplace. I had very bad flu and told my supervisor that I had received my call from the hospital to have my transplant, but I wasn’t sure whether they’d perform the operation due to my flu. I was very scared and I said to The Lord “Why are doing this to me? After waiting for so long.” But God does listen, and I was transplanted in my condition.
5. What is life like now, after the transplant?
Life is good! No more dialysis and I am able to travel! On the 21st of February last year I went to Harare in Zimbabwe and in September I went to Maputu in Mozambique.
6. What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?
They need to be patient and keep hoping. They need to do their dialysis on a regular basis and go to all their check-ups with their Nephrologist. Attendance is very important.
7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
Generally in African culture they believe a person must be buried with all their body parts and they lack information about organ donation.
8. If you could describe transplant in one word, what would it be?
Transplant is LIFE!