SHE was pregnant when she found out that she had kidney failure.
To protect her, the doctor suggested that she terminate her pregnancy as it could be life-threatening.
But Junaidah Abdul Manap asked the doctor to save her baby and in the seventh month, the doctor performed a caesarean section and her daughter was born.
“I was devastated when I found out about my condition. But I am glad I managed to be a mother,” says the 37-year-old Islamic studies teacher, whose daughter is now four years old.
While her condition does not allow her to have any more children, Junaidah is grateful that she was able to form a small but happy family.
“I now depend on peritoneal dialysis but I do hope to receive an organ transplant one day,” says Junaidah, who conducts the dialysis three times a day at home.
Having relied on dialysis for the past four years, she says while she is unable to do certain activities like swimming, she carries on with her life as a normal person would and watches her diet strictly.
“Now that I have a child, I want to make sure I am healthy so I can take care of her.
“For those who are newly diagnosed with the disease, my advice is do not despair. If you do not have a positive mind, you won’t be able to do anything. Just keep living,” she says.
Another dialysis patient, known only as Lim, says she continues to be a happy-go-lucky person despite having kidney failure.
“I travel a lot and continue to run charity activities in my spare time,” says the 52-year-old, who has been on dialysis for the past three years.
While her doctor encouraged her family members to be living organ donors to her, Lim says that is not what she wants.
“I don’t want any of my relatives to go through what I’m going through.
“I am satisfied living on dialysis for the rest of my life,” says Lim, a teacher from Seremban.
While she welcomes the Government’s initiatives in increasing the number of transplant doctors, Lim says she has made dialysis a part of her life and is used to it.
“Patients should not blame anyone for their condition. And they also shouldn’t view dialysis as something troublesome as it is an important treatment that helps us,” she says.
A father of a six-year-old boy, who wishes to be known only as Alex, says the rate of kidney disease in Malaysia is something that concerns him, especially since his family has a history of diabetes.
“I have yet to pledge my organs but I will do it soon.
“The more pledges we have, the better and brighter future for our children as their life expectancies will be longer with a better healthcare system,” says the 32-year-old IT consultant.
Malaysian Society of Nephrology council member Dr Lily Mushahar advises the public to go for regular health checks, as chronic kidney disease does not present any symptoms in early stages.
“This is especially important for those in the high-risk group such as Malaysians aged above 55, those with underlying diabetes or hypertension and those with a family history of kidney disease and renal stones,” she says.
Dr Lily, who is a senior consultant nephrologist, also urges Malaysians to avoid buying alternative medication and over-the-counter drugs for kidney disease in local pharmacists.
“A lot of advertisements, including on social media, are available in the country promoting alternative medication.
“Such products have a potential side effect that goes unnoticed in early stages. It has a risk of worsening chronic diseases and could lead to organ damage such as kidneys and liver injury.
“This injury is potentially irreversible,” she warns, adding that patients should seek their doctor’s advice before purchasing any other medication.