Transplant Stories

Prenola Govender

By 2022-06-28 No Comments

As a girl of 14, Prenola Govender received a liver transplant, she tells her story in our #TransplantTuesday feature. Prenola is now 23 years old and lives in the beautiful city of Phoenix in KwaZulu Natal.

Which organ did you receive, and in what year?
I had a liver transplant in 2013.

How long were you on the waiting list for your organ?
One month and which was a Miracle!

What was life like before the transplant? How did you spend your days?
It was just at the beginning of high school, in grade 9 and I remember from the start of that year 2013 I was constantly being treated as a flu patient. It was so difficult to breathe properly because of my coughing and painful to walk a step, imagine a 14-year-old walking to class gasping for air; the reason being I was also retaining water. So one day it was too much and too painful, I, therefore, got admitted into ICU and one thing lead to another up until I was properly diagnosed with autoimmune hepatitis at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

Describe the emotions experienced when you received “The Call” for your transplant?
I was 14 at that time and my parents received the call at 3 in the morning that day, to be honest, all I knew was I am going to live. My late dad was so excited and with mixed emotions cause you don’t know what is next.

What is life like now, after the transplant?
I am grateful and thankful to my donor which I don’t know and my late dad for his continuous support. My late dad did write a letter thanking them. Life has changed drastically since 2013, I have been positive through the whole process and my surgery, I do have my ups and downs. I want to specifically thank the team at the Transplant Clinic at Wits Donald Gordon Centre that held my hand and gave me the most motivating support.

Life is different as I am most concerned yet cautious in a good way, especially in now times of the covid-19 pandemic.

What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?

Honesty, it does take a long time to be on that list but patience or being a patient is most important because my heart goes out to the donors and their families. In my opinion, having a positive attitude with the motivation and support from family, and friends is what carry’s you through to fight and live. Prayer and trust in God also.

Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
Not many people are educated about these kinds of auto-immune diseases. With a lack of knowledge and facilities in South Africa, people are not aware of organ and tissue donation unless they see a movie or listen to the news.

If you could describe a transplant in one word, what would it be?