On #TransplantTuesday we feature the story of Louisa Mabiletsa, 45, from Ebony Park, Johannesburg.
1. Which organ/tissue did you receive, and in what year?
Kidney in 2002
2. What was life like before the transplant? How did you spend your days?
Before I was called for a transplant, I was a sickly child whose life depended on dialysis. I used to tend school in the morning until 12h00 then for dialysis in the afternoon. For a teenager I had to grow up fast and skip some of the things teenagers enjoyed.
I was on the waiting list for five years and most of my days were spent between the hospital (for dialysis) and at home recovering from the side effects of dialysis.
3. Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for your transplant?
I had just finished my dialysis shift when the sister in charge informed me that I have to go to the transplant ward as they have found a kidney for me! It was overwhelming, exciting and frightening at the same time.
4. What is life like now, after the transplant?
So much have changed! Following the gift of life I have received, I was able to go back to my school, graduated and I am employed. I can also travel, something which was only a dream before. It was like I have been given a new lease of life. My family is also happy because I am no longer sickly.
5. What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?
To comply with the health professionals’ instruction; try and life as healthy as they can incase they are called for call from a transplant; and to always keep a positive mind despite the challenges.
6. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
Lack of knowledge and the belief/religious/cultural “myths”. Others are just afraid of the unknown, until they come across someone who has been helped through an organ transplant.
7. If you could describe transplant in one word, what would it be?