Dev Moodley, 63 years old from Pretoria East, received a kidney transplant in 1995 and has been living an active life since his transplant more than 27 years ago.
1. Which organ did you receive, and in what year?
I received a kidney on 15 August 1995, my brother donated one of his kidneys to me.
2. How long were you on the waiting list for your organ?
I was diagnosed with renal failure in November 1994 at a time when my kidney was functioning at 10%. I was fortunate in that both my brother and wife tested for compatibility-and both came back as a match. My brother was chosen as the closest match as a blood relative. The doctors opted to wait and get maximum use of my existing kidney–monitoring creatinine levels to reach its maximum. When diagnosed my creatine level was 350 and reached a level of 1500 in 9 months. In summary I did not have a waiting period for a transplant- but rather waited to be transplanted.
3. What was lifelike before the transplant? How did you spend your days?
I used to get extremely thirsty and was constantly tired and sleepy, I had no energy and experienced an ongoing drained feeling. My ankles were constantly swollen from water retention and my legs felt permanently sore.
4. Describe the emotions experienced when you were told that your donor is a match?
The date for my transplant was finalised a month ahead of time in the lead up to this I had to ensure I did not pick up any viruses or the common flu which have resulted in a delay of the transplant. Both my brother and I were booked into hospital 3 day prior to my transplant for pre operation preparation. My wife drove us to the hospital, which was 80 km away from home, clearly remember this being a silent journey, each praying in their own way for a successful operation. I experienced mixed emotions during this time, in that I was happy and anxious at the same time, happy to be receiving my transplant but anxious that all needed to go well for my brother who in essence was undergoing an operation to assist me. My current kidney was removed from my brother and transplanted immediately into me. I was also eternally thankful to have experience only 1 session of dialysis, on the day prior to my transplant.
5. What is lifelike now, after the transplant?
Now 27 years later I am blessed and grateful for my state of health. I exercise almost 5 days a week (keen cyclist/ spinning) and eat healthy. I am alert to any changes in my body and seek medical advice sooner than later. I have encountered potholes along my 27-year-old journey, some minor some major. The 1st setback was 4 months after my transplant – when my creatine levels started climbing- I was booked back into hospital for about a week where I was monitored, and my levels started stabilizing. This is a common phenomenon that affects many new transplant recipients because of the new organ settling into your body, and all was well after that.
I had two spinal fusions, due to the side effects of medication on our bones. Having followed all the precautions as prescribed by the doctors and a positive mind- set I recovered well. My transplant was a life changing episode for me, and I had a new zest for life. I was transplanted at the age of 37 and continued working in a full-time job until the age of 58. I have had opportunities to travel and take part in the various world transplant games and took vacations with my family
My motto is to live life to the fullest and spend quality time with my wife, daughter, family, and friends who have been my support structure during this incredible journey, called a second lease of life.
6. What advice would you give patients on the waiting list?
First and foremost, have a positive mind – as this is the strong foundation that will carry you thought this journey. Some days testing you with all 4 seasons in a day. Persevere and never give up.
At the end of the tunnel you will see the bright lights waiting to welcome you. Stay positive and have faith.
7. Why do you think there is a shortage of donors in South Africa?
There is a lack of proper education, leading to misconceptions of what being a donor is.
The largest contributor lies with the basic human fact that for most individuals (not all) if something does have a direct impact on you, or someone in your immediate circle – it does not impact you. As transplantation does not impact the larger population there are only a small percentage of people will opt for organ donation or promote it.
8. If you could describe transplant in one word, what would it be?
Ultimate Gift of Life