Patients’ Journeys

Zunair’s Story

I was 19-years-old when I first came to the UK for further qualifications. After completing my third year of university, I was diagnosed with CKD (Chronic Kidney Disease) while I was in Pakistan for holidays.

Once I came back to the UK, my health was slowly deteriorating. It came to the stage where I couldn’t even walk. Everything was like going wrong in my life, I was losing hope to live as I was only 25 at that time. This sudden news destroyed all my dreams of becoming a pharmacist, getting married and settling in life etc.

At that moment, I just wanted to wake up from that nightmare with a hope that everything is normal in my daily life. I was on my own in this country with all my family being in Pakistan. I wanted my parents. It was God I had many complaints with. I wish I could write about how brave I was during this time period but I wasn’t as it was only my Faith in God that kept me going.

Truth is, I was petrified. It wasn’t even me who informed my family. I had a friend call up my father and tell him. He didn’t know how to break it to them either he simply told him ‘’your son has only 2 weeks to live, he is dying’’. The next morning when I woke up my dad was standing in front of me. I was staying at my friend’s home as they wouldn’t let me live alone. It was a shock when I saw my father as he made his way to the UK in light speed. My father had me admitted straight to the hospital. The following day was the day of my surgery. Nervous wasn’t even the word.Once they did my surgery they had put me on dialysis. I used to go for dialysis 3 days a week and it used to last for more than 4 hours, the whole process took 6 hours to complete. After the dialysis I used to feel dizzy and weak but I still used to drive on my own which was difficult for me.

This was the hardest time of life. I used to go for dialysis and the other 2 days I used to work. I have not informed my employer about my kidney disease because I didn’t want any sympathy. The job that I was doing had some physical work which I had done with my kidney problem.

My two-lovely sisters decided to donate their kidneys but they were too young so the doctor refused. My mom also went with me to the doctors to check whether she could donate her kidney to me. The doctor took some tests and he said “your mom’s kidneys are fine but there is a chance that if she donates her kidney to you then she could get the same disease. I had the chance to get her kidney and get my life back but I never wanted to put my mom’s life at risk. My father and my best friend’s brother also tried to donate their kidneys but unfortunately my dad was not healthy enough to donate his kidney to me. My friend’s brother was young so I refused. At that time, I realised how lucky I was that I had people around me that loved me so much.

For many years, I wasn’t allowed to go on any holidays, so my family used to visit me all the time. In October 2014 midnight, I received a call from the hospital and the lady on the phone told me that they found a kidney donor. At this point I was in such disbelief that I thought I was getting pranked. I had the surgery which went well.

After the surgery I was kept in the hospital for 7 days and then was discharged with regular check-ups to follow. I felt safe, as if no one could take this away from me, nothing but God could steal my right to live away from me. The things I had taken for granted were to be appreciated I had decided. I was going to live as if it were my last day every day. I wasn’t a prisoner to dialysis anymore, I wasn’t shackled to the hospital anymore. I was free.

Today I can only say I am blessed, blessed to have my life back,blessed to have my family, blessed to lose friends, blessed to have friends and blessed to be alive.

I think when something like this happens to you, it changes your life. I have learnt to look past the little petty things in life, forgiveness is important to me. I truly feel as if this experience was for the better, it moulded me into a better person.

I have achieved so much. I have my own business which is operating successfully. My journey was harder than the average person can imagine.

I’ve always had hope and because of that hope I am achieving my goals. I have become closer to God and will always thank him for every moment in life that he has helped me. There is an ayat (quote) in the Quran which states ‘’ La Yukallifullahunafsanillawusa’ ha’’ which roughly means ‘’Allah does not burden a soul more than it can hear/handle’’.

“Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them-a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have the skill, and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.” "Muhammad Ali"

Zunair